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Joanne Bertin
book cover

Book 2
1998, December, Tor hardcover
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Who recommends: Danielle, Lynn, Suzanne, Lori, Julie
Who discommends: Edith, Lynn, Linda, Margaret

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)

I just finished Bertin's DRAGON & PHOENIX and I'd give this a solid discommend. This isn't an SFR, but since it's the sequel to THE LAST DRAGONLORD, I figured I'd weigh in with my opinion. I almost stopped reading halfway through, but if people end up raving about the third book I might as well have this one under my belt. I know there is no way I would pick it up again to give it another try.

These were my problems with the book:

1. Too many characters. I counted at least 20 "important" ones and that's too many for me to form a solid connection with any of them. Linden and Maurynna have slightly more significant roles than any others, but I found them *extremely* irritating, rather than endearing. As a matter of fact, most of the characters in this book were irritating. The only one I *really* liked was the water dragon.

2. "The covers of this book are too far apart." This book was 500+ pages long and it should have been 300, MAX. We are deluged with unnecessary amounts of detail and *many* unnecessary scenes. One particular paragraph stands out in my mind: she describes the colors of the condiment jars and the cords wrapped around them. This was to let us know the *minor* character was colorblind. And then the colorblindness has no impact on the story! A whole frigging paragraph. Where the hell was her EDITOR????????!!!!

3. She had the annoying habit of flopping around from one group of people to another in itty bitty teeny tiny chunks. Sometimes she would interrupt the flow in a scene with two *paragraphs* of what another group was doing. It was very disruptive to the flow of the story. And she tended to stop at "suspenseful" points, which weren't really. It drove me crazy. She *may* have done that in her first book, but the story and characters involved me enough that I didn't notice. This time, I noticed. I really noticed.

This book was a huge disappointment for me. But if you like a court-intrigue adventure type of story, with many disparate threads pulled together at the end, you might find it satisfying. The plot was decent. But I read for character more than plot.--Edith (12 Feb 00)

It sounds like one I'd hate! I've given up on several promising books lately because I don't have much patience for multiple points-of-view. I guess I'm just too linear a thinker. --JW (12 Feb 00)

I've noticed way too many authors using this device lately to try to increase suspense, and most of them only end up bungling it. I wish they'd give it a rest. When I read a book and every chapter introduces someone new, and I haven't returned to anyone I know by about page 60, I give the book up.--Shelly (12 Feb 00)

Well, I have to say that I found Dragon & Phoenix a considerable comedown too, but I'm quite ready to give her another chance. D&P; felt unfinished to me, like it was not fully baked. But I'd say wait for the paperback to get it.--Lynn (12 Feb 00)

I ended up liking this one better than the first, though I suspect the first one is a better romance. I like the more complicated plots even if they don't always focus as strongly on specific characters. And I enjoyed some of the stuff that was happening even though I wasn't crazy about some of the characters. (Yeah, Bertin probably spent more time with some of them than absolutely necessary.) I got the feeling she could be setting up for some interesting stories in the future.--Lori (13 Feb 00)

Well, Edith, I agree with you. But, unfortunately, even though I wasn't happy with this one, I liked it more than that initial offering, since she did manage in this one to bring to the table some character development (which she didn't in the first book). I think there may be some hope for her writing. I was able to follow, and be involved, for some time here and there in this book. I can't say that for the first one (which I thought - forgive me Georgette - as pretty insipid).--Suzanne (14 Feb 00)

I'm embarressed to say that I'm still reading Dragon and the Phoenix. I've had to work a lot and haven't had much reading time lately. Its improving but I definitely don't like it as much as the first but am determined to finish it.--Linda (28 Apr 00)

Well, I finally finished the book. I really enjoyed the last third of the book!! This is well written but I have to admit I thought there were too many characters and unfortunately I couldn't seem to care enough about them to enjoy a lot of the book. The first third didn't have much of the old characters that I loved in THE LAST DRAGONLORD, and had a lot of new characters and different plots going on. I liked the main character for the strong woman she was, at first, but didn't care for how hard and manipulative she became. It had a very Oriental feel to it that I sometimes enjoy but just didn't like the characters enough to enjoy this one. The second third improved thanks to the addition of the dragonlords but still moved too slow. But I loved the last third which had lots of action and really enjoyed meeting the river dragon. On the whole though, for me anyway since I couldn't enjoy so much of it, I can't recommend it. But I'm glad I read it in case its necessary for the next book.--Linda (03 May 00)

I think the river dragon was the best part of the book.

*think* I see where her series is going and I don't think I like it. Bertin appears to be making the books more panoramic in scope and losing what I like best in books -- a tight focus on a few characters that I CARE about. I disliked the empress intensely.--Edith (03 May 00)

DRAGON AND PHOENIX was definitely a disappointment after THE LAST DRAGONLORD and I wouldn't recommend it. It seemed to be "more adventures for our band of heroes" rather than a book with a purpose. I finished it wondering what the author's aim had been. There were some significant bits - Maurynna's problems with her dragon half, Maurynna's meeting her family again, the river dragon and the discovery of another "hidden" dragonlord but the rest of the book seemed fairly pointless. One thing that really irritated me was that idiot Raven. He had never indicated to Maurynna that he was interested in a relationship and now he's throwing jealous snits that she's found her soulmate and trying to separate them! It takes most of the book before he finally accepts her relationship in spite of all the other characters telling him he hasn't a hope. This I did not find believable. As other peolpe have remarked, there were too many characters and definitely too many POVs. The problem with this is that you end up not really caring about any of them.--Margaret (30 Jan 01)

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