Dragonfly
Julia Golding




Princess Taoshira is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil ac Burinholt in order to unite their lands. And Ramil's not too pleased either. They loathe each other on sight.So when she and Ramil are kidnapped, they fear there's no escape - either from their kidnappers or from each other.Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their extraordinary adventure - including a circus strongman, a daring rebel leader, a sinister master of spies and the best female fighter they have ever seen - help them or betray them to the enemy?

"I bought this book yesterday and just couldn't stop reading it. I like Julia Goldong's books, anyway (especially the Companion's Quartet), but this has to be one of the best. While some things are fairly predictable, there are many twists and turns in the story to keep the reader interested. If you enjoy a fast paced, romantic and sometimes funny story, I would defifnitely give this a go". AZ (Amazon)
Alice, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

This book begins with an arranged marriage between Princess Taoshira of Kai and Prince Ramil ac Burinholt of Gerfal in order to unite their lands. However, they hate each other. On a trip to the forest, they are kidnapped and have to overcome their differences.

 

My favourite part of the book is when the author describes the crescent moon islands, where Taoshira lives. I really like how Julia Golding describes the rituals and traditions of the islanders. I really like this, when authors make up a whole new empire or world, with religions for their stories, so Dragonfly was really enjoyable for me to read.

Ankita, from Newcastle Under Lyme School

Dragonfly starts off with Princess Taoshira hating Price Ramil, the person she is being forced to marry to unite the lands. After they are kidnapped, however, the adventure brings them together as they realize that they will have to work together to survive.

 

I really enjoyed reading Dragonfly. I think it is good because there are some amusing moments as well as romantic and adventurous ones. The fact that the main characters were a prince and princess was a bit off-putting, but once I got into the book, I realized that it wasn’t the fantasy world I expected it to be. It showed how royalty was tied down by the rules that they had to follow. I found myself getting under the skin of the characters, and could totally justify why they behaved the way they did in certain situations. It was a very easy book to understand and enjoy, and I would definitely recommend all people to read it. 

Annabel, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Entrancing.  Enchanting.  Exquisite.

 

Julia Golding's wonderful story of giants, kingdoms, princesses and princes may sound like a fairytale: it is much more than that!

 

When Princess Taoshira – Fourth Crown Princess of the Blue Crescent Islands – is forced to marry Prince Ramil ac Burinholt for alliance, she is appalled. They hate each other on sight. He disrespects her customs – unintentionally – and she seems too lofty. When both of them are captured, there is no freedom from anyone. Can they put aside their differences for long enough to withstand the trials to come?

 

I think this book is a realisation of human differences being used as a criminal offence. Religion is variable everywhere and Dragonfly shows the obstacles which can be overcome in different ways. I like this story for the fact that these obstacles were conquered; I hope our society never falls into the disrepair that was described.

 

In conclusion, I feel this book is a beautiful insight into the lives of sufferers in a cruel discriminating world. Well written, deftly described. Full of love, life and liveliness. I would recommend this book to anyone: an exciting story with vicious fights, unintentional insults, contrasting conversations and faithful friends.

 

Enlightening.  Exceptional. Extraordinary.

Beckie, from Newcastle Under Lyme School

In the story a young girl at the age of 12 got picked to be a crown princess. She got betrothed and at first hated her betrothed, but finds she falls in love with him.

 

I think the whole story was unusual, but that’s what made the story so good.

 

I think the opening of the story was slow and dramatic. It sounded a tiny bit dull at first but once I had passed the second/third chapter I thought it was an amazing book.

  

Tashi was beautiful, elegant, fragile and young. I liked the character because she was gentle and kind and very stubborn. She developed because she came to act more her age and more understanding of the world.

 

Ramil was young, rowdy, tough, and energetic; and he was kind, very stubborn, and quick-witted. He became more aware of others’ feelings.

 

Gordoc was strong, protective, kind and caring. He always was there for the princess and was very kind. Merl was flirty, out going, and big-headed. He was eager to please, keen, and very generous. He became more aware of others.

