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Joanne Bertin

Book 1
1998, December, Tor hardcover
Buy from Amazon.com (hardcover)
Buy from Amazon.com (mass market paperback)

Who recommends: Julie, JW, Preeti, Lynn, Edith, Barbara, Shelley, Linda, Lori, Danielle,Suzanne, Isabel, Leila, Margaret
Who discommends:

I just finished what I am calling "my favorite book of the year." It is the delightful THE LAST DRAGONLORD by Joanne Bertin. A first novel, a fantasy about a were-dragon Linden Rathan, who is the last dragonlord (at over 600 years old). It's a mix of court intrigues, high fantasy and has an absolutely wonderful love story in it. It has my highest approval. -- Julie

Hardback - so those who are careful with their money will have to wait for the pb. It had everything I wanted in a book - a romance that was interwoven into the plot with plenty of action, court intrigue and magic, gruesome deaths, people you didn't like who turn out to be not all evil.

The heroine is definitely a girl after my own heart - capable, generally sensible, helps old ladies cross the street and kind to animals. And the hero is only 600 years old or so and is the last Dragonlord. Characters stay in character - if anything to quibble about, it's that the characters are somewhat "cast" in their roles of "evil magician, "duped lord of the court, "ladder climbing lady of the court, and of course "hero" and "heroine, and "the other woman". Well done, but unable to escape those molds. I confess, I read half of it, had to go to bed, picked it up the next day, read the ending, and then started again and read it through again. The ending is superb - a cliffhanger and one that would make a great movie.--Barbara

Now I understand why THE LAST DRAGONLORD appeared on the SFR 101 list. It's an almost perfect combination of fantasy and romance and I really liked both Linden and Maurynna enough to not mind meeting them in real life. That's more than I can say for the majority of heroes and heroines I come across - even the ones that I like within the framework of the story would usually send me screaming in the other direction if they appeared in reality.--Isabel (03 Sep 99)

Finished DRAGON & PHOENIX [the sequel to THE LAST DRAGONLORD] last night. Not a classic, but a good solid read. Bertin plots well and there certainly is a lot happening here - more court intrigue, the introduction of the truedragons, and Maurynna's struggle to integrate her dragon and human sides. It doesn't qualify as an SFR, since the romance from the first book isn't developed further but taken as background. And in the nitpicker's department, it bothered me that Bertin doesn't know the difference b/w thee and thou. (Of course, part of the blame there belongs to her editors.) To sum up: an entertaining read, but not a keeper for me.--Danielle (11 Nov 99)

A very good first novel. The writing could have been tightened up more but she did a good job of providing background which gave the book solidity. The romance was good.--Margaret (09 Mar 00)

It's over a year since I first read this book and commented on it. I find that it does not hold up to re-reading as well as I had expected. One thing that really struck me was the stupidity of the "heroes". They are there to decide which of 2 men will be the regent. This is obviously a much-coveted position but it doesn't really occur to any of them that there might some under-hand goings-on. The young prince is being given, daily, a potion that is harming him but nobody notices, even when it's thrust under their noses. An ambitious court maiden latches onto our hero and it doesn't occur to him that there is more to her than is obvious, even though she is obviously ambitious, experienced and highly sophisticated. The villains are dragging out the regency hearings and nobody notices. There is an evil mage around and nobody notices. Whores are being used at a great rate as blood sacrifices and nobody notices. The hero falls into a very obvious trap and is rescued at the worst possible moment - _after_ the villains have got what they want from him, and _before_ they can give him the antidote.

Even the villains are somewhat thick: they ask the evil mage critical questions (is this nasty smelling potion going to harm the ever-weakening prince? ) and _believe_ his answers (no). The ambitious court maiden, who has assured the hero that she doesn't expect fidelty from either of them and that she has another lover, discovers she has a rival and promptly rushes off and assaults her and then is totally baffled and furious the hero when he casts her off for it.

In spite of the fact that the everyone has failed to notice plots, evil mages, nasty potions, disappearing whores etc etc for most of the book they suddenly become aware of all of them just in time to be too late to foil the evil mage who is eventually defeated by a couple of the villains, and the heroine.

It is still a good book, for a first, but not as good as I originally thought it.--Margaret (22 Apr 02)

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