Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bound by Dragonsfyre by Julia Phillips Smith (Review & Interview)

Title:  Bound by Dragonsfyre
Author:  Julia Phillips Smith
Series:  Dragonsfyre #1
Published:  June 21st 2012 by Julia Phillips Smith
Page Count:  244
Genre:  Fantasy
Shelf:  Review Copy
Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

No one is safe when the dragon glides low over the Eighth Dominion. Not the high born who plot and spill blood. Not the low born who serve with one eye to the sky and the other glancing back.

Young Scorpius is fetched from the estate nursery, once raised to live among the nobility--claimed finally not by his family, but by a falconer to serve as his apprentice. Scorpius soon learns that a noble hides his monstrous appetites beneath velvet and jewels, while the leathery-winged dragon is honest about his own. His master does his best to shield Scorpius from the world outside their cottage, but the falconer is merely a servant who must obey his own masters.

An attempt on the life of a young lord while on a hunt sends the falconer's apprentice on an abruptly different path, bringing Scorpius into the service of the House of Pruzhnino. Court intrigue sinks its talons into everyone, even Scorpius--especially a former falconer's apprentice once raised to be a lord in his own right.

My Review:

There’s something about a really good fantasy novel that just makes you smile. It’s so surreal yet captivating that you get to escape reality, even if just for a little while. Top that off with the fact that Smith’s story sparks your imagination while engaging your emotions and you have a novel that will stand alongside the greats throughout history.

Smith writes eloquently yet naturally throughout this novel. This creates a very easy flow to the novel that guides the reader forward without hesitation. She has the ability to make minute changes in her writing style in order to pass a certain image or feeling on to the reader without breaking up the flow of the novel as a whole. Not only that, but the novel itself was phenomenally written. Smith spent the time and effort editing and rereading to present a flawless novel to her audience.

The characters in this novel were also brilliant. I can’t remember the last time that I read a novel with this many well developed characters. They were also suitably developed for their purpose and for their station in life. The lines between the classes is clearly drawn in this novel, however you can also see the grey areas. I dearly love the main character in this novel. Not only is he a brilliant individual but he is easy to relate to, even though our situations do differ somewhat (or a whole lot). I was actually sad that I had to leave him at the end of the novel, even knowing that there would be a sequel and that I’d see him again. I do, however, hope that the falconer crops up again in a future novel, even just in passing. I quite enjoyed him, standing up for his beliefs even though it meant walking a very fine line.

This novel was a brilliant introduction to Smith’s series. It lays out the groundwork, historical, metaphorical, and mythological, that are paramount to the storyline while giving the reader the time of their life throughout.

Interview with Julia Phillips Smith:

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?Sure—I’m a lifelong fan of fantasy, sci-fi and horror, as well as historical, so when I began writing I naturally turned to my favorite genres.

Before writing novels, I graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto with a film degree, and my fourth year film had been a dark fantasy set in a world I was still very interested in exploring. So when I began writing serialized fiction on my blog three years ago, I knew the character which had come to me with his story belonged in that world. That serialized story evolved into BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE.

Q ~ When you’re not reading or writing, what do you enjoy doing?I’m a passionate ballet fan, so I attend live ballet performances whenever that’s possible. Otherwise, I catch televised productions on ‘Great Performances’ or Bravo, and watch as much ballet on You Tube as I can. I also own some DVD versions of different productions.

I love filmmaking, photography, working on my blog A Piece of My Mind (, going out to the movies and eating out at wonderful restaurants.

Q ~ What are 3 things that you never leave home without?My painkillers, my asthma puffers, and pens and paper. Stuff to keep me on my feet, stuff to keep me alive, and Old School stuff to write with.

Q ~ If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?My dream trip, now that I’ve been to New York City where I saw American Ballet Theater at Lincoln Center, is to go to Saint Petersburg in Russia to see the Mariinsky Ballet perform at the Mariinsky Theatre. That used to be Leningrad and the Kirov Ballet, if you’ve never heard of the Mariinsky. In reality, that company is almost 300 years old, so its 70-year Kirov version is really a Soviet-era thing.

My dream ripples out to include all the great ballet companies of the world performing in their home theatres. (Did I mention that I was a ballet freak?)

Q ~ While reading, do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcover?I’m Old School, as I said earlier. Paperback for me, even though I’m an ebook author. I don’t even own an ereader. When I read ebooks, I read them while I’m at the computer. I will always love the look of a wall covered entirely by shelves of books.

Q ~ Do you buy a book based on its cover? What goes into the book buying decision for you?There has to be something to attract me, generally a cover, but sometimes I come across someone mentioning a book online, so just the blurb will sell it for me. I always read a little bit of the book first to see if I like the author’s voice. Book trailers can steer me in the direction of a great read.

Q ~ How did you begin writing professionally?My husband was diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder just as I finished up my film degree, so instead of working on low-budget or no-budget films in order to gain screen credits, which is how you move onto professional film sets, I stayed with non-film-industry jobs while my husband focused on staying well. He was able to work part time, so I focused on getting that all-important fulltime job with benefits.

In the meantime, because filmmaking was too expensive for us , I switched gears and learned how to write novels instead of screenplays (an entirely different animal.) I joined my local chapter of Romance Writers of America--Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada ( —and spent the next decade polishing my craft. Although my two books are not romances, I do have some dark historical romances I’m working on.