 

I think the [fact that the] story was written in the third person was important to the story because it gave the story a certain mood. The setting was described with feeling and thought. The feelings and attitudes were described as if the author could see this person.

 

The story was fantastic. It had lots of feeling and emotion, and it was a romance, drama, adventure type of book.

 

My favourite moment was when the four of them were travelling to freedom and they got caught by the slavers. This was my favourite part because it was so exiting and adventurous and exiting. 

 

I think the story deals mostly with friendships and relationships.

 

I cannnot tell if the writer had a particular reason to write the story. After I read the book I felt excited and a little confused.

Charley, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Dragonfly is a really exciting book but gets off to a slow start.  At first I didn’t like it because of this, but three-quarters of the way through it really got going and I enjoyed it all the more. 

 

It is a fantasy story set in a time of swords and horses.  It was written in a way that really makes you feel as if you are in the character’s head, but is written in the third person so you switch between characters’ thoughts. 

 

Don’t let the cover put you off this book.  Personally, I don’t think this book’s cover reflects the story.  Give this story a go and you’ll find after a number of pages you can’t take your eyes off it!

Danielle, from St James Catholic High School

This amazing story is set in ‘The Known World’. Prince ac Burinholt is forced to marry the fourth crown princess of the Blue Crescent islands, Taoshira, and neither of them are happy about it. As if this wasn’t bad enough, they get kidnapped by the war god and they manage to escape - which leads them to many places and interesting people. One thing I liked about this book was the map and glossary at the back to help you.

 

I recommend this book for anyone who likes adventure books and is aged between 10-15.

Drashti, from University College School London

Dragonfly is a motivating book about different rulers, ruling different lands, but to protect their lands they have to unite with others. To unite, they have to go through marriage.

 

The Fourth Crown Princess, known as Princess Taoshira to her country or to her friends as Tashi, is new to her throne. The princesses have to wear white paint on their faces in order to hide their emotions. She wears long robes covering most of her body. Her favourite robe is the dragonfly robe. She has to recite many rituals a day. She has to recite around 26 BEFORE she can even have breakfast. She gets used to it very quickly and also gets very devoted to her Goddess.

 

Prince Ramil ac Burinholt is the opposite of Tashi. His side of the world doesn’t believe in Goddesses, they believe in Gods. Their first meeting approves of hatred between them. But once they start trusting each other things become different. They meet different people and different adventures.

 

I thought that this book had a good story line and its plot was exactly where it should’ve been taken. Although I did mention that it contains a good story line it is one of the many common ones where the couple don’t get along and something happens so by the end they’re in complete love. But the idea and the adventures that the author has put to create the bond between the two are really interesting. I really like the idea. I was overthrown by the idea that each of them thought that the other was the cause of the kidnap. I think the characters are quite interesting and the fact that they hate each other at first sight without meeting is odd – but fits in with what the story has to say. The description of each scene is well laid out, and somehow for me that’s the thing that made me want to read on. The other thing that made me want to read on was the steps that the two main characters would take next.

 

The ending is interesting and reveals the princesses’ true side and shows how selfish [they are]. This book contains a lot of interesting ideas and scenes; I think [it] is worth recommending everybody to read. The genre of this book is action and adventure, for those who are interested.

Ed, from Sturminster Newton High School, Dorset

The story is set in a land divided into four countries each with different cultures. Tashi or Taoshira is from the Blue Crescent people and Prince Ramil is heir to the throne of Gerfal. These two are set to be married to create an alliance between the two lands and to repel the invading Fergox.

 

This book was by far my favourite out of the six. It was fun, adventurous, daring, interesting and inventive, all the things that type of book should be. It did start slow but got miles better after Tashi stopped being the stuck-up princess and became just a normal girl. These were the best bits for me as it wasn’t awkward and when the different people started to accept each other the story really got going.

 

The part I most liked about the book was the fact that everyone thought that Tashi was a witch and the descriptions,” eyes like burning coals,” just had me in stitches.

 

I really enjoyed this book and would give it 10/10.

