Picture of Cover

Picture of Cover

Long time no see highfantasy readers (not really). This week I review His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. This is the first book in the Temeraire Series. First thing I have to say is despite getting this book for free, it definitely surprised me and exceeded my expectations. Instead of the more common purely fantasy novels, mrs. Novik takes a different turn and does an alternate history version of the Napoleonic Wars. This war, unsurprisingly, is fought with using dragons.

I initially thought that these dragons would be more of the brutish beast stereotype. I was wrong. Naomi’s depiction of dragons make them to be as intelligent as humans if not more so. She pulls this off well and creates a stunning geneology of dragons. However I digress. I found His Majesty’s Dragon to be both interesting and exciting.

SPOILER WARNING: The following paragraph is a brief synopsis of the book and may contain important information.

The first book of the series starts off from the main protagonist of the story, Will Laurence, who is the captain of an english navy ship. After he and his crew capture and a french ship they discover a dragon egg that was on transport to France. The crew, knowing little about dragons, end up in charge of the egg . Though they attempt to set up the dragon with a chosen person to be an aviator, a dragon rider, the dragon soon after hatching shows intelligence and picks the initially unsure Laurence. Eventually they become very fond of each other, going to the point of seeing the other as practically a lover. They then go off to join englands other aviators. What follows from there is an intriguing story about love, friendship, and the real life implications of being an aviator.

Review: Starting off with setting, I was amazed how realistic the scenery felt and how this alternate history/fantasy could be possible. Everything from weather to environments make sense and can have some importance in some situations. (1)

The characters are realistic but I criticize the nature of the relationships between aviators and their dragons. Though the book shows not all aviators are on a personal level with their dragons, the nature of the ones that are leaves one to wonder the reasons why. The characters also relate well to their situations, such as aviators having children so their dragons will have another aviator when their original one dies. (1)

The plot is intricate and full of surprises. Initially thinking that this would just be a war like novel, I was surprised to find depth between everything from characters to events. (1)

Though I found the story to be entertaining, I found some of the book to be mostly filler and although it may contribute to the plot, feels lacking and uninteresting. (.5)

I found the story to be original and an amazing remake of a historical event. The geneology of the dragons and the history and relations that they have on society also felt extremely unique. (1)

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

the awakened mageLast week I reviewed part one of the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series. Today I start off with part two, The Awakened Mage. The book picks up exactly where the previous book left off. With the plans of Morg truly beginning to develope, the characters slowly play their moves as they are guilded by prophecy to the climatic end. Along the way the story gives several surprises.

Overall the story continued and expanded on all the subjects that weren’t touched upon in the previous book. Though some questions were answered, there remained many more. Though I loved the series as a whole, the plot had an eerie feeling of being both dragged out and crushed together. Something I found surprising was the epilogue was almost as long as the final conflict of the book. Overall, the book contains many great qualities and an amazing story, but many things could have been polished and worked out in order to make the reader more awared of the desolate world around the land of Lur.

The Awakened Mage Review Rating: 4/5

Next Week’s Review: His Majesty’s Dragon

Courtesy of Amazon.com
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Because of the recent changes to the rating system, I decided it would be in the readers best interest to give another review this week showing how the system works. The review this time is The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller. This book is part one in the two part Kingmaker Kingbreaker series. The following paragraph is a brief synopsis of the book and may contain some spoilers.

The Awakened Mage is the story about the son of a fisherman named Asher who steals away from his home and his family to travel to the city of Dorana. It is here that he attempts to earn money so that he can buy a fishing-boat and take care of his elderly father. Unbeknown to Asher, he is actually a player in a prophecy  that predicts that he will become the Innocent Mage, a power that will either save the world, or fail and end with its doom. He is lead by the vision led mage Dathne who tries to secretly lead him down the path towards his destiny. Along the way Asher becomes a friend to the kings son, prince Gar, and eventually his adviser concerning Asher’s people. As the pieces line up and the world is set into a delicate balance, it will be Asher’s destiny to decide the fate of Lur.

