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Deltora Quest is a franchise and fantasy book series written by Emily Rodda comprised of three individual series: Deltora Quest, Deltora Quest 2 and Deltora Quest 3. They feature around the events of Lief, Jasmine and Barda and their struggles to banish the Shadow Lord once, and forever.
Emily Rodda conceived of the Deltora Quest series as a classical quest featuring a continuing storyline told over several books. She purposely modelled the structure of the series on the structure of a video game, after noting how engaged her own children were with video games. The success of Rodda's previous fantasy series, Rowan of Rin, helped Deltora Quest get published as both series take place in completely fantastic worlds: Rowan of Rin was unusual because most children's fantasy series published at that time followed the Alice in Wonderland model where contemporary children found their way into a magical world. Rodda worked on the manuscript for some time before taking it to her publisher. She spent time developing the world of Deltora before working on the story in great detail—Rodda believes that fantasy authors must make their fictional worlds seem completely real.
Deltora Quest follows the adventure novel format, and features genre staples such as sword fights and monsters. The continuing story of each series is broken down into stages through the use of plot coupons. Plot twists, red herrings and foreshadowing are also utilised, especially in regards to the back stories of the central characters. It also draws heavily on the conventions of the fantasy genre: it features magical amulets, a disembodied evil Dark Lord and a teenage boy hero. Each book includes some maps, diagrams or illustrations.
The Deltora Quest series is well known for its array of fictional animals.
The series is marketed for younger readers aged 8 to 14, although it has been recommended by fans for readers of all ages. Books in the first series all number about 120 pages in the Australian versions. In the second, they are around 141–155 pages each. Books in the third series are the longest, with each ranging from around 180 to 205 pages. In some countries the series are available in boxed sets and all-in-one volumes.
Reception and awards
The series has been praised for its use of riddles and codes, fast pace and epic setting. It has also been commended for its allegorical levels that address contemporary issues.
Because the series was published at around the same time as the Harry Potter series and because it shares some similarities in genre, it is often cited as a good series for children to read in between Harry Potter installments. Emily Rodda states that she thinks the success of the Harry Potter series helped the international sales of the Deltora series, although she states it did not affect her writing as she has been writing children's fantasy for more than 20 years before Harry Potter.
Since being published the series has won numerous awards including the 2003 YABBA award (VIC children's choice), the 2002 KOALA award (NSW children's choice), the 2002 Aurealis Awards: Peter McNamara Convenors' Award and the 2002 WA Young Reader's Book Awards: Most Popular Book. The series as a whole was voted the 30th best book in a 2004 Australian nationwide poll that included books of all genres.
The books are centred around the magical land of Deltora, particularly the major cities: Del, Raladin, Hira, Rithmere, Dread Mountain, Tora, and Jaliad. Deltora is roughly pentagonal in shape and is bordered by the Silver Sea to the west, and mountains to the north. Beyond these mountains lie the Shadowlands, a barren, desolate plain ruled by the Shadow Lord.
The first series of Deltora Quest follows the journeys of Lief, who has set out to complete his father's quest to save Deltora. Joining Lief is an ex-palace guard Barda. Along the way they meet with Jasmine: a wild child of the Forests of Silence, who has black hair and green eyes. She can speak to trees and has two pets — a raven named Kree and a small, grey, furry creature (a Siskis) called Filli. Their quest is to find the seven gems of the fabled Belt of Deltora: topaz, ruby, opal, lapis lazuli, emerald, amethyst, and diamond. Each gem is hidden in a dangerous location around Deltora and the three friends must face all sorts of perils to reach them. Once the Belt is complete the evil tyranny of the Shadow Lord will end and Deltora's one sole heir will take his/her rightful place on the throne. The books are The Forests of Silence, The Lake of Tears, City of the Rats, The Shifting Sands, Dread Mountain, The Maze of the Beast, The Valley of the Lost, and Return to Del.
Deltora Quest 2 / Deltora Shadowlands
In Deltora Quest 2, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine set out on a quest below the land of Deltora, and travel through strange societies underground. They were formed by the three tribes of the former inhabitants of the Shadowlands, which was, long ago, a beautiful land, with the Shadow Lord repelled by the magic of the Pirran Pipe. The three adventurers convince each tribe to lend them their pieces of the Pipe, before Lief, Barda and Jasmine travel into the Shadowlands itself in order to use the Pipe to hold off the Shadow Lord and his power long enough for the thousands of Deltoran slaves to escape. The books are Cavern of The Fear, The Isle of Illusion, and The Shadowlands.
Deltora Quest 3 / Dragons of Deltora
In Deltora Quest 3, the three companions once again must save Deltora, this time from the Four Sisters, evil creations of the Shadow Lord. These four sisters sing their songs of death across Deltora poisoning the land and causing Deltora's food supply to become limited. With only a part of a torn map, left by Doran the Dragonlover, they set out to find these sisters and destroy them. Each sister must be destroyed with the aid of a dragon. When each sister and the sister's Guardian are destroyed another fragment of the map is found and they discover that the sisters are hidden in the four most eastern, northern, western and southern corners of Deltora. The Sister of the East is hidden in Dragon's Nest. The Sister of the North is hidden at Shadowgate and the Sister of the West is on the Isle of the Dead. The final sister, of the South is hidden in the city of Del, which happens to be the hometown of Lief. The books are named after the sister's locations: Dragon's Nest, Shadowgate, Isle of the Dead, and The Sister of the South.