Estelle, from St James Catholic High School

When the princess of the Blue Crescent island is made to marry Ramil Burinholt, the heir to the throne of Gerfal, neither of them are happy, although when both of their countries are under threat from Fergox, their only chance to save their countries from war is to form a union. However when both Ramil and the princess are kidnapped, things aren’t looking good for them; [but] on their journey they learn more about each other, other people they encounter, and themselves. They also learn how to keep their countries safe.

 

This isn’t the sort of book I would normally pick up, although it captures the reader and keeps them entertained throughout.

Garima, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

I enjoyed this book very much. It was very imaginative, as most of the books I’ve read were in this world that we know. The plot was very good. I loved the way the book switched scenes and explained what the other characters where thinking. As it was set in another world, it made it more interesting.

 

Ramil, whose character was supposed to be uncouth, turned out not to be so uncouth; during the book it showed what his real personality was like. Tashi, however, had a split personality - half of her behaved like the perfect princess everyone thought she was, although throughout the book it showed her real personality.

 

The beginning was good when Ramil and Taoshira were kidnapped; it really captured the readers’ attention.

 

I think that part of the book near the end dragged on a bit. This was the part that was when Tashi and Ramil were separated and no-one believed that Tashi was a princess.

 

The part where Merl kept flirting with her and Ramil got very jealous was hilarious. It was my favourite part. Generally, I enjoyed the book.

Holly, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

I started to read the first chapter of Dragonfly, but I found it really hard to get into. I found that there was a lot to take in during the first chapter. Though I do think the imagination put into this book was good. I grasped the fact it was about a prince and a princess and I think that anyone who is into mystical books would enjoy it.

Isabel, from Newcastle Under Lyme School

Princess Taoshira, the fourth crown Princess, is ordered to marry Prince Ramil, but they get kidnapped and they hate each other.

 

Princess Taoshira was strong-willed and I loved her character. Prince Ramil was powerful but I found him a bit obnoxious and didn't like him that much until further towards the end. My favorite moment in the story was when they get married as I love a happy ending.

 

What I've learnt from the story is that if you put your differences aside [when] you don't get on with very well [with someone], and get on with things, you can do things a lot quicker than when you squabble and fight.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone as I enjoyed it so much and couldn't put the book down.

Izzy, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

I really loved Dragonfly because I think the characters were very good. My favourite character is Tashi because she is a very strong, brave woman who is true to herself. I also love Gordoc, the kind giant who is always trying to protect Tashi and helps Ram. I love the fact that there is never a dull moment in the book; though one adventure may end, another always starts and it kept me very entertained. I can find no flaws - it is a truly magical story.

Jacob, from University College School London

Dragonfly by Julia Golding is set in a fantasy world and made up of four imagined countries, Gerfal, Brigard, Kandar and Holt, and is written in the third person. Each country has its own religion and culture and is very different from any other. What I find really interesting is that each country thinks that it is superior, and better than the other. But they can’t all be the best!

 

The heroine is called Princess Tashi and was a normal sheepherder who turns out to be one of the four crowned princesses and runs the island of Kai. She finds out that she is forced to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal to unite their lands against the brutal Fergox the Speerthrower from Holt. Without this alliance Fergox would be able to invade both Gerfal and the Blue Crescent Islands. They are both very upset about the marriage...

 

Brigands capture them and they are taken to Holt to the land of the spear throwers. It is discovered that Tashi is a princess and they try and make her worship their god but Tashi resists them and is thrown into a cell. She is a good fighter but she will not fight for the spear throwers and we discover how strong she is and is able to challenge them.

 

I really like Dragonfly because it is an interesting book where anything can happen. I can relate to the characters and their different ways of looking at the world. It is also full of adventures and incidents, which I like. I rate this book 8/10. I have dropped two marks because I don’t think that the idea that Ferox paid the other three crowned princesses to pick Tashi was convincing. 

Juliet, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Dragonfly is an inventive, original story. It is an enthralling read covering friendship, love and war. Set in a different but similar world in the past, the battles and wars and culture of the population makes the story realistic and believable.

