I received the book ‘Aranya’ Shapeshifter Dragon Book 1 as a gift. Even though it is categorized as a young adult novel the action and intrigue will keep adults thoroughly entertained. Author Mark Secchia did a wonderful job bringing the Island-World surrounded by toxic clouds called the Cloudlands to life as after twelve years of fighting against the ruthless Island kingdom of Sklakia, King Beran surrenders to Ignathion -First War Hammer, Commander to safe his kingdom from total destruction. His daughter Aranya, Princess of Immadia now must submit to be a hostage exiled to the Tower of Sklakia . Aranya barely sixteen years old agrees to these terms though her heart quakes with fear of the upcoming unknown for two reasons first: all known enchantress earn a death sentence for magic is banned and Aranya must keep her multi color hair a secret for it reveals the true. Second: Aranya suffers from night terrors of a black seven headed dragon which ends up with Aranya screaming awake as small fires around her bed chamber are quickly being smothered by her servant, Beri.
Aranya earns Ignathion’s respect on the way to the Tower as she recuse him from the large Windroc that crashed through the observation window of the dragonship dirigible. Even though he owes Aranya his life Ignathion still delivers her to the Tower. He does gives her the name his trusted man Nalthion at the Tower if she needs to get a message to him.
Once at the Tower Aranya feels betrayed for Nalthion is the commander of the Tower. There Aranya makes a shaky alliance friendship with another princess Zuziana ‘Zip’ of Remoy. Things just keeps getting worse as the Supreme Commander Thoralion’s son, Garthion comes and beats Zip with a whip and leaves her for dead. Aranya retaliates and Garthion decides to make an example of her taking her to the top of the tower to whip her. Her fear explodes as her fire engulfs Garthion and four guards as she faints.
When Aranya awakes she finds herself bounded in chains at the Last Walk on the top of the tower. Thoralion pronounces sentence ‘Death’. Yolathion, Third War Hammer personally picks Aranya up and throws her off into the abyss of toxic fumes of the Cloudlands. As Aranya plummets towards her death, the black dragon of her nightmares appears in the storm, “It’s Time!”
Aranya now begins her new life as a shapeshifter dragon bend on starting a rebellion against the Sklakian kingdom picking up unlikely allies along the way, Zip, old dragon riders Nak and Oyda, a former nameless monk Ri’arion, Sapphire a dragonet, pygmies and Yolathion. When I finished reading ‘Aranya’ I could not wait and went to Amazon and bought book two in the series ‘Shadow Dragon’. Mark does a fabulous job of keep the reader engrossed in the story not wanting to put the book down. You can find the rest of his works at http://www.amazon.com/Marc-Secchia/e/B00BATIZTI.