Blog Tour: Sacrifice: Book One of y Ddraig (The Dragons of Brython) by Gwendolyn Beynon: A Book Review

02_Sacrifice_CoverSacrifice: Book One of y Ddraig (The Dragons of Brython) by Gwendolyn Beynon 
Release Date: June 5, 2015 
Publisher:Dark Pages Publishing 
GENRE: Historical/Fantasy/Romance
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour in exchange for an honest review.

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Synopsis: 528 A.D. Cymru (Wales)

Melangell is a ‘Lifebringer’, a dragon-maiden learning to protect one of the land’s most ancient mysteries, y Ddraig. She expects to pass her years as have a score of teachers before her—sequestered, safeguarding an egg that barely moves from year to year, never using the deadly and secret skills she has been taught. But the King’s relentless pursuit of this most holy relic throws her into the middle of war and though she is not yet adept Melangell must enter captivity with the egg to defend the sleeping dragonling within.

Her abductor is Cai ap Cynyr—fierce warrior, loyal brother and sword-arm to the high Chieftain, Artwr. He has been scouring the land for the relics Artwr demands to ensure triumph against the Angles invading from the east. Cai uses the Lifebringer’s mystique to master his armsmen, but when he spirits Melangell and the dragon egg further into seclusion, she grows intrigued by her captor. But she is a Lifebringer—sworn only to y Ddraig—and Cai must deliver the dragonling to Artwr to at last drag himself out of his legendary brother’s deep shadow.

And all the while, the egg readies itself to emerge…

*Sacrifice is the first in a series of three books based around y Ddraig (the Dragon) set in sixth-century Arthurian Wales, featuring characters based on Welsh myth, literature and/or history.

     My Review: The first in an epic fantasy series, Sacrifice blends the story of the Welsh Medieval Saint, Melangell to the Arthurian legend. Set during the reign of King Arthur, Cai seeks to help his brother Artwr (Arthur’s Welsh name) by seeking a holy relic, a dragon’s egg. Melangell, a young druid priestess, is tasked to guard it. She agrees to be Cai’s prisoner in order to protect it. As the two slowly fall in love, Cai is faced with the hard choice of delivering the egg to his brother or betraying him to protect Melangell and her quest.

     Because I am a lover of Arthurian lore, it is usually hard for me to resist a book that features King Arthur. With a saint’s legend and a dragon mixed in, it makes an interesting story. This story has a different take to King Arthur. He does not make an appearance in this novel, but he is referenced. While he is portrayed in a negative light, King Arthur is still a fascinating character. I also liked how Cai, Arthur’s adopted brother, is the hero in the story and is the love interest of the protagonist.

     Melangell is feisty, spirited, defiant and strong-willed. Because of her headstrong personality, she is an equal match to Cai, who is both astounded and fascinated by her. She is willing to sacrifice herself to keep those she loves safe. She is also intelligent, cunning, and not afraid to fight her enemies to protect herself. Therefore, Melangell is a strong protagonist, and I liked her romance with Cai. Melangell and Cai’s relationship progresses naturally. Eventually, Melangell steers Cai away from his dreams of ambition and glory, and he slowly turns into a man who wants to do what is right.

     Overall, this story is about sacrifice, friendship, love, and duty. The message of the novel is to do what you believe is right. I did find the plot to be slow-paced. I also felt that the story should have been a bit shorter because there were some unnecessary scenes that did not help the story or the characters. However, I felt that the thrilling climax and ending definitely paid off. The story has some violent scenes, and is for mature readers. I am interested in reading the sequel to find out what happens next. I recommend this story to those who are interested in dragon lore, fantasy, historical fiction, and Arthurian literature.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



03_Gwendolyn Beynon_Author

     Australian author, Gwendolyn Beynon, comes from a long line of storytellers of Welsh and Cornish stock. She grew up reading romance and fantasy novels but the y Ddraig series is her first foray into historical fantasy.

     The idea for the y Ddraig series came while on a pilgrimage to Wales (the land of her fathers) where she was visiting holy wells and ancient yew trees. She grew captivated with the way that the ancient stories of Welsh literature, myth and history still co-existed comfortably in contemporary Cymru, and by the atmosphere of mystery that still exists around much of Wales' natural spaces.

     An Arts graduate from Curtin University (with double-majors in Film and Theatre), Gwen has worked in communications all her life. She sold her first book in 2008 and has been writing for a living with her hounds at her feet and Celtic music as a backdrop ever since.

     For more information visit Follow Gwendolyn on Facebook and Goodreads.


Monday, August 24
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight & Excerpt at Unshelfish

Tuesday, August 25

Wednesday, August 26
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, August 27

Friday, August 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Saturday, August 29
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Sunday, August 30
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Monday, August 31

Tuesday, September 1

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, September 3
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, September 4
Review at I’m Shelf-ish

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