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Rise of the Red Dragon: Tales of the Lorekeepers - Tome 1 Kindle Edition
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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!
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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The best part of this story is the imaginative, inventive use of the Arthurian legends. From what little I know of them, the bits of legend were used accurately, yet originally, and there are all sorts of unexpected twists. The description of the land makes me wonder where the Lady of the Lake will figure into future books. We meet Merlin as a child, we meet Uther as a supportive brother to the true king of the land. We follow Samuel, a teen-aged gamer and the hero of the tale, as he goes from our world into a world of legend where good and evil are reduced, respectively, to maintaining or disrupting history/myth.
I really liked the elements of the story and the tale itself, I felt the characters were sympathetic, although not terribly deep, and the climax battle scene was really unique. But I had trouble buying the Lorekeeper angle and the mythological base of the other world, and there were places the writing bogged down with a few paragraphs that made me roll my eyes and put the book down for several hours because they were just too sappy. There are few typos, but they were jarring enough to disrupt my flow. I saw one reviewer say it was a book translated from the French, so that may explain it.
More than the typos, though, the book felt like it needed the eyes of an editor. There were a couple of places people had knowledge they shouldn't have, or maybe it was unclear whose perspective the narration was from. I was worried that the fata expressed the moral of the story: "There is always a way... You will find it... if you truly wish it," but maybe I misread that and it was intended to say more about the fata's personality than about the main idea of the story. Either way, that's a great trope from classic fantasy, but it teaches our young people that if they fail, it's their fault and they're now unworthy. It seems too simple a moral for the scope of the story, and I want to see our young people taught that courage and moral choices even in the face of failure matter more than some flashy victory.
But I give the book four stars for the originality, the imagination, the inventiveness, and the apparent accuracy of the research into the Arthurian legends. It's hard to do a story everyone has heard 1000 times and make it interesting, but this author succeeds in that. And the execution isn't at all bad. It could be a superb book with some editing help.
I actually started to shed tears towards the end of the book. I really can't think of much more to say except, MORE! I really want to read more of the Lorekeepers series, I beg the author to please continue this series. There is a LOT of things that can be done with this story and I am yearning to read about the next adventure.