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on 26 April 2017
I have always been a sucker for a good fantasy novel, ever since I read JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ as a child. It has been a few years since I read a fantasy novel, after having devoured Stephen Donaldson’s ‘Thomas Covenant’ series, so I thought that I would be nostalgic and give this a go. I am glad I did. This book is really the story of one all-powerful evil wizard. The book opens with the suspicion that he has poisoned the King of Westland, rather like King Joffrey Baratheon from Games of Thrones, in order to put his young protege, the Prince, on the throne. Unfortunately, this is not the full extent of his ambition as he intends to defeat all neighbouring rulers and become all-powerful. He sends his daughter to get hold of a dragon’s egg. This will enable him to control the mother wizard and bend her to his will, making her a formidable weapon against his enemies. Two young human brothers get caught up in this plot; one falls in love with the wizard’s daughter and goes to steal the dragon’s egg for her, the other finds himself assisting a young squire to fight against the new evil in Westland.

The characters in the story are very well-realised and we really care what will happen to the three young men at the centre of the story. Gerard risks all for love, Hyden develops as he bonds with his hawkling to be able to see through the bird’s eyes and Mikahl learns that he can wield the magic sword Ironspike, and must do so, against the evil wizard and his minions. Alongside these three main characters are wizards and witches, sorcerers and seductresses, mythical creatures and noble men. There is a lot of action to keep you turning the pages and you are left with a desire to get straight on to the second part of this trilogy. I for one would thoroughly recommend this book, especially if you are into dragons, sword and sorcery.
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on 24 April 2017
M.R. Mathias has a way of putting you right there where the action is taking place. I held my breath while Gerard scaled the cliffs for hawk eggs, but disregards his own life as he jumps ledges to secure a magical ring. But this was just a foretaste of a more dangerous climb he would partake.

I sympathized with Mikahl over the loss of his beloved king and his secret mission that would forever label him an outlaw and prevent him from returning home. He knew he must succeed at getting Ironspike to a secure location and away from the weak prince.

Mathias slowly builds the pressure and responsibility that Hyden is under as he was first chosen as the archer who will represent his people in a prestige competition, then onto the baby hawk that legends say will determine their future. Every step he takes seems to escalate the danger he is about to encounter.
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on 5 January 2013
The beginning of this book is very nice-lots of action, decent characters, even interesting POV character shifts, which are hard for me to get involved in. However, the author doesn't keep it up; once you get past the first 100 pages in this 500+-page book, the action shifts to a lot of summaries of action-instead of getting to see what the characters see and feel what the characters feel, we get a summary of all but a few things, which isn't nearly as satisfying. I felt like the author should have written more, shorter books with unrelenting action rather than trying to stuff everything into three books. If he had had the same excellent pacing and action from the beginning, I would have been able to overlook a lot of other nitnoids, but as it was, I just got annoyed.

For example, I didn't care for the villains; they didn't seem to be fully developed and I couldn't find them terribly threatening, but that may have been because they didn't really get much action in the book until after the author had started summing things up. They get a few scenes here and there, but the main villain comes across as mostly a lite, overly melodramatic version of Flagg from Stephen King's books. Another thing-there are a couple of token women and other races, but really, this book is about seeing things from the perspective of the male, human characters. If the character is female or non-human, expect an early death, a supporting role for the male, human chosen ones, or a lot of sobbing over a lover. But like I said-if the whole book had been as immediate and fun as the beginning, I probably wouldn't have noticed or cared.

3/5
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on 3 October 2014
The Sword and the Dragon is an exciting fantasy fiction following multiple characters and their individual problems and quests. The one thing that really captivated me was how well written the characters are, each of them being unique and well developed. This book is very much fantasy, which is personally my favourite genre, I guess you could compare M R Mathias to George R R Martin or maybe J R R Tolkien yet he's created a very individual story which is a whole new world of fantasy. I was really impressed by this book and I can't wait to read the next in the series, I would highly recommend this book.
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on 4 September 2010
This book is a monster and not just in size. M. R. Mathias has managed to do something extremely difficult in the fantasy genre - create something new and unique. Well written and compelling it literally turns the pages itself. I would compare this to Lord of the Rings except that LOTR couldn't hold my interest like this book. Mathias' characters are rich and well developed, the story flows easily and the reader is lost in the incredible world that's been created.

I will confess that I really wasn't expecting this novel to be as engaging as it was, a lot of hype can sometimes just be a lot of hype. In this case it is well deserved.
Congratulations M.R. Mathias.

If you like fantasy then you will absolutely love this book. I cannot wait for the sequel.
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on 12 November 2014
The author does not disappoint in this epic novel full of action and adventure.
The author gives great attention to detail. This book is filled with fun and fantasy, and
reminds me of a mix of C.S. Lewis books and Harry Potter, but in a different kind of
way. It engages your imagination thoroughly.
The author has managed to create a story full of powerful characters sure to keep the pages turning. I couldn't read the book straight through simply because of the length, but my attention was held enough that I kept trying to figure out what would happen next and looking forward to my next opportunity to dive back into the story.
I love how you are immediately drawn into the story, and feel as if you are right there
experiencing what the characters are experiencing. The story flows right along keeping interest every step of the way.
In the beginning of the story, I love the brothers honor and love toward one another. I sympathized with Gerard hoping he would make it down from the cliff safely while also eagerly anticipating what the gold was that he had spotted so high up. I look forward to many more books by this author.
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on 20 September 2014
An epic story of demons and dragons, imps, demons and clans and their traditions. A story of the entitled and the more lowly. If you love Tolkien, you will love this book. It is an easier read than Tolkien though, I found. It is lengthy, so not to be read in one sitting, but so well written that you can imagine a film might eventually be made of the story. A good read, not to be missed by fantasy fans.
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on 25 August 2015
I'm always on the look out for new fantasy series, being a big fan of Game of Thrones and LOTR, so I was happy to stumble across The Sword and the Dragon. As you can probably tell, the series involves a quest for a sword. There are two brothers, and one finds a magic ring. Only he must use it. His brother forms a bond with a hatchling bird, there's an evil wizard, the evil wizard has a beautiful daughter, and there's a squire who goes on a quest, too. Oh, and a dragon. Even with so many characters, there isn't TOO much going on in the story. It's a nicely-woven tale in an intricately drawn landscape, although if you put the book down and come back to it, you may well have to go back and re-read a few pages, just so that you can re-establish the world that you've been immersed in. That isn't a criticism, but you may get a bit lost otherwise.

Mathias has painted the Wardstone world effortlessly, and I look forward to reading the rest of his books.
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on 26 July 2015
I have not read many books of this genre, so am not able to compare the story with offerings by other authors. For me this was a captivating story with magic, dragons, demons, elves, wizards, humans - good and bad. I was pleased that although this is the first of a trilogy I felt that the book stood on its own. Yes, there were still tasks left to be done but these could easily be left to another time.

I appreciate that the author wanted to demonstrate how awful the bad wizard was, but I was not sure how the thousands of soldiers and people would be replaced. The ending was a little rushed but many books I have read recently have been a lot worse. The timescale seemed a bit forced, but this is the modern trend - just think of the James Bond films where he has 60 seconds to prevent a catastrophe and the action on the screen seems to go on for five minutes.
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on 12 November 2014
Don't pick this book up until you have time to spare, because you won't want to put it down again before the end! Fantastic characterisation and ease of reading combine to hold your attention from the first page. You have a real treat in front of you if you've just bought this trilogy!
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