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Literature / Song in the Silence

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A Fantasy Literature trilogy about love, duty, history, culture, linguistics... and dragons. Lots and lots of dragons. Occasionally known as The Tale of Lanen Kaelar, the original novel (Song in the Silence) was penned in 1997 by Elizabeth Kerner. However, it became a trilogy in 2001, with the addition of a sequel, The Lesser Kindred, which lead straight into 2004's Redeeming the Lost. The series is notable for the fact that, while it is always told in First-Person Perspective, the actual narrator differs from scene to scene, giving different perspectives and viewpoints on what happened. The story begins with an old and storied heroine, writing down her memoirs of her youth, and the perspective flips represent her asking her friends and loved ones for their input on what actually happened.

Lanen Kaelar's father has just died, leaving her in possession of a large horse ranch. She could stay to take over the farm and marry a local boy, but ever since she was a little girl, Lanen has dreamed of adventure. More than anything else, she wants to meet True Dragons—not the small, winged reptiles that haunt the local woods, but the actual, fire-breathing, building-sized, sapient creatures spoken of in legend and song. There is a far-off island in the middle of the sea where dragons are still said to reside, but the waters around it are treacherous and most who have sailed towards it have never returned. But there is hope: On that island grow mystical trees known as lansip trees, whose leaves can make a regenerative tea and whose rare fruits can cure anything short of death itself. And Lanen chances upon an enterprising merchant who's setting an expedition to that island...

At first, things go well for Lanen. She makes it to the island, she harvests several bagfuls of the valuable lansip leaves, and, one night, when she sneaks out of camp, she has a rendezvous with an immense silver dragon named Akhor. The two quickly hit it off and forge an unlikely friendship. But not all is well. For the merchant who organized the expedition? He's trafficking with demons, and he has a history with Lanen—and his demonic friends want her soul. As for Akhor, her draconic ally? He's actually the king of his people, and many of them have a long-standing grudge against humanity. Despite everything that happens, Lanen and Akhor quickly find themselves falling in love. But will Lanen escape the demonic clutches of the ones persuing her? And with Akhor be able to persuade his people that Humans Are Special?

The two sequels concern Lanen's quest to free the Lesser Kindred—the small and mindless winged reptiles off-handedly mentioned in the first book. As Lanen learns from Akhor, these were once true dragons, just like him—but a powerful human demon summoner attacked them, reducing them to their current state. She believes that she and her beloved, working together, have the power to restore them—she's even had prophetic dreams that she believes to be from her goddess that tell her as much. But the demonic forces pursuing her haven't let up. And a great cataclysm is looming in the world—one that threatens the existence of the entire dragon race. With allies both old and new in tow, Lanen must save the Lesser Kindred, the lives of those closest to her, and even the world.

This series contains examples of:

  • Always Chaotic Evil/Always Lawful Good: Demons and Kantri, respectively. This is explained in the world's Creation Myth: When the intelligent races of the world came into being, the gods gave each race a choice between good or evil. Demons chose to be Always Chaotic Evil, and to balance them out, Kantri chose Always Lawful Good. Humans chose the ability to choose.
  • Dragon Hoard: Humans naturally believe that dragons keep these, and with every expedition that arrives on the island, at least one person tries to sneak off to steal dragon treasure. In reality, the Kantri's hoard of gems are from the bodies of their deceased, and as for the gold? Kantri naturally turn the ground where they sleep into gold.
  • Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: Lansip. The leaves alone slow aging and are a general cure for aches and pains, the fruits are nothing short of a panacea. However, it's never successfully been cultivated on the mainland, despite many attempts. It's because it needs dragon dung to grow.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Lanen and Akhor "marry" one another, by dragon standards, less than a week after meeting. However, they don't get married by human standards until several months later.
  • Framing Device: The books are told from the point of view of an old Lanen, who has since become a legendary heroine, recounting her memoirs so as to set the record straight on what really happened. The point-of-view switches represent her friends and allies filling in the gaps for events she wasn't present for.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: Akhor and his people do not like to be called "dragons" as this is a human term, instead preferring their name for their people, Kantri. Lanen retorts that, by the same logic, he should call her a "human" instead of a "Gedri." They both agree to use the proper terms for one another.
  • Interspecies Romance: Lanen and Akhor. But not for long. Their gods give them two options: Lanen can become one of the Kantri, she and Akhor can live long and happy lives together, but they will die without ever reviving the Lesser Kindred. Or Akhor can become a human, and while their lives will be short, the Lesser Kindred will be saved. The latter is what happens, and Akhor becomes a human named Varien.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Dragons can live upwards of 2000 years. Akhor knows this, but he still chooses to be with Lanen. Tragically turned around when Akhor gets injured and begins to die, leaving him to remark that he should have mourned her all his life, instead of the other way around. He gets better.
  • Mission from God: Lanen's Goddess and Akhor's Winds seem to take a rather active interest in their lives.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Their name for themselves is "Kantri," they have Power Crystals on their foreheads that contain a part of their soul, they're telepaths, and they give live birth, among many other things.
  • Panacea: Lansip fruit will heal anything short of actual death. One saves Lanen's life after she helps deliver a dragon baby.
  • Parental Substitute: Lanen was never close to her father, so she instead made good friends with one of his farmhands, Jamie. He served as her father figure most of her life. As it turns out, he was friends with her mother—and may in fact be her biological father. Sadly, he isn't—Marik is. But Lanen decides that for all intents and purposes, she accepts Jamie as her true father.
  • Power Crystal: All Kantri have one on their foreheads, known as a soulgem. It's the only thing that remains of their bodies after death, and certain among them can use those gems to conduct a seance with the deceased. The Lesser Kindred became what they are because a human demon-summoner forcibly ripped their soulgems from them, leaving their consciousness trapped within.
  • The Power of Love: Transforms Akhor into the human Varien.
  • Surprise Incest: Lanen briefly falls for Marik, before realizing later that he is her biological father. Given this and Marik's attitude, she is about as disgusted as you might expect.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: In addition to being written some time after the original book, the second book has a Cliffhanger ending while the original has more closure. In addition, both the second and third books follow a single story, while the first book has more closure.
  • Uncoffee: The stimulant of choice here is called chelan. It apparently tastes like "mate, but with a hint of cinnamon," according to an author's note in the back of the first book.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Kantri turn the ground where they sleep into gold, so it's commonplace to them. Akhor is shocked—but sadly understands—when he learns that this material is part of the reason humans have been hunting his kind.