on 24 October 2012
I wonder if it is possible to have slice-of-life fantasy (or fantasy slice-of-life). Either way, that is essentially what this book is. A man stumbles upon a dragon and then goes on his merry way, eating, drinking, traveling, camping, occasionally talking to people, and learning about the care and upkeep of a dragon. It rolls along this peaceful path for a good 80% of the book (and I read it on a Kindle so it was actually 80%, as opposed to a generic long time expressed as 80%).
The anatomy, social and biological requirements, etc of the dragons was incredibly well thought out and detailed. The reader, along with Delno, learns a lot about dragons, how to be a good person, and even a little basic physics (though it's not termed that of course). I enjoyed that....or I did after I stopped waiting for it to turn into an action adventure along the lines of Eragon and accepted that Delno and Geneva's relatively peaceful daily life was the story. There was a little adventure in the last 20% of the book, but I thought it almost felt tacked on. Delno had an answer to every challenge, everything went according to plan, and with one notable exception he only met trustworthy friends who were more than willing to defer to his authority. There was never any sense that he was even taxed by anything he encountered. He was a little too perfect in every way for that. Oddly, though, since I had by that time decided that his actions were important more as an example of a moral existence than as a series of events I wasn't too bothered by his glittering perfection.
The writing was very descriptive. If you enjoy your fantasy a little more on the philosophical side this is the book for you. If you're looking for a heart stopping grand adventure this one might present a bit of a challenge.
on 18 September 2012
Delno is a decorated veteran of war who is trying to determine his place in society when something happens that changes his life forever. He encounters a wounded female dragon and learns he has been chosen to "bond" with the dragon's unhatched baby.
What follows is a meticulous, well thought out adventure where you, the reader, get to experience the baby dragon's hatching, upbringing, training, and all the struggles the two of them endure as they both cope with learning what being bonded truly means.
I really enjoyed this book. It delves into the relationship between dragon and rider quite extensively. The kingdom that this takes place in has only a limited number of dragon riders, and whereas the riders should be looking out for the wellbeing of the inhabitants, not all have peaceful intentions and start causing strife with other riders. I found myself laughing out loud at the exchanges between Delno and his dragon, Geneva. I sided with Geneva and wanted Delno to try riding her much earlier than he should have.
The world-building was good. The different personalities of the characters were well defined. The best part was and is the relationship between human and dragon. I only had a few critiques. I noticed there were several areas that had excessive use of commas, stretching out some sentences to paragraph length. I was also curious about Delno's magic. New abilities kept popping up and I would have liked to have known how he knew what to do, whether he was instructed, or just had beginner's luck. Either way, it did little to distract from the story.
Being a dragon lover I will typically pick up any book that has dragons featured in it provided they aren't portrayed as evil. Love dragons? Love reading about them? I encourage you to give this one a try! Great job, J.D.!
on 7 June 2012
This was a very enjoyable read, and brings something new to Dragon / fantasy books. Like the Pern books, the dragons have a bond and connection with their riders, and are different colours, and that's where the similarities start and end.
The best praise I can give this book is that, as soon as I finished it, I came looking for more - and I'm disappointed that I'll apparetly have to wait.
It's a good light read, clear writting, but not juvenile. Read it, you'll enjoy it.
on 12 July 2012
This book took me on an adventure filled journey full of magic, intrigue and excitement. Overflowing with likeable and believable characters, Hallowell successfully depicts a traditional fantasy story that I thoroughly devoured in just a few days. Delno, a humble young man finds himself face to face with an old and pregnant female dragon and is immediately thrown into the world of the revered dragon riders, magical individuals blessed with longevity, unrivalled strength and a unique companionship filled with love and respect.
Delno was an extremely likeable character with a strong set of values and a longing to be free of heroism and leadership. He is an easy going, friendly and honest individual; a character that I took pleasure in reading about. Despite his status as a commoner of low birth he is truly a noble and heroic individual who is willing to fulfil his destiny and step into the role as a true born, influential leader who other men will follow loyally. I especially admired that he took no pride in killing and sees it as a necessity in war, but takes no pleasure in the act. I enjoyed the fact that the protagonist was a grown man who had actually experienced life in all its forms; it made a change from reading a fantasy based around a young boy, clueless with no life experience. Delno has witnessed death, suffering, has fought in wars and is an experienced soldier and man, both strong and independent.
