Thursday, August 29, 2013

Memorable Worlds: Amara

When Kendra announced she was hosting a series of Memorable Worlds posts in celebration of her new book, The Ankulen, I naturally was very excited and decided immediately to contribute a post or two. Or three. So, I began a list of worlds that are memorable to me and that have influenced my own writing. The list of favorite worlds, I noticed, included many of the same worlds that Kendra posted about, save for one (or at least, when I'm writing this, she hasn't posted about it yet). I know this world isn't very well-known, so it's not surprising, but I still felt it deserved a place in my list.

What is this world? Amara. 

Amara is the fantasy world of Donita K. Paul's The DragonKeeper Chronicles. There are a total of five books in the series, DragonSpell, DragonQuest, DragonKnight, DragonFire, and DragonLight. I was first introduced to the land of Amara when my sister and I came across the books in a Christian book catalogue. Interested as we were in fantasy, we decided to look them up and were delighted to discover that our library had all five books. We were at that time sugaring, and while sitting around the fire waiting for the maple sap to boil, there was sufficient time to read. And read I did. I think I finished all five books within two weeks. Yes, they are that good. 

But we won't harp on the books. Let's talk about the land in the books. Amara is the home to strange creatures beyond count, although you will never find an actual human or man within its borders. Not by name, actually. Instead, there are what Mrs. Paul has dubbed the seven high races. Yes, there are the seven low races as well, but they aren't the main focus of the story. 

O'rants are the main characters in this particular series, and from their description, they are the closest to what you'd expect a human/man to look like. Kale Allerion is an o'rant, and she is the main protagonist in DragonSpell and so on.

Doneels are fun, little creatures, and they enjoy fine clothes, bright colors, music, and that sort of thing, and they also are furry. Quite furry. Mrs. Paul's doneels tend to be my favorite characters in the series, particularly a certain little doneel named Toopka. 

Then there are mariones. Mrs. Paul describes them as excellent farmers and warriors, being short and broad, usually musclebound rather than corpulent. 

Emerlindians are Mrs. Paul's elves. At least, that's what I imagine them closest to. They have pointed ears, and they are born pale with white hair and gray eyes. As they age, they darken. At five hundred years, they are considered "grannies" and their skin is by that point rather brown. At one thousand years, they are dubbed "grand emerlindians" and are black. Height-wise, they can range from five feet to six and a half feet. 

Next are urohms, which are described as gentle giants, well proportioned and very intelligent. There aren't very many urohms that make an appearance in the series, but they're fun characters to have about, anyway.

Tumanhofers I find myself likening to dwarves oftentimes, although they are not the same iron-mining, rugged beings that Tolkien wrote about. While being short, squat, and powerful fighters, they enjoy literature and intellect. Tumanhofer cities are renowned for their libraries. Just ask Librettowit. 

The last of the seven high races is the smallest. Kimens are under two feet tall, and they are fast. In fact, it is rumored they can fly. They are probably the most mysterious of all the races for they have an odd habit of glowing, and while they are fun-loving beings, not much is known about them as a race. As a comparison, I'd say they were much like fairies. 

Not one of the seven high races, but a huge part of these books are the dragons. And there are three kinds, really. Minor dragons are about the size of a kitten and have different abilites depending on the color of their scales. Major dragons are large enough to ride, most being about the size of an elephant, and they are used in transportation. Meech dragons are the most unusual, for they are the most intelligent of all the dragons, as they are capable of speech. They can grow to be taller than most o'rants and emerlindians, and can walk on two legs much like their fellow inhabitants of Amara. Regidor is a meech in DragonQuest, and yes, I would count him a favorite character.

There is so much I could say about this world, but I fear if I continue on, I may spill too many spoilers for you all to enjoy the books yourself. Besides, this isn't meant to be a book review; it's a memorable worlds post. And how is Amara a memorable world for me? It's a fantasy world just like any other, but with it's own unique twists. There's forests, canyons, mountains, passes, valleys, swamps, bogs, islands, deserted castles, grand cities, small villages, gateways, pretty much everything you could hope for in the terrain and architecture.

But really memorable? Well, truth be told, it was really this series that really got me into writing fantasy. Reading Narnia and LOTR, the classic fantasy stories, only solidified my love of fantasy, but reading Mrs. Paul's books made me realize that fantasy isn't something that only professors with English accents monopolize. You can make your own world. And you can make it seem real. I've read a lot of fantasy and enjoyed (most of) it, but this series, and this particular world, proved to me that I could write fantasy, too. Mrs. Paul may not have influenced the world of literature the way Tolkien or Austen or Twain has, but she influenced me, and I'd say that was success. ;)

God bless!


  1. This is a series that I want to read, but I haven't put my hands on it yet. Correction, I've had my hands on the last book (found it a garage sale, recognized the author as Christian Fantasy because I follow her on Pinterest, and had my Grandma buy it for our church library - she's the librarian) but I like beginning books at the beginning, not the end.

    But those seven races sound like lots of fun, because I like mixes like that. Those glowing Kimens sound like fun!

  2. I read the first book of that series, and I thought it was pretty interesting. :)

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  4. Oh my, I cannot even talk about this series without squealing like an excited little girl. It is absolutely one of my FAVORITES. Mrs. Paul's world is like no other, it's so unique and fascinating, and just all around FUN. She may have made my favorite cast of characters I've ever read about (and that's saying something). I totally and completely adore Amara!!

    Have you read her other trilogy set in the same world? The Chiril Chronicles? They are set in the same world but at a slightly earlier time than the DragonKeeper Chronicles. They're just as good in my opinion though.

    1. Yes, I've read some of them. I'm still working on getting the last one (or two? I forgot) out of the library. I'm liking them, but for some reason DK is my favorite. Probably because Toopka isn't in them. ;)