I wish I could say, "Donita K Paul has written yet another enchanting fantasy and fun fantasy," but I can't. Dragonlight is the first of her books I've ever read.
I need to remedy that situation!
Donita has crafted an enchanting world full of unique beings, a well-developed geography, detailed philosophy, religion, literature and more. Her books will be examples in my worldbuilding workshops, that's for certain! My only complaint in this area is that she assumes the reader is familiar with her worlds, and there's very little explanation about the different races. (The meech especially confused me. I never knew how much they looked like dragons and how much they had humanoid form.) Unfortunately, a glossary at the end of the book is often too late for the reader. Even a sentence or two would have helped. Even so, the story kept me going despite the fact that I never got a clear mental picture of the characters.
Donita starts with two relatively straightforward plots: finding the secret colony of the dragonlike meech so their meech friend Gilda can lay her egg; and a new cult theoretically based on the teachings of God (known as Wulder) nonetheless takes an insidious turn as it grows. In that framework, she weaves in issues of faith, elf-identity, and racial pride, that are not only common but relevant to the issues of our world today. As an inspirational fantasy, there is a lot of religion in this book as well.
However, Donita does not preach, either about faith or about social issues. Instead, in true story teller fashion, she makes these a natural part of her world and her story. She uses event, conversation, example as well as Scripture, well blended into the story. I particularly enjoyed Kale's reaction to her Scripture-quoting husband: a combination of love, admiration and annoyance, with a dash of self-consciousness. It made his faith all the more meal and them believable as people rather than mere characters acting out a story. It didn't surprise me to learn Donita is a retired teacher. She's used that experience in her writing to make the lessons of her book fun to learn. I definitely recommend this book for readers 12 and up.
Folks who love Donita's work will not be disappointed by Dragonlight. However, if you're new to her work, I'd recommend getting the first book in her series, Dragonspell, and enjoying her world from the very beginning.