Geneva, Delno's female partner, is a sharp nailed, walking, talking (and flying!) dragon with a cocky attitude and a loving nature. Dragons are common creatures in fantasy with numerous depictions of them ranging from monstrous beasts to intelligent sentient beings; the latter being the depiction of Geneva in Dragon Fate. She is a sharp, witty creature and I enjoyed her character immensely especially when she made sarcastic comments to Delno. Despite being fun and light hearted, she is also a dangerous creature, capable of aggression and destruction who can hold her ground against seemingly greater opponents. I found it especially amusing that due to the close mental/spiritual connection between Delno and Geneva, and the inevitability of being privy to every emotion, she feels jealous over Delno's possible interest in a female individual. By showing us readers Geneva's jealousy, Hallowell successfully depicts Geneva as a conscious creature, able to feel human emotions. I enjoyed seeing the close relationship between Geneva and Delno evolve throughout the story and look forward to seeing that bond solidify in future tales.
The other characters just added a whole other dimension to the story and they each served an important purpose in moving the plot forward. I won't divulge too much information about the other characters but throughout the story we are introduced too Nat, an extremely likeable character, an informative individual who isn't all that he seems to be; Brock, an almost father like character, both loyal and firm; and Rita, feisty and independent, small in stature but aggressive with a sword. Hallowell did an excellent job of depicting a believable baddie and I found myself greatly disliking him from the beginning. He is depicted as being a twisted, bitter and sour man, discontented with life in general. Blinded by pride, he views others as lesser beings and wishes to rule them with an iron fist. He is tyrannical, arrogant, selfish and argumentative; an excellent portrayal by the author.
I thought the plot of the story was well structured and exciting enough that it kept me reading for hours even when I intended to put the book down. There was a fast paced storyline, with something always happening be it meeting new characters, learning new interesting information or getting caught up in a skirmish. I felt that the plot wasn't lacking in anyway despite maybe the fact that there wasn't enough action. There was a few instances in the novel where there was a small number of fighting scenes, mainly training practice and there was a skirmish or two towards the end but they all felt that they were resolved too quickly. I also felt that there wasn't any real danger except in one fight in particular between two individuals who are supposedly meant to be "colleagues" of a sort. In that one fight I felt that there was a real threat as it was just so intense and the suspense was just evident in the whole scene from the use of language to the characters' frantic movements. This scene in particular was quite a shocker and definitely served as the catalyst for the rest of the story. In my opinion I felt like this book, Dragon Fate was a starter novel, a tasty little starter that is building up towards hopefully an even tastier series filled with more danger, intrigue, deceit and excitement. It helped establish the characters, the setting and the storyline and all in all I enjoyed my journey with Delno, Geneva and co immensely.
In my opinion the most interesting part of the story was the mammoth amount of information divulged throughout. The narrative is so rich with the most fascinatingly imaginative facts regarding dragons. There is a detailed analysis of a dragon's anatomy, a discussion regarding the dragon as possibly being a "six limbed" creature and I especially enjoyed the explanation of how a dragon breathes fire (down to a chemical reaction!). Plus there was the ingenious added bonus of the Dream State which I thought was a creative and original idea.
I couldn't help but notice that there was a similarity between Dragon Fate and Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, Eragon in particular. Right from the beginning it was evident that some parts of the story was very similar to that of Eragon such as the dragon riders, dragon bond and the dragon mark but as the story progressed I thought less and less about the similarities and concentrated on the story as whole and found elements of it both imaginative and original. It is inevitable that fantasy authors will take inspiration from other tales and I believe that this is true about a lot of fantasy fiction. Despite my belief that the storylines are similar in parts, I thoroughly enjoyed Dragon Fate and thought it was an excellent example of a traditional fantasy story with a solid plot and a wealth of intriguing characters.
I would highly recommend this book to younger readers of fantasy who wants to read an exciting and adventurous traditional fantasy story and doesn't want to get too bogged down in a complicated story. I also believe that lovers of the fantasy genre would enjoy Dragon Fate for its traditional fantasy setting and believable characters. It's a fun and intriguing quick read, full of excitement and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole story. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series to check up on Delno, Geneva and the rest of the crew and hopefully begin another fun filled adventure.
on 26 December 2012
I enjoyed this book - it was an easy read, but had enough intrigue, information and occasional twists and surprises to keep my attention. The birth and growth of the dragon was instructive and inspired. The initial style takes a very instructional form, which I felt a bit strange to start with, but this soon developed as the story progressed. Because the story-line was fairly light, I felt occasionally that there was a need for further deep or emotional involvement with the characters or the plot, and at times some explanation of early events which appeared suddenly in conversation with the characters. However this was not essential for the story to develop and tension was maintained particularly in the latter part of the book as some of the characters became more emotionally involved, and they all fought in the inevitable final battle.
Well thought out storyline, well written and grammatically correct (American).