Starting with setting, I found the land of Lur to be extremely dull for what it could be. The city of Dorana for example, despite being a home for magic users, is no where near interesting enough for the reader to get a sense of place and becomes just a dull city despite the many magics within and around it. (.5)

One of the books most redeeming qualities, similar to the Night Angel Trilogy, was its characters. The main character of Asher felt to be one of the most realistic characters and was a breath of fresh air. The attitude and dialogue between people was interesting and left little to be desired. (1)

Though the plot is very set up, as in you know whats going to happen, it is still entertaining to see how it unfolds and still surprises you with the little details that occur. Each scene is of some importance and lends to each characters development in the eyes of the reader. (1)

The story is extremely entertaining and crafts every conversation into something to be looked at and have interest in. (spoiler) I found the court scene to be extremely entertaining and left me with a greater understanding of the time and setting the characters lived in. I found this an easy book to continue reading and found that even when I put it down, I still had no problem coming back to read more. (1)

Though the book is entertaining, there is very few elements of the story that do not commonly occur in other stories. As such I found the originality to be lacking but at the same time somewhat redeeming. The overall plot of the story is a simple hero of prophecy who saves a kingdom. The character grows, falls in love, and shows weakness now and then. As I said, similar elements in most stories. However, I found the attitude of Asher’s character to be more realistic and original then normal. He tells you what he thinks and he has an attitude that resembles someone of his age and lifestyle. Story elements like the wall, while interesting, seem to be a very left out subject and left the reader with little information on the subject in question. The final important aspect I found was that for a book about magic, it ignores it during the first part. Magic is mentioned now and then but in the overall scheme of the book is practically untouched. Most scenes involving it seemed simplistic as the magic. Overall though, some moments brought a sense of originality and the author added her own flavor to the story (.5/1)

The Awakened Mage Rating- 4/5

courtesy of amazon.com

courtesy of amazon.com

For my first book review I chose one of the more recent ones that I stumbled across. My review this week is on The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. The story takes place on the fictional continent of Midcyru from the intitially young character of Azoth. The three books follow the young protagonist who eventually becomes the apprentice to the one of the towns best wetboys (a term with similar meaning to assassin), Durzo Blint. 

What starts off as the realistic life of a young boy and his two friends, the faithful Jarl and the small Dollface, slowly developes into an interesting tale of that spans the continent of Midcyru. Becoming Durzo’s apprentice, Azoth eventually adopts the identity of Kylar and goes from being an orphaned boy to a member of the royal class. As book one unfolds, the Kylar evolves into an effective killer but doesn’t reach his peak until he becomes caught up in the search of the mystical objects known as the ka’kiri. The story comes to a “surprising” twist were Kyle finds the black ka’kiri, the most ancient and powerful one.

The rest of the series involves Kylar, among many others, involvement in the ongoing war between Kylars homeland of Cenaria and the evil armies of Khalidor. The story also involves the the personal struggle of Kylar who see’s himself as a murderer but desires to be better though he knows he does what he does for a better purpose.

Because this is a review it wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t say the issues that I found in the books rotated between too many characters at a frequent pace. Though I found them interesting I had to stop myself from skipping pages just to get back to the main character. Another issue that I found was that some of the most interesting moments in the book happen behind the scenes. Examples of this would be Durzo stealing a magic sword from a beast known as the Dark Hunter which would have been interesting to see when compared to other moments.

Though I found my issues with the series it still is going in my favorites library. I while I found some of the story elements lacking, I found the character interaction, the surprisingly interesting comedy, and grandious events to make the series well worth reading.

The Night Angel Trilogy Rating: 4/5

Officially, today is the starting date of Highfantasy. However, before we get to reviews, readers content, and recommendations, I need to first introduce you. Welcome to Highfantasy.wordpress.com where my number one goal is to introduce you, the reader, to either past or present high fantasy. My audience is for teens and up. I will find, read, and review all these goodies for you and give you the best diagnosis on whether to read certain series. I will also be keeping my eye on the latest high fantasy news and trying to bring it to you when available. Posting dates will be specifically Wednesdays but I may post on Sundays if I find something noteworthy.

Aplaw’s Tweets

  • Cactus Dragon Breeder! I just bred a Cactus Dragon in DragonVale! Visit my park to check it out! bit.ly/WL2kMk 8 years ago
  • Reading His Majesty's Dragon and Black Sun Rising 12 years ago
  • Reading "The Awakened Mage" by Karen Miller. Review will be up next Wednesday. 12 years ago
  • Looking at the KingMaker, KingBreaker series by Karen Miller. Looks interesting 12 years ago

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