Thursday, 9 April 2015
Book review: Dragon Choir by Benjamin Descovich
Elrin has learned first-hand the dangers of eavesdropping. After hearing his lost father's name in a conversation, he is on the run for his life. His mentor sends him to Hoard Island on a quest to find his father, and he needs the aid of the fabled Dragon Choir. Life and circumstances force him into an anti-slavery rebellion, one which shows his part in a prophecy.
(*I feel the need to remind my readers that these reviews are my personal opinion. Unless I talk about technical errors such as spelling and/or grammar, these are all completely subjective.*)
The blurb for the novel makes it sound intense, complicated, and very interesting. Unfortunately that didn't carry over into the novel as a whole. The writing itself isn't bad, and I couldn't find any glaring editorial issues. But it just didn't do it for me.
Descovich has put quite a bit into this novel, and at times it feels a bit jumbled. But I really liked the different elements he used and although I found them to be jumbled they each had their role within the novel and it all worked well together. The idea of slavery in the novel is really quite intriguing, and it's nice to see some sort of social issue within a fantasy novel as that doesn't typically happen. I got the sense that there was something underlying about the issue, and I hope that's detailed in later novels. We got a hint of it at the end with the mysterious letter, which shows that the plot carries on and evolves in the rest of the series. At least I hope it does.
I would have liked to know more about the prophecy which is introduced, or at least the concept. From my reading, it almost seems as though each person had a personal prophecy (or at least the main characters did) which would make for a very interesting culture. Yes, yes. I know I'm asking for a lot of answers, and I know that they'll be given in time. I'd be content with knowing if Minni having a prophecy is special, or if everyone has one.
Along the same lines, I also would have liked a bit more of an explanation of the world in which the novel is set. We get glimpses here and there, but no real feel to the scenery. Granted, a lot of the novel is set on a boat...ship. What's revealed about the history is interesting, but not quite satisfying although I'm sure more of that will be revealed as the series continued. But I'm an overly curious person. What really interested me was the flawed society Elrin was raised in. He was pretty much set up to fail from a young age, which helped the story along, but made for a frustrating life (from his perspective.)
I found a few comparisons with Game of Thrones (there's a city called Lord's Landing, to compare to Martin's King's Landing although it's not the centre of the kingdom) and Lord of the Rings (races, which isn't too big of a deal as many other fantasy novels use elves and orc. I've never seen hobbits anywhere else, although they're not called hobbits here. But they're described as short, with large hairy feet.) Of course, this is where my mind took me as I've recently been reading the other two epic fantasy novels and it may be different for others. My husband didn't seem to get the comparisons, and he's a bit of a Tolkien fanatic. (He has a copy of The Hobbit in Latin...and can read it...he's so cool.) I've also found a connection with the move In Your Eyes (awesome movie) and a webcomic I read nearly ten years ago. Obviously they had nothing to do with each other, but my mind makes connections when it sees similar words or themes.
Overall, it's an okay book. It had some great elements and the writing was pretty good. The overall concept is interesting, but I probably wouldn't recommend it to many people. Readers of epic fantasy, and even most people with an interest in social/cultural issues within the fantasy genre will be entertained by this novel. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of those people.
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