First, thanks, Bradley, for sending me this book so quickly. You all need to know what a wonderful, understanding man he is. After my (very whiny) e-mail letting him know that I just couldn't wait to keep going with the story, he hopped right on it and made sure my every need was taken care of. I'm always fond of nice authors and very impressed by Bradley's attitude towards a poor, whiny reviewer.
On to the review! This is the second half of the Mountain Dragon book. The first, Mountain Dragon: Aspiration, you'll find reviewed last week. I loved it and just couldn't wait to get my hands on the rest. This book picks up right where the other left off. This was originally written as one book, but with being a new author and not wanting to charge too much for a book, Bradley ended up splitting it up into two segments. The first follows our heroine from age five until she begins her teen age. This one continues from there and brings us more of the story of our heroine. I'm encouraged by some writing at the end of this book that there may be more coming. Then again, this book was 9 years in the making, so it may be no easy feat to continue the story.
I loved the second half of the book just as much as the first. I have to say I got more out of it, but I'll get to that in the next paragraph. Though this book could be read alone (as can the first), I strongly suggest you read them back to back. Even after days in between, I was still sucked right back in by the first sentence. I couldn't sleep. I carried the book with me while eating and bathing and changing diapers and doing laundry. I even ended up burning an entire pan of melting chocolate because I couldn't put it down for a few seconds to stir. Honestly, I consider it chocolate well-destroyed because if I had it to do over again, I still wouldn't have stirred the chocolate! The storyline is just wonderful. If you read it as just a story without looking for higher meaning, it's dramatic and full of action and magic. No, I don't mean pulling coins out from behind ears, I mean that magic that tingles your soul.
On a higher level of thinking, this book is about all of the different levels of attaining enlightenment. As our heroine goes through the story we watch her learn each level and valuable lessons. Yes, this sounds boring, but it's really not. Bradley has a way of presenting thoughts and ideas in such a manner that you read them as just part of the story, but they sink into your brain and allow you to think about them later. After finishing the second book, I have a more complete line of events to piece it all together. I'm not finished, by any means. There's just too much there to ponder and roll around. I don't mean to sound like he brainwashes you. It's nothing like that. I just mean that it's made a part of the story so that you pick it up, but you're not bored and stuck on it. It's kind of like learning about ghost towns by visiting one. You get to see everything firsthand (ok, secondhand since it's a book, but you get the point!), but it's not a bunch of boring book learning staring at you. You learn more by living (even vicariously!) through something than simply being told about it.
So, here I've been rambly again. I'm pretty good at that. The point is that this is an excellent and fulfilling read. Though I wasn't fond of the title for the first book, this one was just absolutely wonderful and accurate. I felt such a wonderful sense of fulfillment upon finishing the book. Don't make the mistake of not reading the epilogue though! Trust me! Honestly, this is a book set that you won't want to miss. Whether you're reading it for entertainment or enlightenment, you won't be disappointed. Bradley definitely has my seal of approval and I hope he'll contact me in the future when he has more to be released.
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