This was my first introduction to Donita K. Paul's work. I came into the book with only the brief summary from the publisher to entice me:
Cantor D’Ahma waited his whole life for this day. Born with a gift to jump between worlds, the young realm walker is finally ready to leave his elderly mentor and accept his role as protector and defender of the realms.Cantor has recently been initiated into the world of the Realm Walkers. Life is a series of parallel worlds stacked like pancakes and periodically portals open between these worlds enabling the Realm Walkers to enter. Once initiated and on their first journey, they are given the task of finding a dragon to partner with and also aligning themselves with comrades with whom to journey.
But mere hours after he steps through his first portal, Cantor discovers that his job will be more dangerous and difficult than he ever imagined. The realms are plagued with crime and cruelty, and even members of the once-noble Realm Walkers Guild can no longer be trusted. To make matters worse, his first assignment - finding a dragon to assist him on his quest---has led him to Bridger, who is clearly inept and won’t leave him alone.
With the help of his new friends Bixby and Dukmee, Cantor must uncover the secrets of the corrupt guild before they become too powerful to be stopped. But his skills aren’t progressing as fast as he would like, and as he finds himself deeper and deeper in the guild’s layers of deceit, Cantor struggles to determine where his true allegiance lies.
Within minutes of Cantor's arrival on his first journey, he sees a dragon. But remembering his mentor's caution to not select the first dragon that crosses his path, he tries to ignore the creature. Somewhat of a bungling dragon, one can understand why Cantor wanted to find a better dragon.
Aside from finding a dragon companion, a realm walker is instructed to find a companion realm walker. Here too, Cantor just stumbles upon a very interesting young woman, Bixby, who possesses some interesting talents. She helps him avoid capture by the ruling soldiers of the land. And while they were in hiding, they overheard two men planning a mission to free their son who'd been forecefully taken into service. Sounds like the perfect adventure to prove their worth as realm walkers and they boldly offer their services.
Thus begins a round of adventures (and some mishaps) that bring Cantor and Bixby into contact with Dukmee the healer who teaches Bixby some valuable new skills and in which Bridger proves that he can--on occasion-- be useful.
The realm walkers part paths for a time, with Bridger opting to accompany Bixby. It isn't long, however, before their paths cross again and Cantor realizes just how much he needs his new friends. Bridger also introduces Bixby to his sister dragon, Totobee-Rodolow--a fashion and jewel conscious dragon who enjoys shopping the markets as much as Bixby. Seems like a match made by Primen [God] Himself.
This cobbled together team discovers a plot that will endanger the lives of many innocent people and they desperately need to free some friends who have been thrown into the dungeon. This was an exciting tale but be prepared to be left hanging. The first of a trilogy, readers will be anxious to find out whether these novice realm walkers can bring order and justice back to a corrupt and twisted world.
It did take me awhile to get my mind around how the world in this book operates and the various giftings that people utilized (that probably has more to do with the fact that I haven't read a lot of dragon books). Paul does a really nice job of knitting together characters that are worth knowing and a story line with some good lessons about loyalty, faithfulness, and learning to use the unique gifts that the Creator gives each one of us.
Visit the author's website to learn more about this series and her other literary accomplishments.
Disclaimer: I received One Realm Beyond for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.