 

The characters of Ramil and Taoshira transform throughout the book. Princess Taoshira begins without revealing a personality, appearing dull but gradually coming into her own and entertaining the reader. Ramil begins as a likeable but reckless and unthoughtful prince but slowly matures to show true leadership as his love for Taoshira grows.

 

The very descriptive storyline also transforms, beginning with fantasy and gradually weaving in romance. The entrance of new characters (Melletin, Yelena etc) is refreshing as the characters of Taoshira and Ramil become slightly stale.

 

The story shows how different religions and cultures can separate nations and cause stereotypes. What’s special about the character of Ramil is he actually admires her for her passionate beliefs and respects her for sticking to them even when she is tested. There is a lot to say about Dragonfly, but overall I thought it was a good book and enjoyed it, even though this is not the type of book I would usually read.

 

Laura, from St James Catholic High School

When I read the first few chapters of this story, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not, and I almost put it down. However, after the line, ‘Please, Prince Ramil, Please stop!’ I felt that this is the point when the story began to get interesting, and I couldn’t stop reading.

 

I’ve never read a book by Julia Golding before, but this book has really compelled me to want to read more. Even though the characters aren’t what you would find in everyday life, their personalities are very easy to relate to and like, and although the plot can be a little predictable at times, there are many twists and turns that keep the reader hooked.

 

It is a great, fast-paced, at times funny and romantic story, and I would definitely recommend it to others my age.

Manogar, from University College School London

I think Dragonfly is a great adventure book and it is a real page-turner because when I started I just had to finish. The reason why it is so good is because Julia Golding makes you ask questions and doesn’t give all the information so you just have to keep reading. It has all the great factors to be a fantastic adventure story because it has things like fighting, narrow escapes and I like the way that it is not too modern and it has chases on horseback.

 

I like the way Julia Golding used her imagination to create an interesting setting instead of using places in the world we know - she has set it in a place called Blue Crescent islands. One of the main characters is Princess Taoshira (called Tashi by her friends), who soon finds out that it is not always easy to be a princess of the Blue Crescent islands. She is never allowed to show her emotions and has to follow sixteen rituals before even having breakfast and if she performs the rituals wrong the whole island would be in danger. She finds life as a princess tough but she accepts that the goddess has chosen and she has to do her job.

 

However she is angered and cannot accept that her fellow three princesses are trying to force her to marry Prince Ramil ac Burinholt in order to unite their lands against their common foe Fergox Spearthrower. Ramil is not that happy about it either and does not want to marry someone just for the sake of politics. This soon becomes a misunderstanding and a clash of religions. Ramil didn’t care for Tashi at all; however when they are captured by Ferox’s spies he wishes to get Tashi and himself to safety. This is when the big adventure starts to unfold.

 

They travel all over the known world as slaves, prisoners and rebels. Tashi starts to question everything she believes in and it is Ramil that tries to protect her faith. The adventure is long, thrilling and exciting and I really enjoyed reading it.

Maryam, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Dragonfly is a distinguished book, which shows us elements of war and love, betrayal and loyalty. It is set in a different world to ours, a world where peace once fell, where every country accepted others’ traditions and ways, and lived together knowing that each person was special. However, now there is a new ruler, one who sets out to destroy individuality, and force the world to bow down to him. Fergox Spearthrower has invaded almost all the lands, and now only the Crescent Islands and the country of Gerfal survive.

 

Meanwhile, the Crescent Islands and Gerfal have decided to unite, forcing their fourth ruler, the Princess Taoshira of the Crescent Island, and Prince Ramil of Gerfal to marry against their will. Unable to accept each other’s differences, they loathe each other - until they’re kidnapped. That is when they must learn to work as one for survival. Together, they can escape Fergox’s clutches and battle against the evil that he spreads in the world.

