Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: The Dragon's Fury

The Dragon's Fury
by D.C. Mickelson

Reviewing another's art can be a tricky thing. The sensibilities of artists and audience members are different. Sometimes a book and a reader simply fail to connect; to no fault of either party, the chemistry is not there. This is a stark reality for me, given that beta readers recently finished engaging my 2nd novel. Writing works for some people but not others, and that's okay.

The trouble comes when those people become your sounding board for revisions or your reviewers after the fact.

I bring this up because I volunteered to review The Dragon's Fury (Relics of Power Trilogy) , and I did not connect with it as I had hoped or wanted. I found the heroes unlikable, their quest uneven, and the ultimate outcome less than satisfying.

But I don't think that's the entirely author's fault. On the contrary, I think that D.C. Mickelson has written a fine book for a first novel in The Dragon's Fury (Relics of Power Trilogy), and he has considered the above referenced aspects of his book far more than I have. He has developed characters about whom he cares; he has crafted a story in which he has takes pleasure, and ultimately, he made the choices he felt appropriate and right for his story (and perhaps they are).

Regardless of my personal misgivings he does all these things relatively well. I say "relatively" because I think there is room for improvement, which will likely come to fruition in later installments. In this initial installment, the characters survive the outing unchanged. The beats were slightly uneven though they also felt plotted--I knew they were coming but at the different points than I would have liked. The world is very detailed but at times politically confusing. However, many of the elements Mickelson employs--whether they be magical or situational--are well designed. He includes tropes of the genre in new exciting ways (his use of minotaurs being particularly good), and he does structural things that good writers do--setting up something that seems innocuous or forgotten in the first 100 pages yet ensuring they are paid in full by the last 100.

For this reason I think the book is well composed even if I do not like it, and I don't simply say that because I'm a nice guy. As an author I felt that the book was put together with confidence and skill, so much so that it requires me to applaud its well-written moments despite my misgivings in others. The Dragon's Fury is a serviceable fantasy work, but I don't think I'll be going to seek the books that follow it--not because I don't think they'll be well-written, but this quest is not for me. And that's okay.

Fantasy fan? You may find the book worth your time and energy, and if you do, you can return here and convince me of what I missed.

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