Did you know?
In ancient ages, Dragonflies were considered to be the symbol of depth, poise and light.
They are called ‘DRAGON‘ flies for a reason.
And there is a belief that dreaming of Dragonflies is a signal of an impending change in your life.
Which would mean
that my life is heading for a complete 180 since I have been dreaming of nothing but dragonflies since I came across this magical world conjured by Tom Simmons.
So much so, that I even drew a picture of Dax, the protagonist of ‘The Jracon’s Burden’ in all his glory. (Artwork at the bottom of the page).
Who would have thought
that one day a man called Tom Simmons, possessor of limitless imagination and the ability to summon magic through his words would spin a tale magnifique that would take us into a world as multifaceted as a dragonfly’s eyes!
(Can you tell how mighty impressed I am with the premise of this story?)
And this world is called
A society made of the magical population of Jracons and Zygs living through all good and evil, trying to make a comfortable life for themselves, raising domestic mosquitoes for their meat and skin……you know, the works.
‘Jrac…what?!’ do I hear you asking?
No need to fret because Tom Simmons’ ‘The Jracon’s Burden’ opens to a glossary that is your crash course in all things Odonata.
The Jracon ( plural Jraconi) are the dragonfly who have their own class division system.
The Noble Emeralds– most illustrious class of the society who make up the Rulers, Academics and Rangers.
Darters– a little lower on the rung of society ladder. They make up the population of all scribes and researchers in Odonata
Chasers– the class of artisans and performers
Skimmers– make up the bulk of farmers and hunter-gatherers in Odonata.
Clubtails– comprised of the grunts and soldiers.
Then there are the Zygs or the Damselflies, who are probably at the lowest strata of society, looked down upon by many and only allowed the position of servants, farm hands, personal assistants etc.
All of these classes are the carefully demarcated building blocks of Odonata. If you are born in a certain class, you have to only work in professions meant for that class.
Is it just me or does that sound familiar to you?
Now we come to the fabulously good part- All of them can weild magic or Thauma as it is known in Odonata. Thauma has different elemental schools like air magic, fire magic, water magic and so on.
The epicentre of this society is the Salix, a Willow tree of epic proportions which is the reason Odonata thrives. I’ll let Tom Simmons’ words describe it to you just because those words are absolutely beautiful!
“A thousand lives began and ended here every day. Down here, at the wave’s crest, where success, failure and survival ebbed and flowed and pulsed , there was no time for frivolity, no space for sloth, every moment brought with it opportunity. And danger.”
Yes. That is where the Hawkers come in.
The Hawkers were once a distinguished class of Odonata, sworn to protect the society.
However, one day a strange never seen before corrupt magic called Malada spread amongst their clan like a plague and drained the Hawkers of the last bit of positivity in the making them turn on the very people they were protecting.
Reason? Nobody seems to know.
Since then the Hawkers have been the perpetual looming shadow of danger over the Odonata society.
The main protagonist of ‘The Jracon’s Burden’, Dax, the Darter dragonfly is training to be a scribe, reluctantly.
He hated being a Darter because being born in this class restricted him from living the life he really wanted.
Dax wanted to be a Ranger. But since he could not do that, he trudged through his training and let his imagination run wild.
Along with his Skimmer best friend Sylk, Dax pretended to go on adventures and dreamed of the thrills the life of a Ranger could have offered him.
I am all for getting lost in your imagination but Dax’s wild imagination sometimes pushed him to take stupid risks.
And he chose to be stupid at the worst of times.
Because of one such disastrous risk Dax came to the notice of the commander of Odonata’s army.
The commander chooses to send Dax on a mission of intense gravity and unexpected dangers with one of his best rangers, Yslana a beautiful and brave Jraconzinha.
There is a teeny tiny issue though, other that the obvious possibility of dying.
Dax has a massive crush on ranger Yslana, while Yslana on her part is hardly bothered to get his name right.
To her, Dax is Daz or Dash. Sometimes Dish. And my personal favourite, Dixy.
She would rather go on this risky mission herself than with a fumbling Darter (who only fumbles because he has a crush on you Yslana!! Don’t judge him. I am defending a dragonfly…….okay.)
And so they set out on an adventure that Yslana and Dax are not confident they would ever return from.
I have always loved fiction that takes my imagination to an absolutely different plane. It is fascinating to see how a reader’s mind can follow an author’s visualizations.
Tom Simmons powerful and uniquely creative vision is complemented by his excellent use of literary patterns. He has given me my new favored phrase-
“… ear-piercing silence”
Just those two words and you can feel the anxiety pulsing in the situation.
‘The Jracon’s Burden’ adopts an angle of magical realism by combining supernatural elements with biological understanding of nature and living organisms which, I understand, might not sound interesting to many. Especially to those who’d rather not have anything to do with biology.
I have known people who are put off by the mere mention of the words ‘xylem’ and ‘phloem’. But do not let that deter you from reading this incredible example of story telling.
I was a biology student in High School and actually enjoyed studying it so the few (really few) biological terms made ‘The Jracon’s Burden’ more enthralling to me.
In all honesty, I never imagined that a story of magic wielding insects would make a fan of me
But here we are.
And then the book ends
At the most intensely charged moment possible and I had to read the words that every book nerd dreads
TO BE CONTINUED
I need to know what happens next!!
When it comes to books… I’m not…….quite good at waiting.
About the Artwork- Just a few pages into ‘The Jracon’s Burden’ and I couldn’t resist the temptation to draw Dax, as I saw him. So here is Darter Dax, supposed to be working on his scribe duties in the light of that tiny glowworm. But as you can see, he is once again lost in his day dreams, letting ink carelessly drip onto his work. Typical. Pssst…Dax. Hey Dax! EARTH TO DAX!! I think I am falling for a dragonfly…… Should I be worried?
Publication Date: June 1st, 2018
Ready to visit the magical Odonata and travel with Dax? Click on the purchase links
*I cannot thank Tom Simmons enough for providing me with a copy of the Jracon’s Burden. It was an absolute pleasure reading and reviewing it. And of course a big thank you to AuthorsXP for helping me connect with the author.
**This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info
***All of the quotes referred to above have been taken from ‘The Jracon’s Burden‘ by Tom Simmons