My very first paid writing gig was actually a script for television. So I have two writing hats and I adore both.

Q ~ Do you have a writing routine? Do you set goals for yourself while writing?Because I work a fulltime day job, I write in the evenings and on weekends. I’m a night owl, anyway, so I’m at my most creative between 8:00 pm and midnight. And when I say midnight, I mean 1:30 am. At this point, I live in a constant state of exhaustion because I get an average of 4.5 hours of sleep during the day job work week. Thank heavens for my bus rides to and from the office, otherwise known as nap time.

I don’t really have word count goals unless I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo in November. When I’m in the middle of a story, I’m generally caught up in it and write with a lot of focus. Okay, obsession.

Q ~ What are your biggest inspirations while writing?My writing desk is in my living room, so to block out everything else and go into my writing cave, I put on my headphones and listen to music. All kinds of music. For example, while writing BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE, I had two Renaissance playlists that set the tone for the world I was writing about—the Eighth Dominion. Yet, sometimes I would write to a Muse playlist, a Led Zeppelin playlist, an Animals playlist or a Garbage playlist.

I also like to immerse myself in films or miniseries that have a similar tone to the story I’m working on, or have similar sets and costumes, like ‘The Borgias’, ‘Snow White and The Huntsman’ and of course ‘Game of Thrones’.

Q ~ What inspired you to write Bound by Dragonsfyre?My writers’ group holds an annual writing retreat which is one of the highlights of my year, and at one of them a few years back, two writing exercises led by Renee Field and Lilly Cain brought my main character of Scorpius to me.

A little while later, I decided to join a serialized fiction group in blogland, posting a new scene every week. I decided to concentrate on Scorpius’ boyhood backstory for the serialized fiction—not only would I get to know Scorpius a lot better as I worked on the adult Scorpius storyline, it would be a great way to take part in the online group and give me a weekly feature for my blog.

By the time the serialized fiction came to a close, I knew I’d managed to write a novel that became Book 1 of my Dragonsfyre series.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite character in the novel?Scorpius, the main character, is definitely near and dear to me. I love the way he bluffs his way out of situations where he’s clearly out of his depth, the way he learns on the run, his sense of deep loyalty to his boyhood master the falconer and then to his second master, a young lord from a noble family embroiled in dangerous power politics. The most endearing thing to me about Scorpius is his emotional pain at being abandoned as a child, and the manner in which he wrestles his own pride when faced with the reality of being a servant in a cruel land.

His relationships with his two masters, Richolf and Lord Thibault, are the heart and soul of this story. Where does a person find family when his own family never claimed him? Does blood ensure a deeper bond than mentorship or a sense of brotherhood?

Q ~ What should we expect next from you? Can we get a sneak peak at Dragonsfyre #2?I’m currently in revisions for the second book of the Dragonsfyre series, which is due for release this summer. This is the storyline featuring the adult Scorpius which I’d started even before I began Scorpius’ boyhood backstory. It really needed a lot of reworking, though, when the world of the Eighth Dominion began to take shape and the political landscape rippled out over the newer characters that are introduced.

In Book 2, the reader will be introduced to this realm through more points of view than Scorpius’, which is the sole POV in BOUND BY DRAGONSFYRE. We’ll meet a military cadet from a family with over a century of service to the Imperial Crown, a cadet whose secret must be kept from the very companions and officers with whom he serves. We’ll also meet a cousin of Scorpius’ second master, a lady whose plans for the dominion are nothing short of revolutionary. How the paths of these three cross and why this realm needs them to be together is the core of the second book.

The fantasy elements will also be explored in more depth than in Book 1. The Eighth Dominion is a land where the ancient practise of magicke has been outlawed for generations, where deadly maneuvering between the noble houses is constantly threatened by dragon sightings that lay waste to the dominions without warning. Yet a person with the right leverage, both at court and with the ability to read dragon signs, could change the way all the dominions, from the Twelfth to the First, live their fear-shadowed lives.

Author Bio
Award-winning filmmaker and author Julia Phillips Smith lives on Canada’s east coast with her husband and her mom, where the rugged sea and misty forests feed her thirst for gothic tales.

A graduate of Ryerson University’s film program, Julia’s previous writing credits include scripts for radio and television, along with Book 1 of her Dark Ages vampire series.

A longtime blogger, she invites you to visit A Piece of My Mind (

And now, for the tour wide giveaway courtesy of Author Julia Phillips Smith
3 winners, 3 different prizes
- An e-copy of Bound by Dragonsfyre.
- A Paperback Copy of Bound by Dragonsfyre
- A $20 Amazon gift Card


  1. Jonel, thank you so much for the wonderful review and for hosting me here today with your interview. You've really made my day!

  2. Good interview. I am often attracted by a book's cover, but I would never buy one based on that criteria. I usually go with recommendations or a book review.

    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  3. great interview! lovely to know more about Julia. :)

  4. Great interview! My favorite genre is fantasy/sci-fi. Although I probably lean ever so slightly toward the fantasy side of that.

  5. From Rebecca favorite genre is YA fantasy/sci-fi