This review is from: Dulcinea: or Wizardry A-Flute (Paperback)
Far too many deserving books go unnoticed in the tidal wave of Harry-Potter-mania, and this is one of the ones that deserves a great deal more notice...
"Dulcinea" is the tale of a young girl named Dulcinea Brown, who at the age of sixteen is coming into her magical power. Her dad, an apothecary, has just taken on a new apprentice, Raz Songsterson. Raz is clearly keeping something hidden away.
And, like in many fantasies, the world is in danger. Dulcinea must use flute magic (better description in the book) to rescue peole from a dragon, who was conjured by the evil Society of Mages. When Dulcinea's father realizes that Raz is a talented, skilled mage, he acidently involves himself and his daughter in a power battle that risks the entire world. All standing between them and possible chaos is three magicians, including heroine Dulcinea...
I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for stories about magicians and people discovering new powers, such books as Diana Wynne Jones, TA Barron, and Jane Yolen's "Wizard Hall." I was not disappointed by "Dulcinea," and I doubt other wizard-fans will as well. (I especially liked the concept of flute magic...)
Dulcinea is a very cool heroine in a genre where too often the heroines are Buffy-types or weenies. She manages to be precisely what is expected in this situation -- a teenage girl who ends up in a power struggle with the Society, and who grows in personality throughout the book. Her changing relationships with her father and Raz were genuinely intriguing. Raz and Dulcinea's dad are equally realistic as their perceptions change (and I honestly did not know for a while what was up with Raz)
This is not a dumbed-down book in style (one paragraph contains "apex" and "inanimate"). It's very descriptive and the author does not skimp on complexity or unique ideas. Such creatures as dragons and wizards are given new spins in this book. (My only quibble would be that in tense situations, a little too much notice is paid to details, but that's a small one)
Definitely a five-star book. Fans of Harry Potter or Diana Wynne Jones would love this magical tale.