Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: The Dream Thief by Shana Abe

Buried deep within the bowels of the Carpathian Mountains lies the legendary dreaming diamond know as "Draumr;" the only gem with the power to enslave the "drakon." Since childhood, Lady Amalia Langford, daughter of the Marquess & Marchoness Langford, the clan Alphas, has heard its haunting ballad but kept it secret, along with another rare Gift.

Lia (as she is known to her family) can hear the future, much in the way she hears the call of this diamond. And in that future, she realizes that the diamond, along with the fate of the "drakon," rests in the hands of a human man, one who straddles two worlds.

Ruthlessly clever, Zane has risen through London's criminal underworld to become its ruler. Once a street urchin saved by Lia's mother, Zane is also privy to the secrets of the tribe--and is the only human they trust to bring them "Draumr." But he does nothing selflessly.

Zane's hunt for the gem takes him to Hungary where he is shocked to encounter a bold, beautiful young noblewoman: the Lady Amalia. She has broken every rule of the "drakon" to join him, driven by the urgent song of the diamond and her visions of Zane. In one future, he is her ally. In another, her overlord. In both, he is her lover. Now, to protect her tribe, Lia must tie her fate to Zane's, to the one man capable of stealing her future and destroying her heart!

This story is the second in a series of tales involving shape-shifters who can live as humans, Turn to smoke and then to brilliant and and awe-inspiring dragons, beings that have lived in hiding for hundreds of years but whose tribe continues on as they closely guard the secret of their existence. The original tribe of "drakon" have split as a means of protecting their existence with a portion of the "drakon" remaining in Yorkshire and another portion of the tribe having settled in the Carpathian Mountains of Hungary. From the dim reaches of the depths of the earth, the song of "Draumr" continues to call to the Lady Amalia incessantly. She thinks she is the one member of the Langford family that has not inherited any gifts. In fact, she is seen as a "plain Jane" by her family and the tribe as a whole. She lives with the awareness of their silent pity. Little did they know that Lia's Gift is yet to be revealed--her ability to dream the future--and perhaps even greater Gifts than originally imagined.

Zane is the street urchin whose life was saved by Lia's mother in the back alleys of London and trained to assist her during her years as the Smoke Thief. With a loyalty to the Marchioness that is non-negotiable, Zane has continued to serve the "drakon" as he grows into London's most notorious criminal. Completely trusted by the tribe, he is sent to Hungary to retrieve "Draumr" and bring it to England. But Lady Amalia has her own plan and shocks Zane as she appears, five years grown older since he has last seen her, and changed into a creature of unworldly beauty who curls his toes with need and wanting.

Zane has always been in Lia's dreams and as her dreams always come true, she is never in doubt to the outcome of this adventure. But Zane is one who has been raised with the betrayal and self-interest of the streets and he sees Lia as a tantalizing woman for whom his desires run wild, but with whom he cannot envision any future. He is, after all, a marked man, and even when he owns up to his growing attachment to this stubborn and mercurial female, he can think only of the thousands of pounds he will gain when he places "Draumr" in the hands of Lia's father.

The hardships of the journey to the "drakon" castle, located in a totally remote part of the Carpathians, forms the backdrop of this merging of hearts, goals, and bodies. The tenderness of their growing love seems to slowly but surely transform Zane from the hardened, cynical and self-motivated boy of the back alleys into a man who is dedicated to Lia's survival and well-being. And in addition to all the other lovely parts of this great story, there are surprises in connection with Lia's future as a full member of the "drakon."

Shana Abe really knows how to tell a story in such a way as to captivate with beautiful language and the mystery of which legends are made. Her irrepressible imagination has contrived to bring us a tale that is full of color and light, dark motives and actions, human greed and the magic of love. There is the flawless historical backgrounds of 18th century England and Hungary paired with the fantasy of smoke and dragons and singing diamonds. (I have to own up to hearing the "song" of diamonds singing to me as I pass the jewelry stores in the Mall. LOL) If you like mystery and fantasy and the beauty of a superb love story, this is the book for you. I absolutely love it. And from a writing perspective, this novel is crafted by an expert and one who takes writing seriously. She has done her homework and out of the reality of the 18th century has emerged a tale kissed with the dark mysteries of the unrecorded past. I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

I just loved Zane to pieces in this book. Aren't you so glad I told you about this series? Now you'll have to order the next 2 from the library. :)