At the start of the series, Lief is the son of a blacksmith who lives in the run down city of Del. He is (as Barda describes him) 'a young hot-head' and spends his time roaming the streets and both tempting and dodging trouble. On his 16th birthday he leaves Del on his father's quest to find the magical gems missing from the belt of Deltora and the heir destined to wear it. Lief is tempted in many ways and by the end of the first series we see that he has grown not only in bravery and strength, but also in wisdom and patience. Lief is very courageous and extremely trustworthy. Only a few times does he considered giving up the quest but the thought of his friends or allies suffering always helps him to continue. The second series sees the characters questioning their trust of one another as they plot to save the slaves in the shadow lands. In the third series, Lief must take the belt around Deltora to awaken the ancient Dragons which must then help him destroy the sisters of the North South East and West. If one were to pay very close attention, he or she will be able to spot in the eighth book that Lief's hair is, in fact, dark. Lief is also mentioned to be at least 18 years old in the book Isle of the Dead.
At the start of the series Jasmine is a wild orphan girl who lives a solitary life in the dangerous Forests of Silence. She has messy coal black hair which frames her elfin like face and emerald green eyes. She is often described as impatient and lonely but with a good heart. Her only friends in the Forests are the raven named Kree and a small furry animal called Filli. Jasmine understands the language of trees and many other animals. She is independent, like Lief, though she displays far less tact. She is also unafraid of standing up for what she believes in, if she feels something is injust or incorrect she explains her view without any fear of repremadation. She believes in equal rights and fairness, her only problem is that she cannot understand people who will not fight for themselves. Growing up all alone, Jasmine knows how to fend for herself. She usually gets her own way. Jasmine is unable to comprehend how easily many people can be tricked by fancy words and promises. In the series she finds her long lost father and they are once again reunited. She is about the same age as Lief (16). Also during the series, Jasmine competes in a contest in which she describes her special skill as agility. She shows romantic interest in Lief, even though they do not always see eye to eye. In the second series Jasmine and Lief's romance hits a new level. There seems to be quite a love triangle. Their bond continues to grow in each series, until they are eventually married..
At the start of the series Barda appears to be a poor beggar living on the streets of Del. He is revealed to be an ex-palace guard who assumes the role of protector to Lief, much to both his and Lief's dismay. He is a skilled swordsman and frequently makes jokes about being stuck with two young hot-heads- Lief and Jasmine. He is about the same age as Lief's parents. During the series, Barda competes in a contest in which he describes his special skill as strength. He helps Lief and Jasmine along the quest and is always strong-hearted, never gives up hope and is rather a gentle giant. At the end of the third series Barda finds love happiness. He marries Lindal of Broome and has six children all taller than their parents and like peas in a pod.
A recurring political theme expressed in the series is that a leader who does not understand ordinary people is doomed to failure. Another political theme focuses on the disastrous results of leaders who ignore history. The final books explores the insidious nature of despair. The 1st and 2nd series explores the theme of "united we stand, divided we fall". The theme of gambling, and how it equates to trickery also revisits the story occasionally.
Rodda has said there has been some interest in adapting the Deltora Quest series into a film but she refused to let any adaptation change the story. There is also a Nintendo DS real-time RPG game confirmed with all three characters. A 65 part Deltora Quest anime series of the first eight books began its broadcast season in Japan on January 6, 2007. Rodda chose this option because she and her kids "love" Japanese anime and because she wanted any adaptation of Deltora to be "cool". The series is produced at Oriental Light and Magic and is directed by Mitsuru Hongō. The studio keeps the quest magic jewels intact in the story, but one noticeable alteration has been made: Lief's hair colour has been changed from black to blonde. Others include the Resurrection of Thaegan along with at least one new villain, Oacus, the fire wizard. Rodda has not ruled out a live action version of the story (either film or television) being made at some point in the future, but she intends to wait until she gets an offer that "is genuinely admiring of the books as they are." There is currently a manga adaptation by Makoto Niwano, serialised in Bom Bom Comics and published by Kodansha.
Deltora Quest books
- The Forests of Silence
- The Lake of Tears
- City of the Rats
- The Shifting Sands
- Dread Mountain
- The Maze of the Beast
- The Valley of the Lost
- Return to Del
Deltora Quest 2 / Deltora Shadowlands books
Deltora Quest 3 / Dragons of Deltora books
- Tales of Deltora - A book that contains tales that forms up the story behind the land of Deltora.
- Secrets of Deltora - Journal and travel guide of Doran the Dragonlover, the greatest adventurer and discover of Deltora of all time.
- The Deltora Book of Monsters - A book that describes all the creatures and monsters from the land of Deltora.
- How to Draw Deltora Monsters - A book that describes instructions on how to draw a few couple of the monsters and creatures from the land of Deltora.
- How to Draw Deltora Dragons - Another book that describes instructions on how to draw dragons and other creatures from the land of Deltora.
- The Authorised Ultimate Deltora Quiz Book - A quiz book that has more than 1000 questions inside itself about all the series of Deltora Quest. Full name: The Authorized Ultimate Deltora Quiz Book.