Wednesday, December 31, 2014

REVIEW: Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon
Author: S.A. Mulraney
Series: N/A
Pages:  278
Date Published: September 1st 2014 
Publisher: Scott Mulraney
Format: Paperback
Genre:YA Fantasy
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Synopsis:
Danny Dirks wants nothing more than to play baseball in his father's orchard now that school is out, but he's finding out that he is no ordinary boy. With the approach of his fifteenth birthday, Danny's begun hearing voices and seeing visions of his dead mother. He's also fairly certain that the cute girl next door is really a shape-shifting dragon. All of these things lead Danny to the discovery that he is the heir of the legendary Arthur Pendragon and the linchpin in a pact established between man and dragon centuries ago. Now, rogue dragons threaten that pact and the peace that comes with it. They aim to reopen the portal through which they originally came to Earth in order to bring back a rebel dragon army. It's up to Danny to learn to channel the power that is Excalibur and, with his new friends, prevent the portal from being opened.

~My Thoughts~
First off, excellent cover art! How beautifully simple is it not? You immediately get the sense of fantasy and adventure and possibly dragons or other fantastic creatures. Total coolness.

Danny Dirks is excited for summer; what kid wouldn't be? His mind is centered on long summer days of playing baseball with the boys and nights camping out in the orchard with his best friend Ollie. However, his plans come to a rough halt when, on his 15th birthday, he learns something unexpected from his new neighbors: Dragons exist and he's somehow involved. It seems that the bewitching girl-and her family- who just moved into their neighboring cottage is a dragon, and is his guardian. Danny and Kara seem to be polar opposites, but they need to learn how to work together in order to  beat a drastic threat to both peaceful dragons and men. Dragons have been trying to get to their home realm for centuries, but now one of them has turned his attentions to earth and controlling this new realm that the dragons are trapped in.

Kara and Danny are the loooovee interests in this book, and I thought it was pretty well done. I wouldn't know how Kara does it though, I found 15 year old boys immature when I was 15...let alone Kara who is rounding her 120th birthday. Kara is still a teenager in dragon years though so being Danny's guardian is a struggle for the both of them. But, they find comfort in each other's arms (a bit cheesily if you ask me..but who knows...I'm long gone from YA at this point!)

The mythology was pretty cool, blending Arthurian myth with dragons. I liked the originality of the idea, though not so much the execution. Arthur Pendrake (drake...get it? dragon-drake?) was the first human able to communicate with dragons. He fell in love with the dragon Gwenevere and their bond created an everlasting pack between dragons and the Pendragon family. Hmm...okay. I could have used some more specifics with this, and I understand that Danny was learning everything as he went along, but I really could have used some clarification, some fleshing out of the details to really understand the story. Myths are awesome! Myths with very little detail are not.  Familiar arthurian elements cropped up throughout the story, which was awesome, and I enjoyed seeing how Mulraney chose to depict details like Excalibur and other traditional objects and characters from the King Arthur Legends.

A fun read, if a little young at points. I had a great time reading along and would absolutely buy this for my niece and nephew for Christmas! I'm hoping that there will be more books so that I can keep up with Danny, Kara, Katy, Annie, and the rest! 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Danny watched as the sun struggled to break through the thinning clouds over the cottage, which was busier now than it had been in years. Then he saw her. Statuesque to a fault, a slender figure in a light blue, long-sleeved, button-down top and jeans stood near the center of the garden as if she was a part of it. Her golden blonde locks waved ever so gently in the morning air. Her skin was so pale that she seemed to glow in the lone sunbeam that managed to fight through the clouds. On her small outstretched hand, Danny could see something flutter. Translucent wings moved slowly in the morning light. It was a dragonfly sitting contentedly in her hand. Danny watched, not realizing he was moving closer to the fence that separated the driveway from the garden. He could see her lips move, but he was too far away to hear what she was saying. Her almond shaped eyes seemed to delight in all that she beheld. He was transfixed by her. She pushed a stray lock of golden hair out of her eyes and smiled brightly at the delicate bug in her hand. Danny barely noticed his egg sandwich fall to the ground.

“Smooth move, Dan-o!” said a familiar voice from the end of the driveway.

The dragonfly sped from her hand as the girl’s head whipped towards him. His cover was blown. The girl’s demeanor changed instantly when her eyes fixed on Danny. He felt his stomach hit his knees. He had just raised his hand to wave hello when she turned and fled from the garden and into the house. A baby-faced man-child with dusty brown hair sidled up to Danny and Katy.

“Who…who was that? She’s…amazing,” Danny said, staring stupidly at the sandwich that now lay in ruins at his feet.

“You always were a sucker for a blonde,” Katy said. “That’s the new foreman’s daughter. She has a younger sister about my age too. At least, that’s what Dad told me.”

“Good job, Romeo.”

Oliver Cline was a bit of a physical oddity. At fifteen, he was six-five and two hundred and fifty pounds. Built like his father and raised to toss bales of hay, Ollie was made to be a farm hand. Though not fat by any stretch of the imagination, there was an element of softness to his physique which, combined with his height, made him the most self-aware person Danny and Katy knew. He lived on the farm across the street from the Dirks’ place and had grown up with Danny and Katy. The three of them were more like siblings than simply friends. He looked down at the egg sandwich on the ground. “You gonna eat that?”

“Um…no,” Danny said absently.

“And neither will you!” Katy scolded when Ollie looked optimistic.
~Meet Scott!~ 
In second grade, Scott Mulraney wrote a series of comic strips called Peanut (a peanut with arms and legs) and Stickman (self explanatory) because those were the two things he could draw with some consistency. He ripped off every story line from Garfield, but his family thought it was cute. In high school, he wrote a rip-off of Red Dawn, changed the location to his NJ home town, and essentially made himself the lead character. It involved finding a super-secret helicopter with a strategically placed instruction manual. How convenient. During high school, he devoured Stephen King novels, but never pursued writing anything of substance. Then, in an event that would shape the rest of his life, Scott found himself kicked out of college, jobless, and relatively friendless. He turned to writing poetry and eventually short stories followed. Writing had brought him back from the brink and he pursued and eventually earned a degree in Literature with a focus on creative writing.

He completed his first novel (not ripped off from anyone) after five years, in 2010. After waffling about what to do with it, he self-published the suspense thriller under the pen name Andy Rane. A moderate success, for independent standards, Scott then followed with the first draft of Danny Dirks. Completed in about six months, he knew he had something special and wasn't quite prepared to self publish the novel. Fast forward to 2014 and the changing markets convinced him that he could provide everything to his stories that traditional publishers could. Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon is his first full-length young adult novel and one of many stories he hopes to tell.

He currently lives with his wife and son in his home state of New Jersey.

Website: http://samulraney.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/S.A.Mulraney
Twitter: https://twitter.com/samulraney
Scott will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter! To enter to win, comment and then fill out the Rafflecopter below!
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8 comments:

  1. You had me at Pendragon - huge Arthurian fan here.

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  2. Thank you so much for hosting and thanks for the kind review. :-D

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  3. Sounds like a great book. I love the Pendragon stories.

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  4. I liked the excerpt best. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. I will totally have to add this book to my "to-read" list.

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