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The Summer Dragon (Evertide) Hardcover – May 3, 2016
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Praise for The Summer Dragon:
“The master of dragon art brings the same skills to dragon storytelling. This is a compelling, fully realized story which is as detailed and exciting as anything since the Pern tales. A sure winner.” —Terry Brooks, New York Times-bestselling author of the Shannara novels
“It's no surprise that Todd Lockwood can build a wonderful setting and world—he does it with his art all the time. But what strikes me about The Summer Dragon is that the shining elements of this novel are the characters. Using words instead of his paintbrush, Todd builds characters you care about, laugh with and cheer for.” —R. A. Salvatore, New York Times-bestselling author of The Legend of Drizzt
“I loved The Summer Dragon! I couldn't put it down, even though I should have been working on my own book.” —Kristen Britain, New York Times-bestselling author of Green Rider
“Packed with action and fully-developed characters, both human and scaly, Summer Dragon is a dragon for all seasons.” —Alan Dean Foster, author of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
“Todd Lockwood’s dragons come to life on the page: more than animals, different from humans, and beautifully plausible without losing their fantastic touch. The Summer Dragon offers a welcome new take on the dragon-riding genre.” —Marie Brennan, author of The Natural History of Dragons
“Renowned artist Todd Lockwood shares his debut novel at last, a written work as vivid as the dragons he so loves to paint.” —Shawn Speakman, author of The Dark Thorn
“The master of dragon art brings the same skills to dragon storytelling. This is a compelling, fantastically-wrought adventure story, and Maia, the brave, intelligent, but flawed heroine, someone you can really root for. And the dragons? Oh, the dragons!” —Lou Anders, author of Frostborn
“Fans of dragons and the fantasy art of Todd Lockwood will find a bonanza with this book.” —Huffington Post
“Vivid imagery and a cast of rich, diverse characters combine to make Lockwood’s first full-length outing a rousing success.” —Publishers Weekly
“Lockwood has written a fantasy novel that is both classical and modern, one that pulses with a sense of history and emotion.” —B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog
About the Author
Todd Lockwood's art has appeared on New York Times-bestselling novels, industry magazines, and fantasy/science fiction games, such as Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. He has won more than 15 Chesley Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and two World Fantasy Art Show Awards. He currently lives in Washington with his wife and three children. The Summer Dragon is his debut novel. He can be found at toddlockwood.com.
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I'm very critical of books these days. I cannot help it. I've read a ridiculous amount of books - far more than the average, and that's simply because I've had the luxury of staying home with my children all their lives and so, I have had the time. I cherish it - the time with my children, but also, the life I've spent reading. It has given me a very particular taste and an extreme standard. I'm not a book hipster by any stretch - I still flip through Martin's ghastly writing in A Song of Ice and Fire because the story is just that good.
But it's a rare treat when a new Fantasy writer debuts, writes incredibly well, writes a female hero (exceptionally well) and then writes about Dragons - in the detailed Pern sense of Dragons, not as just some ephemeral plot point.
Todd Lockwood absolutely nailed it. His world building is fleshed out - but not TOO much. So many writers make the amateurish mistake of throwing too much at you at once. Not Lockwood. His world is fully realized and you see the corner you're meant to see. And that's it. It's mostly about the characters - which is the brilliant stroke! You're with Maia from the start. Along for the journey. She's not so blank you insert yourself into her (I just detest that kind of writing, it's lazy and easy) no, you hover over her shoulder and experience everything alongside her - just like excellent fiction is supposed to do.
There are some really great and unusual subtleties in this book that normally are seen in regular fiction, not high Fantasy like this. Rivalries, disagreements, bruised egos and feelings. All the negative emotions are not always directed at the "enemies" and this kind of subtle nuance is really welcomed in the genre, which is typically one-note in this regard.
The pace of the book is quite good - and I found myself dragging the book with me wherever I knew I'd have to sit for a bit, so I could read. I finished it faster than most books I read because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. The action was really exciting too, and visual. I still remember what everything looked like, so clear it is almost like a memory. But then my imagination is probably the most exercised muscle in my body ;)
It is at points charming, laugh-out-loud funny, exciting and heart-wrenchingly emotional. Yep, this book managed to get me to choke up and cry, too - in a couple places. Hard to do that these days, I'm such a cynic. Thing is - I'm really NOT - and my emotions can easily be teased out of me by excellent fare.
And The Summer Dragon is just that.
Maia, the young heroine, is the epitome of a tough female protagonist--she's the character so many people demand from fantasy these days. She stands up for what's right, very much at her own expense, and tries to do what's best for her dragon-breeding family, even when it puts her in danger.
If you're an animal person, and like dragons at all, you'll be satisfied with Lockwood's take on them. They remind me of dangerous family pets (which is GREAT). I choked up when one died, which surprised me, but he brought that scene to life with such vivid detail and legitimate emotion, that I knew the rest of the book would be excellent.
The Summer Dragon has earned my highest praise-- it leaves me wanting more. I'm looking forward to the sequel.
By Todd Lockwood
I have finished "The Summer Dragon" by Todd Lockwood. Honestly, I've been ruminating about it since I turned that last page, read those last words. When I picked this book up at Barnes and Noble at the beginning of May, I chose it solely because it was new, was about dragons, and because it was the first book of a series soon to be written. Inside, I began to get even more hooked. Artwork by the author himself of epic maps showcasing a new fantasy world littered the first few pages. There were sketches of dragons and the characters I would soon grow to love, and it all intrigued me to dive into this fresh world. It starts off with our main protagonist, Maia, and her family, who raise dragons for the war. She's a badass young woman who's quite positive she might be cursed. I mean, her mother even said so right before she died and those words cling to Maia constantly, thinking that it's probably true: disaster seem to follow wherever she goes, after all. When Maia thinks she'll get a dragon of her own this year, she is soon turned down after she sights Getig, The Summer Dragon, in the woods near her home. A sign of change, everyone says. A sign of bad things to come. And it is because of this rare sighting that Maia's world completely changes. She will be plunged into a grand adventure, a war against horrific beasts, and thrust into her own inner challenges and struggles. This book completely surprised me. I thought about this book incessantly while at work, while driving, because I honestly couldn't wait to go home, get into my pjs, and continue reading. It's because of these types of books that I love telling stories. And it's because of these types of stories that I love fantasy.
Maia, the protagonist, is endearing and she doesn’t let anyone get in her way. She’s an inspiration. Maia’s one of those characters who is feminine, yet doesn’t mind getting down and dirty. She stands up for what she believes in and doesn’t let anyone tell her who she is but her. Maia proves to everyone that she can be more than just a curse; a hero.
Recently, a lot of books I've read have these AMAZING plots, and yet fail to connect me with their characters. Character drives plot. That’s how it should be, anyway. With Todd Lockwood's characters, I never felt like I was looking in on them through a foggy window, trying to understand how they were feeling. Too often that can happen, and I don't like feeling disconnected in that way. It can ruin a book for me. These characters had a drive, a force, and a reason and a motive. And they had heart. I really FELT for them, dragon and human alike.
I give this book a glistening 5/5