Review – James Calbraith’s The Chrysanthemum Seal
The Chrysanthemum Seal by James Calbraith is the fifth in the Year of the Dragon series. Set in a world full of magic and dragons, wars and unexplainable creatures, the book follows the journey of three main characters: Bran, Nagomi and Sato. Although coming in forms they don’t expect, the trio continuing to battle the ever-growing darkness spreading across the land from one threat or another.
Nagomi discovers she is becoming more powerful in the art of scrying. But forced to flee her home and travel to Sato as a fugitive, Nagomi knows her ability is still rough; there is so much she needs to learn in order to be able to assist her friends and she finds she is willing to cross into other worlds if that is what it takes in order to understand her gift.
Sato is fighting her own battle. Betrayed by those she considered friends and left to die, she finds herself forced into marriage just to get the chance to continue teaching and have somewhere safe to stay. But her own ability is beginning to show more potential, especially when she starts dabbling in blood-magic and realises there is so much more she can do.
While his friends are beginning to discover who they are, Bran goes from one prison to another, constantly being held against his will just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. With his friends and his dragon, Emrys, threatened, resistance is hard. That doesn’t mean he accepts his fate and he joins the same struggle as his friends; finding out what he is capable of.
These three aren’t the only characters whose storylines are followed throughout the book. The sheer amount of names mentioned sometimes disrupts the flow while establishing just whose adventure is being embarked. Coupled with the foreign sounding words and countries being mentioned means the book isn’t an easy one to read; you have to concentrate.
However, the book is well written and you soon find yourself glossing over the foreign words. They become as much of the tale as the characters. The pace is fast and exciting, the characters engaging and realistic. A gripping story and one which I want to know what happens next in the next part of the series.
That, for me, is a sign of an excellent book, so this one definitely scores high points for me.