5 stars out of 5
I did a quick reread of the Rhianna chronicles by Dave Luckett the other day, and for me, that means I spent a couple of hours on each book. I ended up reading one a day. These are not long novels, but they are chapter books. I only read the first book as a child and I loved it. I got the rest as an adult and still love them. My only qualm? I wish they were longer.
There are three books in the series and I know them by their long names. The Girl, the Dragon, and the Wild Magic, The Girl, the Apprentice, and the Dogs of Iron, and The Girl, the Queen, and the Castle. They are children’s books, but they are done well enough that I still enjoy them quite a bit.
The World of Avalon
We aren’t told everything about the setting, but we are told everything we need to know. The magic in this world is somewhat standard. Wizards are those that have learned to channel magic through chants and signs. There are schools that teach magic and that magical knowledge has been researched enough that people have decided to teach it to children. Magic has become a daily commodity for most people who use charms to ward their buildings against fire, protect crops from bugs, and ensure their produce is as healthy and large as it can be. Obviously, there are problems that can arise from this.
The first problem of using magic so freely means that magic can actually be used up. Magic is not infinite in this world and takes time to gather again. Then despite all the knowledge that wizards have gathered about magic, there are still things that can confound them. Rhianna’s wild magic is one of these which no one is prepared for. How do you teach someone is so different from every other child? You give them different lessons and let them learn from experience. I am now seeing this as a jibe to standardized schools with special needs kids.
But then there are elves and dragons added in to the mix and you wonder what else could be in this world. It isn’t a stunningly unique world, but the story fits it perfectly. No world is perfect and authors should use those imperfection to push plot along. Especially when writing fantasy.
A Child’s Eye
What I think is done the best in these books is writing them from a child’s point of view. It can hard to write children in a book as an adult. You have to balance simplicity and their desires without it sounding babyish and too obvious. Luckett’s children sound like children and Rhianna can be seen growing during her challenges. Her pain is real and raw and her joys are pure. The writing does not feel childish at all even though they are clearly targeted at children. The story is still plenty deep itself.
I do wish the books were longer and I could see other of Rhianna’s adventures. I want to read more about how she grows up and what magic she encounters. By the end of these books, it feels like her story is only just beginning but we never get to see it. It is a bit of a let down that Luckett didn’t extend the series.
Clearly I give these books a stamp of approval and would suggest them as quick reads for adults as well as children. Sometimes it can nice to look at the world through a simpler lens. You remember what is truly important in life and can find more joy in the little pleasures. Like this one.
The three books in the Rhianna Chronicles by Dave Luckett come by two different names.
Rhianna discovers her magic is not like others’ and it comes with its own host of problems.
Jealousy brings out the dark side of Rhianna’s magic and only she can fix things.
Iron has been bespelled and Rhianna must find the culprit before the blame is placed on her.