on 16 April 2012
As an official reviewer from [...], I was given a copy of this book to read/review at my leisure. However, I had the book read in only a couple of sittings.
First and foremost, since I have written a couple of novels about characters teleporting from one place to another, this book struck a few chords with storylines I'm very familiar with. Settling down, I began to read about the adventures of a teenager, Samuel, and his adventures following the purchase of a unique set of dice found at a hobby store. As luck would have it, he's instantly transported off to another time and another world, where he awakens to discover he's been chosen/selected/drafted to become a Lorekeeper, someone whose job it is to make sure pieces of history continue to "flow" as it should lest it screw something up farther down the line.
I don't believe in giving away any parts of the story when doing a review, so if you're looking for spoilers then you won't find them here. This book reminded me of an old sci-fi/fantasy series way back in the 80s called the Voyagers, where this man and boy travel around to various periods in time and give history a push in the right direction.
I enjoyed seeing Samuel progress from nerdy boy who liked to play video games, participate in medieval reenactments, etc., to a young man responsible for his own welfare and protecting his new friends. One of my favorite parts about this book was when he finally put two and two together and he realized just who he was protecting and what "story" he had to protect as well.
I have a few critiques with this book. Minor, I'll grant you, but enough to make me notice it. There were a few places in the book where there was a wrong tense of a verb, or a singular form of a word when it should have been plural. I usually overlook one or two, 'cause no one's perfect, but I didn't notice several. Again, nothing major. The biggest problem I had, and again, it was minor, was the fata (read the book to learn what that is!) kept referring to Samuel as "Sammy", which I wouldn't think would be in character for her. Then she'd return to talking in a formal manner and it'd be back to "Samuel".
But, since you can see I still rated this 5 stars, it did nothing to deter from the overall enjoyment of the book. Great job, Mr. Rouillard. I get the impression a sequel or two might be in the works. I certainly hope so! I'll pick up a copy if you ever do release one!
on 25 June 2012
Rise of the Red Dragon is a very entertaining story focusing on an Arthurian story arc. The premise of the story is a bit unique while still being somewhat familiar. When a young man, Samuel, gets some money for his birthday he heads to his favorite store for RPGs and LARPing gear. While perusing the shelves he sees what looks like a very authentic set of white bone dice that he feels amazingly drawn to. When he purchases them and takes them home he begins to believe there is something very special about them, his theory is proven when the dice begin to glow and suddenly he is transported to another world. When he wakes up he finds he has a fairy who is in charge of his education on his new role as a Lorekeeper. He learns that he has been transported to a world that is based on the legends of our world that play out over and over again. There are two forces constantly battling, one to change these stories and therefore change the real world, and the other to keep everything the same.
There were a few flaws in the book, but nothing that is really going to subtract from overall enjoyment of the read. The first thing is because this book is translated from French there are a few places where there are some typos and grammatical errors. Nothing that comes off as stilted and confusing, but just enough to put a slight stutter in the flow. The only other thing that struck me as a little off was a bit of the story in the middle. It felt a little slow and I was a little bit distracted.
There were many positives in this book so I'll just hit the big ones. First off was Samuel. I liked him as a character a lot. It's nice to see a kid who is willing to stand up for his less popular friends, I know that it's really not a rare thing in this kind of story but Samuel was really done well. The concept of Lorekeepers is also fantastic. Although this book featured Sam dealing with an Arthurian myth there is pretty much no limit to where Martin can take these stories. The second book is due out later this year and I am really looking forward to seeing what myth is dealt with next (I'm hoping for some Norse mythology personally). Finally the secondary characters really helped seemed to add some depth to the story as well. The friends that Sam makes while in the other world are some great people and I enjoyed their interactions.
This book was a very fun read and I'm impressed that it is from a first time author. Hopefully the series will continue to grow and Martin will grow with it. For fantasy fans highschool age and up should find this book extremely appealing.