Micky Zucker Reichert,
The Books of Barakhai #2:
The Lost Dragons of Barakhai

(DAW, 2002)

The Lost Dragons of Barakhai is the sequel to Mickey Zucker Reichert's The Beasts of Barakhai, and while the pacing isn't as taut as in the first novel, it is still a pleasant read.

About a year and a half after his visit to Barahkai, Benton Collins is summoned again. This time, his friends Zylas and Falima come in their animal forms to ask him for help. This time, there will be no tricks, they promise; they want him to go with them of his own free will. When Benton returns with them, it is to learn that "all" they want him to do is sneak into the castle and find the two dragons believed to be hidden there.

Needless to say, Ben is reluctant to return to the castle, but does so along with Zylas. They are discovered, and Zylas is the captive of the vengeful Carrie Quinton, the graduate student who preceded Ben to Barakhai and who has every reason not to think kindly of him.

Now Ben has to find the dragons while the others go to save Zylas, leading to a finale that draws both missions together. By the end, Ben comes to understand that he belongs to Barahkai as much as he belongs anywhere.

The plot is weaker than in the previous book, and less focused. It's predictable from the first foray into the castle -- you know that one or both of them will be captured -- to the last-minute rescue that throws the characters into greater peril. Carrie Quinton seems to spend much of her time chewing the scenery and behaving viciously, but I flinched at what happens to her in the end. It seemed over the top.

The ending wraps things up far too neatly and incorporates a drastic change in one of the characters that does not ring true. In addition, one wonders if Reichert is planning any more books in the series, and if so, what is her direction? Still, the book is readable, especially to those who have read the first book, and I'm curious to know where Reichert plans to take her story.

- Rambles
written by Donna Scanlon
published 21 December 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.