 

Julia Golding sets a very believable scene, with characters the reader can imagine. Speaking in the third person, she is able to convey the views of the main characters, and turn them into real people, each one with their own personality and views. After reading the story, I found that Tashi was one of my favourite characters. Throughout the book, her personality progresses. We see that during the beginning of her time as a fourth Crown Princess, she has no mind of her own; she is ruled by traditions and laws that have been set out before her, as well as the pressure she receives from her fellow Princesses and pleasing the “mother”. As the story develops, and Tashi finds herself in front of different Gods and traditions, unravelling a secret she would never dream of, she begins to wonder about faith; and as the story continues, she begins to understand that The Mother wouldn’t care for mechanical rituals, and physical moves - what mattered was what was inside her heart.

 

Also, Tashi begins to find her views changing towards the people surrounding her. For example, at first she believes Ramil is an “ignorant boor.... Later, she sees his courageous attempts to rescue her, and comfort her in her doubt, making her admire him and begin to wonder if he really was so bad. He encourages her during her times of confusion, “You’ve been strong. You’re resisting…”. One of the qualities I admire in Tashi is her bravery, and her ability to continue with her quest …

 

The author’s style of writing throughout the book enchants the reader, as with every step forward Golding reveals something unexpected. As well as this, her choice of words grips the reader, and her descriptions transport us to Tashi and Ramil’s world: “The reeds were frosted white, pale ghosts of their green summer selves. The channels were edged with wafer-thin ice, like lace on a lady’s gown. Eels could be glimpsed rolling in muddy water beneath, their skins shining with an oily sheen…” Here, we see how the author appeals to the senses, and we can imagine the winter scenery: We can see the eels slithering, we can really feel their smooth, oily skin, we can see the cold, icy channels.

 

 

I really enjoyed the book, as I found it was realistic, and hooked the reader onto it. Golding creates gripping characters, and allows us to enter their minds. As well as this, the author discusses many real-life issues, such as prejudice and differentiating between others, in addition to friendship and loyalty. I feel that this book is mainly for people who enjoy fantasy and adventure, and I feel it is mainly for a younger audience, and that adults may not enjoy it.

Mona, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

Dragonfly is a book about a young prince and princess that have been forced by the rulers of their two kingdoms to wed. But because of their differences in religion, culture and general personalities they loathed each other. But when a horse ride gone wrong ends up with them kidnapped, they realize just how similar they really are and end up falling in love.

 

I enjoyed this book very much. I particularly enjoyed how the book gave a message that opposites can attract no matter how different they are. I also liked the way the writer described the fighting so well, and made it easy to understand and imagine. It’s a great book and I would definitely recommend it to a friend.

Olivia, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Dragonfly is about a princess and prince who are betrothed to each other, so that their kingdoms can be allies, and have a strong bond with a wedding; it’s all to plan until they get kidnapped. This is like a typical fairy tale except that normally the Princess and Prince love each other and something else is stopping them from getting married. The story starts slowly but speeds up, so that it is soon moving quickly. The pieces of the story fit together well without bits where you feel bored.

 

The main characters are Princess Taoshira (Nickname : Tashi) and Prince Ramil (Nickname : Ram). The story describes the characters well, in practically all aspects - which is helpful for you to get to know about the characters, and imagine things well. The way the author describes things lets us use our own imagination to see things as well as the way the author imagined it.

 

The story is written in the third person, which is helpful as it lets you find out about all the characters and what’s happening around them rather than just what they are noticing. I think the story is described in good detail so that you know what things look like and can picture it the way the author wanted you to. I think the amount of description is pretty much just right, so you can get a feel of what the author wants you to imagine.

 

I found that this was an excellent book, due to not really having boring parts, as well as making you want to read on. I had trouble putting the book down, as I found it interesting and wanted to know what happens next, which is one of the main reasons why I found it was a really good book.

 

The book shows us how two different cultures can offend each other without meaning to. It also shows you what both sides were thinking at times and thought of each other. Another thing was that there weren’t really any parts which made you think “I want to skip this part and find out what the other characters are doing”…All the parts were interesting; I didn’t find any part where I felt that maybe something could have been better. I would recommend this book to nearly anyone…I think everyone should enjoy it.

