on April 19, 2011
When I first bought a Kindle, this was my very first Kindlebook. I hoped it wouldn't disappoint--and it didn't! Right away, Dorothea's Song captured my attention, so much so that I abandoned the novel I had been reading.
Dorothea's Song struck me immediately because not only was it cleanly formatted and edited, but because it combined two very different stories. The premise of Dorothea's Song is that a 16 year old student at a private school is writing a fantasy adventure story for his French class--translating portions of the story into French for the assignment. He has a wonderful French teacher, who he cares for, and he writes about his main character, Dorothea, as a tribute to her. The majority of the novel is the fantasy story, but the young man's story interrupts every so often. I found both stories to be compelling, and it struck me that the voice of the young man was very authentic. I teach high school English, and it sounded very much like what a sensitive, articulate student might write. I found out after finishing the novel that Ron actually wrote it as a teenager--so my feeling was confirmed!
The choice to include the young man's voice was a brilliant move, because it gave me a reason to forgive the flaws in the writing. Some phrasing is awkward and the dialogue is fairly wooden. But keeping in mind that this is meant to be a story written by a sixteen-year-old, I found it didn't bother me. I think it wouldn't bother the average reader anyway, even without the teen protagonist.
My only complaint comes at the end of the narrator's story. An interaction with the teacher left me feeling disappointed and I didn't really understand what she said to him. I wish this could have been better resolved.
Overall, however, I enjoyed Dorothea's Song. I recommend it to older teenagers and fans of YA fantasy.
on July 12, 2011
Peter is a dreamer. With his home life falling apart and his spiritual life in crisis, his safe haven is his French teacher-- the only adult willing to listen to his problems and sympathize. He begins to craft an elaborate tale of epic fantasy to share with her, casting his teacher in the lead role. The story soon takes on a life of its own. Dorothea is a fierce elven warrior in a kingdom on the brink of collapse, and the climax (inside and outside the story) is a compelling read.
I particularly enjoyed Peter's parts of this book. His troubled home life is something any reader can empathize with, and it was interesting seeing the problems escalate in his fantasy world as problems escalated in reality. Although the writing is somewhat unpolished, the raw quality suits the tenor of the book. The domestic conflict contrasts nicely with the traditional high fantasy setting, which (as a genre) tends to be rather grand.
At only $0.99 in the Kindle Store, Dorothea's Song is a worthwhile way to pass the weekend.
on September 4, 2011
"Dorothea's Song" by Ron Vitale mixes a modern (or at least the recent past) coming of age story with a grand fantasy quest. The author is able to juggle the requirements of both genres very well. The narrator is a high school student who is writing a fantasy story as a translation exercise for his French class. The fantasy story is where the title comes from and it involves elves, witches and large battles. In the modern chapters the author really captures the spirit of youth, his narrator seems real and not a cardboard thin character. Highly recommended.
This author has a nice large vocabulary range and clearly knows how to use language to produce the reaction he desires from his readers. I like this book for many reasons, but at the top of that list is the cross-genre thing this has going for it. Because this book is not simply fantasy and has a lot of very real situations in it, I think it is much easier to relate to.
The characters in this book are well developed and by switching back and forth between the main character's reality and the world he has created, we are able to watch as he struggles to right the wrongs of his life with his imaginings. The relationships he develops both with real, physical people and those he has created, mirror each other very naturally. This was a rather intense and interesting book. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this one up, but I am now so glad I had the opportunity to read it. I definitely recommend this book.
on September 13, 2015
Dorothea's Song is a book of two stories, present and past.
Peter's teacher assigns his class to write something in French, about someone they may have been named after. Peter decides to write his about a dream he had about a man and a crystal.
His turns into a story he writes and uses the teachers name, the teacher praises his writing. His home life is not the best and finds himself falling for his married teacher.
Dorothea's life is about Elves, Witches and Monsters.
The story is well written combining both Peter's life and problems and Dorthea's life, separating the two and moving on. I would highly recommend this book!
on February 6, 2012
When life is tough, we all would like to escape to a fantasy world. That is what Peter does. The world created by Peter is an intriguing story that could stand alone as its own tale. It was somewhat disorienting switching back and forth from Peter to Dorothea especially when something suspenseful was happening in Bois d'or. Felt like a bit of a 'commercial break' if you will. The reader does feel empathetic towards Peter's situation, however, and becomes thankful that he has a world to escape into. I enjoyed Dorothea's Song and would read it again!