Monday, January 16, 2017

Predictable and Bloody: A Brief Review of The Dragon Round

The first thing I noticed when I began reading The Dragon Round (2016) by Stephen S. Power was that it is written in the present tense. The description on the back of the cover is in past tense, as is the inside flap of the cover jacket, but the story itself is in present tense.

This is not necessarily a draw-back, but it does take some adjustment, and makes me wonder why Powers made that artistic decision.

This is Power's first novel, and I thought that his descriptions were vivid and his characters well-written. The world seemed a little too big for the story, interrupting the flow with distracting details.

However, there is nothing surprising about the main character's vengeful quest. The plot is predictable and graphically bloody.

Summary 

Jeryon is the captain of a ship who is marooned by his crew after a dragon attack along with a healer named Everlyn. Together they begin to build a life for themselves on a deserted island, even finding and raising a baby dragon, but Jeryon never forgets the wrong done him by his traitorous crew and vows revenge, utilizing the dragon as a tool to accomplish this.

Dark and Graphic

Everlyn is a more likeable character, being more positive about their circumstances in contrast to Jeryon's cold pragmaticism.

The early part of the story includes a lot of conversation between these two viewpoints, but ultimately, the author falls on Jeryon's side--vengeance over forgiveness, and death over life--taking the story to its grisly end rather than the redemption and healing both Everlyn and I would have preferred.

The tone is consequently dark. Power does not shy from graphic descriptions of the carnage wrought by the dragon at Jeryon's direction, resulting in one of the most depressing dragon stories I've ever read.

Conclusion

I think Powers has talent as an author, but this was a poor example of it. The plot was predictable and the story of slaughter in a fantasy setting and tale of dragons does not appeal to this fan of the genre.

I much preferred A Natural History of Dragons and I even liked The Rain Wilds Chronicles better!

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