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    Review of REDEEMING THE LOST by Elizabeth Kerner (see her website)

    TOR, June 2004

    The dragons have returned from their exile only to face an even greater danger. The evil mage Berys has recreated the long-lost and nameless demon-master (the one who almost destroyed the dragon race in an earlier age), endowing him with a golem-body of lava in the shape of a black dragon. Together, the mage and demon-master intend to complete the destruction of the dragons while Berys plans to rule over the surviving humans as their king.

    Although they do not know how they'll be able to fight the black dragon, the dragons, joined by their lesser kindred (who were severed from the race by the magic of the demon-master but who have regained use of their sole-stones and hence thier intelligence) along with the human Lanen, wife of the dragon-king and now pregnant with their twins, will never give up the battle. And dragons are very strong against demons. The mage, however, intends to use Lanen for his own purposes and seizes her.

    As the battle approaches, the mage intends to destroy or subvert those humans who could use magic against him, subjugate Lanen, and join with his black-dragon ally. The dragon-king must first rescue his wife and then discover a way to defeat two enemies, either of whom seems unbeatable.

    Author Elizabeth Kerner (see more reviews by Kerner) creates a fascinating universe of magic, dragons, demons, and a goddess whose deeds are always accompanied by balance. The three classes of dragons--including the dragons, the lesser kindred, and the dragons destroyed by the demon-master centuries earlier add a complexity and interest to the story. Romance fans may also enjoy the multiple romances running through the story. Lanen loves her husband but the battle risks what they have together. Mages, healers, blacksmiths, and mercenaries form love triangles where true love is hard to find.

    For me, the story was weakened by Kerner's frequent point-of-view shifts, detracting from the story development. An even more serious flaw was the lack of a plan on the part of the heros. While the mage has a plan, the dragons, healers, and Laren simply react to Berys's plan hoping that something good will happen. When good things do happen, I didn't get a sense that these were the result of anything but fortune--and Kerner's desire to have the story work out well for her characters. REDEEMING THE LOST definitely has points of interest but it falls short of the potential that the world-building set up.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 8/01/04

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