9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2004
Margaret Weis is known for her work with dragons, so it's no surprise that her latest trilogy is yet another one about them. This time, though, she's created her own world and designed her own little dragon society. The first book, Mistress of Dragons, was an excellent beginning, showing us just enough of the world to intrigue us and populating it with some interesting characters to go along with it. Granted, the world wasn't explored very thoroughly, but there was just enough there to make us wonder. However, Dragon's Son continues the few shortfalls that the first book had and gives us a few more, hamstringing the characters and giving us other characters who we don't care about at all. It's a major step down, but it still looks recoverable for the third book.
There are so many things wrong with this book that I'll start with the good stuff to get it out of the way. Once again Draconas is the most interesting character in the book. While he does care about humans, and humanity in general, he's not above using people to further his own ends when the circumstances seem to demand it. He doesn't like it, but he knows it has to be done. He's harsh with the boys when he needs to be, but the sequence where he brings Marcus out of the shell in which he has encased himself demonstrates that he really does care.
That's really about it. Unfortunately, for the second book in the trilogy, Weis has given us a rather dull book with characters that are difficult to care about. Some of the characters from the first book aren't used that much at all (criminally, Draconas really doesn't factor into the book that much, and Edward doesn't have a lot to do either) while others almost undergo lobotomies. Bellona is almost nothing like the warrior she was in the first book. While her grief over Melisande and the resentment she feels about having been charged to take care of Ven is understandable, she doesn't show any signs of the woman she once was. Later, we're told that, deep down, she really did love and care for Ven, but we're never shown it, not even when the story is being told from her point of view.
Instead, we're given three new characters: Ven, Marcus, and a daughter of a thief, Evelina. Ven and Evelina are thoroughly unlikable and Marcus is just dull. Ven has lived his entire life alone with Bellona, only interacting with people during the annual town fair, and even then he stops going from the age of six to the age of sixteen. Thus, he is naïve in a lot of ways, and Evelina takes advantage of that. I saw what was coming between them, and I just didn't care. In fact, I almost thought "good riddance." I don't know if we were supposed to feel sorry for him or not, but I certainly didn't. Evelina is completely amoral, looking out for herself at all times. Yet she inexplicably falls in love almost instantaneously with somebody right at the end of the book. I don't know what Weis will do with this in the third book, but the startling nature of this threw me completely out of this one.
Also, I again didn't really feel like a part of this world that Weis had created. We get some details on a couple of different fairs that Bellona and Ven go to, and we see the underbelly of another city. We also see a hidden city but don't really get too much of a view of it. It just feels like the world is a place for these events to happen, and that's about it. The religion seems based on Christianity (with God, saints, abbeys, monks and nuns), but we certainly don't get an impression of how this religion affects people's lives. It's a shame, really, as I know Weis is a capable world-builder.
The book ends with a wonderful twist that really does have me looking forward to the third book, but part of that is because it seems that Draconas will be featured a lot more in it than he was in Dragon's Son. This twist completely turned around my understanding of what was going on, and I loved it. The book is a very quick read, which helped me get through it despite the dull spots. It also helped that I had a break in the middle where I discovered that the first copy of the book I had was missing a bunch of pages, and it took me a couple of weeks to track down another copy.
All in all, it's worth reading once to continue the story. I know Weis is capable of better than this, and I have high hopes for the third book in the series. It would be almost impossible for her to drop the ball as badly as she did this time.