Grounded: A Dragon’s Tale
Another solid book by Gloria Piper
There is a lot of ideas and themes running through this novel, but it hard to notice, in a good way. It is easy for a writer to get bogged down in layers of ideas and themes piled on ideas and themes until the reader has to use a machete to find the plot. Phillip K Dick and Herman Melville managed it successfully but I can’t think of any others who did it well, but lots of writers have tried and failed.
In GROUNDED, Piper always keeps Rumplewing’s feelings and emotions in the foreground. Even though the background is filled with ideas, the book remains (I have to say it) grounded to Rumplewing’s character.
Through the novel Rumplewing grows in to a mature dragon, with an open mind who rejects the Conventional Wisdom of the older dragons in order to save all of the dragons. This theme of someone maturing and using an open mind is hard enough to pull off with human characters, with an alien species the challenge is much harder. Piper manages to pull it off.
The only criticism I do have is in the end, when it is up to Rumplewing to plea the dragon’s case, the odds weren’t completely against her. By that time she had a mature and thoughtful mind, she could have faced a tougher court and won. I’m not sure if Piper planned on holding back to avoid being preachy, or just couldn’t put poor Rumplewing through any more torture. Either way, the scene worked but had the opportunity to be more dramatic.
Overall, it is a good story in a dynamic world with an eye set firmly on the character’s feeling and emotions.