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Dragonstar [Mass Market Paperback]

Barbara Hambly
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 4.81 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

July 2003
The novels of New York Times bestselling author Barbara Hambly have broken new ground in the realm of fantasy. With a sweeping cast of characters whose powers are both awesome and heartachingly limited, the Dragon series is built around the touching relationship between a husband and wife separated by a flood of violence and chaos.

Condemned to die for consorting with demons, dragonslayer Lord John Aversin sits in a dank prison cell and calculates the odds of escape, while smelling the smoke of the executioners’ pyres. In Winterlands, Jenny Waynest pays a heavy price for choosing to be human, mourning the loss of her husband, Lord John, and the dangers that engulf her family. But in a season of the Dragon Star, strange miracles are about to transpire.

As a pitched battle between the Hellspawn and the human rages, Jenny and John will be reunited in a city under siege. And there, they will have one last chance to understand all that has happened to them and why, who their true enemies and true allies are, and most of all, for what magical purpose each has been chosen.

A vast adventure and a powerful mystery teeming with demons and witches, gnomes and dragons, Dragonstar explores profound issues of faith, fate, and technology–while obscuring long held boundaries between good and evil, love and hate, what is human and what is fantastic. With this glorious finale to a breathtaking series, Barbara Hambly establishes herself as one of the most visionary and inventive storytellers in the field of fantasy fiction today.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books; Reprint edition (July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345441710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345441713
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 10.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 631,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara Hambly's first Star Wars novel was the New York Times bestselling Children of the Jedi. Her other novels range from high fantasies to historical mysteries to vampire tales. She holds both a master's degree in medieval history and a black belt in Shotokan karate. A multiple Nebula Award nominee, she has also been president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She lives in Los Angeles.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The Demon Queen came in the dark hours before dawn; she shined in the blackness with the moony radiance of rotting wood. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Barbara Hambly writes a great conclusion to her saga of John Aversin the Dragonslayer and Jenny Wayrest the witch, a plot of double-dealing demons and dragons that is sure to cheer those left on tenterhooks by Knight of the Demon Queen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A sequel too far 14 Feb 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved Dragonsbane and thought that it held up well as a stand-alone fantasy novel - it was intelligent and interesting writing. Then Barbara Hambly started writing sequels to it, this book is the fourth in the series and (hopefully) the last.

I struggled to the end of it only because, contained within an almost impenetrable plot and seemingly endless description, there are glimpses of the great writing which this author can produce. There were not enough of them, unfortunately, to raise this book above mediocre. Some of the best characters had only walk on scenes or had changed significantly from their prime - Mab, Ian, Polycarp and Gareth, for example were mere shadows of themselves. There seemed to be endless scenes of waiting around for something to happen and I got lost completely in the Demon Queen's machinations and the stuff about the bottles. There was too much dwelling on what had happened in previous books (we KNOW that Jenny regrets her behaviour when she has been possessed after the first couple of times that she tells us but she keeps on keeping on about it) and not enough action to move the story forward.

The good bits are Jenny and John coming back together and the development of Morkleb as a Dragonshadow, but it is not enough to save this book. I can't ever see me rereading this story although I have read and enjoyed "Dragonsbane" many times over. Sadly, the sequels don't work and they should be quietly forgotten.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Used book. 28 Oct 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
All there but rather used and several pages loose. It has a fair bit of age to it but is the book I ordered and wanted. arrived promptly.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh, what a relief 19 Nov 2002
By Merryl Gross - Published on Amazon.com
I love Hambly's works. I love Dragonsbane, the first book in this series. However, this last trilogy is a gruelling read, and the ending of Knight of the Demon Queen is just brutal.
As this book begins, our characters are quicky rescued from the horrible situations they were in at the end of the previous book. They go on to make all things right, to my great relief.
But should you buy/read this book? I think that depends on what you want from it.
This series (Dragonshadow, Knight of the Demon Queen, and Dragonstar) is not like most of Hambly's other work. If you're looking for a book to transport you to another world and relieve you of the cares of your day, this isn't it.
If you're looking for a story that probes what happens when people are stressed to the breaking point, or how families can find their way back to each other afterwards, this is something you want to read. Fantasy is often described as escapist literature... but whoever does so hasn't read THIS. There's no escape here. There's going through all the hard parts.
You can tell from the mixed reviews here that this isn't for everyone. If you're going to read these, I recommend that you have Dragonstar on hand before finishing Knight of the Demon Queen. These are heavy books. They may save your sanity, or bore you silly. Take a chance on them.
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Comet comet, burning bright 2 Sep 2002
By David Roy - Published on Amazon.com
Dragonstar, by Barbara Hambly, is the conclusion to a series that never should have been. This series is a sequel to Dragonsbane, one of the best books I have ever read. It stood completely on its own and was wrapped up perfectly. Instead of leaving it, years later she started this series. Dragonstar, while much better than the first two books, still limps along unnecessarily, never earning the right to have been created in the first place.

I have read that Barbara Hambly was going through a very tough personal time when she wrote the first two books in this series (Dragonshadow and Knight of the Demon Queen). You could tell this because they were very depressing books. Characters that I had grown to love in Dragonsbane were being put through a wringer that seemed more than just the normal "putting characters through conflicts to see how they come out." Massive doses of mistrust were placed between John and Jenny, wrenching their relationship apart. Meanwhile, the story that she was trying to tell wasn't very interesting and seemed almost cliched at times. There really isn't a new spin placed on the "demons trying to take over the world" concept.

