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01/01/2003 Entry: "Patricia Briggs DRAGON BLOOD -- Barbara's Review"

 <-- Check it out at Amazon.

We take up Ward's story four years after the closing of DRAGON BONES. Ward is rebuilding his keep, and playing a tight-rope walking act with the king, who would like nothing better than to see him eliminated as a symbol of resistance to his reign.

[...]Okay, Ward does get the girl in this one, so it does rate as a sf romance. And covered in the story are some interesting elements of accepting Tisala as a woman fully capable of managing on her own competently, thank you, but also having different skills.

There are some segments that are a not for the squeamish, similar to the early part of THE HOB'S BARGAIN. The author strikes a delicate balance of being pretty specific that Tisala - and then Ward - are being tortured, but without details that would repel. And it is an interesting part of growth of both Tisala and Ward, both of whom are strong characters to start with, that they accept what happens to them and those around them honestly but without pity or self-aggrandizement (how's that for a word?)

Probably what is most enjoyable about the book is significant time spent with Ward in first person perspective, while he does what has to be done. And then time spent in other character's POV where the event is seen as much more important and "heroic" than Ward seems to consider it. The author literally builds a hero before your eyes and makes him come alive.

We rescue people, do a couple of stupid but seemed smart at the time things, learn a few more things about dragons -- wow, check out the scene with Ward on the hill where DRAGON BONES started, what a set-up that is! Learn a bit more about the world where Ward is just trying to get along the best he can, including another journey with the dwarves and a bargain struck that brings back a character from DRAGON BONES.

Once again, an action driven story but a truly great, but subtle, bit of character driven story that entranced me almost as much as the action.

I liked DRAGON BONES and I think I actually liked this one better for some additional elements that showed up--a bit more story parts that showed better skill as a writer.--Barbara

[more about the prequel, DRAGON BONES...]

Replies: 1 Comment

The scene you mention in the third-to-last paragraph was one of my favorite of the book, too! The sense of wonder and hope was so strong there.

Posted by Preeti @ 01/04/2003 07:19 PM ET

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