 

Seeta, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Dragonfly is a fantasy novel about two completely different cultures, an arranged marriage and a sixteen-year-old princess. Princess Taoshira (Tashi to family) is forced to leave her homeland in order to marry Prince Ramil ac Burinholt to unite their very different lands. Neither of them wants to get married to the other but there seems to be no way out. Then they are both kidnapped. They have to endure many hardships like brainwashing and imprisonment and meet many extraordinary people along the way. The book keeps the reader in suspense as to whether they will ever escape and defeat the enemy

 

The two main characters are Princess Taoshira and Prince Ramil. There is another major character called Gordoc Ironfist, and some minor ones like Yelena and one of my favourite characters, Professor Norling. I thought that the two main characters were described and portrayed well in their characteristics, though their physical appearances weren’t described as much.

 

The author isn’t trying to get across any particular message but I think that she is trying to show some admirable qualities through the adventures of the characters. For example, to not give up faith in your beliefs just because someone tells you to, like when Fergox tries to make Tashi give up her beliefs in her goddess (the great Mother) and believe in his god instead. It is shown as religion in this book but it can be anything. The author also shows the effects of something like peer pressure and how you can rise above or recover from it with the help of friends, strength and determination.

 

The author uses appropriate language for the time frame the book is set in (medieval) and for who is talking, like the formal way people talk when discussing state matters as opposed to the way they talk when relaxing. There are also some funny parts like when Yelena and Melletin pretend to fight and then make up to fool the guards. I couldn’t think of many bad points about the book, but I would have liked some of the events that happened to be explained in more detail. However, I know that you can’t explain everything that happens in full detail in a story, as it would be too long.

 

I would recommend Dragonfly as a 12+ read if you like fantasy and romance books with real people.

Suzy, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

I started reading Dragonfly and I tried really hard to get into it, but I couldn’t. I read the first few pages and got awfully bored; when I discovered it was going to be a tale about a princess, I knew I was not going to enjoy it. I think this is more because this kind of book does not interest me – they aren’t ones I especially enjoy.

Thulashika, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

‘Please, Prince Ramil, please stop!’

 

It was only after this very line that the whole journey began. This book by Julia Golding was a completely different type of novel than I would normally read as it was based on royal princesses and princes. In this novel, not only do you learn the real life of a person of high status and their duties but you also learn how different they can be compared to normal people. As this story isn’t a real story, I think the author has done an excellent job in portraying the characters’ personalities, as in my opinion, it must be very difficult to write from a princess’s or a prince’s point of view. 

 

My favourite character in this novel was Princess Taoshira, who is also known as Tashi. She is a princess who is very dedicated to her priorities.

 

This story has everything a great story needs: dramatic irony which produces tension; this made me enjoy the novel and read on. The novel consists of a great structure as well, as it doesn’t just focus on where the main character is at but changes to different scenes introducing new characters during the book. I thought this was very effective as it created a lot of imagery of various scenes playing in my mind.

 

However, I was quite disappointed near the end as I expected a dramatic twist to take place. This would have made the story more exciting.

 

I would recommend this book to mainly girls over the age of 11 who are interested in adventurous yet romantic novels. 

 

Tia, from The Thomas Hardye School Dorchester

This book is about a prince called Ramil and a princess called Tashi.  They are forced to marry, although they don’t want to.  In the end, however, they discover that they love each other and marry.

 

I really enjoyed reading Dragonfly.  I particularly liked the ending because it was a happy one.  My favourite character was Gordoc, and the best bit was when they escaped from the place where they had been held captive. 

 

I would definitely read this book again and although I did find it hard to get into initially, reading on was worth it.  

Yasmine, from St James Catholic High School

Princess Tashoria is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil ac Burinholt in addition to unite their lands. Prince Ramil isn’t too pleased ether: both of them hate the sight of each other.

 

When they are both captured by people they hardly know, they find themselves becoming more attached to each other as they fear that there is no escape… but there is. They soon break out from the clutches of evil with the help of new friends and team work.

 

In the book, I like the way Julia Golding builds up the book [bit by bit], with lots of different surprises!


I had a fantastic time reading the book and vote it 10/10.