Dragonstar almost seems to have been written as an apology to fans for the gloom of the first two books. Jenny and John are rescued quite quickly in the book, both immediately thinking about what they should have said to each other the last time they saw each other. Both characters apologized to each other profusely in their minds, and then did so again when they finally met. Once they are together, there are numerous references to the pain they have caused each other, and how now that they're together, they will make things back to normal between them. When you take this book by itself, there is nothing wrong with all of that. It's the earlier behaviour that's a bit out of character for them. However, when you read the whole series, the change is extremely jarring.

The only other semi-interesting character is Morkeleb. He's a dragonshadow now, a dragon who has renounced magic. The relationship between him and Jenny, the love that they share (though Morkeleb knows that it can never replace her love for John) is very sweet. Morkeleb has a very un-dragonlike sense of humour as well. In this book, he leads the other dragons in an attempt to help Jenny and John defeat the demons. He does this for Jenny, but you get a sense that he does this for the good of the world as well, which is something a dragon would never do. It's interesting to see the culmination of his transformation from dragon to what lies beyond.

However, the same can't be said of any of the other characters. Especially sad is Gareth, the regent and the man who came to John & Jenny so many years ago (in Dragonsbane) for help in defeating a dragon. In this series, and especially this book, he's a shadow of his former self. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that his "dead" wife has come back to life inhabited by a demon, but even that doesn't excuse how uninteresting he has become. Events happen to him, but nothing seems to really affect him that much. Then, there are the three demon characters; Folcalor, Amayon, and the Demon Queen herself. None of them move much past the moustache-twisting villain. They're evil for evil's sake (not surprising, for demons, but that doesn't make them intriguing enough to read about). When your protagonists have nobody interesting to interact with, it makes for really laboured reading.

The final problem with this book, and this may surprise people who have read my reviews of Hambly's Benjamin January series, is the extremely slow pace of the novel, mainly caused by her excessive description. Usually, I love that trait in Hambly's writing. However, I think what she's writing about has to be of interest in order to make it bearable. In this case, it isn't, and thus the pace grinds to a halt as she's describing things. The action scenes plod because of this, and the lengthy scenes where the plot is "developed" are almost unbearable. The only thing that kept me reading was my loyalty to Hambly (probably my favourite author) and my loyalty to these characters.

The plot is resolved, but an opening is left for a subsequent series of books. I sincerely hope that, if Hambly does decide to give in to the temptation, she really thinks about it first. This series almost destroyed my love for the original. I don't think it could take much more of a beating.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dragonstar 5 Jun 2002
By K. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Perhaps my disappointment with this book relates to how much I loved its prequels. Compared to the harrowing, boundary-shattering qualities of Dragonshadow and Knight of the Demon Queen, this is weak stuff. It's very much not a stand-alone novel, and the themes and character developments are simply recap of what we've seen before. It's the end of the series, and so it's all about wrapping up plot threads, but some of the resolutions are disappointing--in particular that with Aohila. Other plot elements seem forced and, though of cosmic scale, lacking in emotional impact. Things just sort of...resolve. Tension is lacking.
As a side point, the copy editing is incompetent, with a misspelling appearing in the very first sentence.
It's not all bad, though. If you take this book as a second half of Knight, an anodyne, it works better. Hambly continues to write about engaging characters, to use gorgeous language, and to ground her settings strongly in material culture.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exciting epic fantasy 3 July 2002
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Dragonslayer Lord John Aversin waits death for the hideous crime of trafficking with demons though his cause was noble and honorable. Still, his fate may seem helpless, but John tries to figure out a way to escape his incarceration before the executioner completes the task of killing him. Perhaps at one time his beloved Jenny Waynest could have saved him through her magic, but she lost that when he chose humanity, specifically her husband, in a previous battle.

The Demon Queen Aohila visits John in his cell informing the condemned man that his spouse Jenny is dying from the poisoned arrows of the gnomes. The dragon comes next and takes John away from certain death even as war between the armies of hell and humanity explodes. Will John find and save his Jenny and if so will they finally comprehend friend from foe in a realm in which magic makes it impossible to delineate who will amiably dine with you while plotting to kill you?

Though a fine recap opens the exciting epic fantasy DRAGONSTAR, to fully savor the tale the audience needs to read previous novels in the series (see DRAGONSBANE, DRAGONSHADOW and KNIGHT OF THE DEMON QUEEN). The story line continues the adventures of John and Jenny yet retain consistency through these two heroes. The action packed story line provides closure to previous threads while containing the belief that good and evil depends on the relationship between the transmitter and the receiver. Barbara Hambly has another winner that will more than satisfy her fans.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hambly At Her Best! 4 Jun 2002
By Ralph Isovitsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
All of the things that make Barbara Hambly a classic are present in "Dragonstar": intricate characters that you root for, detailed background settings that suck you in, and an actual plot with enough twists and turns to keep you turning pages well into the night.
This book is not the usual fantasy novel with so-so sword play and hum-drum magic.
Read "Dragonstar" and discover what a truly fine author Barbara Hambly is.
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