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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dragonseed: A Novel of the Dragon Age by James Maxey (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit James Maxey's Prophet and the Dragon Blog Here
Order Dragonseed Here (Us) or Here (UK)
Read FBC's review of Bitterwood Here

In 2007 when James Maxey's Bitterwood was published something grabbed my attention from the beginning. There are plenty of books about dragons out there, but Maxey takes the concept of dragons to the next level. Never before had I read a first chapter that intrigued me as much as Bitterwood did. These dragons weren't kind dragons walking around helping the world, instead they were evil creatures who enslaved humans and oppressed the human race. Two years later, the third book of the Dragon Age series, Dragonseed is being released and it's just as intriguing as the first book of the series.

Dragonseed picks up a few days after Dragonforge left off. The humans have overthrown the dragons and are in control of Dragonforge. They plan on making a stand until every last dragon is killed in the land. Ragnar continues to spread the word of the Lord throughout Dragonforge causing many new tensions and conflicts. Word is finally making way to slaves throughout the land of the humans victory, in a hope to squash this hope the dragons have decided to attack Dragonforge. Burke has worked long hours figuring out how to turn the gunpowder into useful weapons against the dragons. This discovery may have just evened the playing field between humans and dragons, or it might have tipped the scale in favor of the humans.

Meanwhile, Jandra, a young woman who recently lost her genie (a scientific device from the Athenians that uses scientific technology to do many wonderful things), finds herself being pulled to look for not only her genie but that of the defeated goddess Jazz. She undertakes this journey with many familiar faces, Bitterwood, Zeeky and the pig Poocher, and Burke along with some not so familiar faces: Shay, an escaped slave, and Anza. Janda firmly believes that by finding the genie she can change the world for the better.

With a couple of new characters introduced and even a couple of unexpected characters returning, Dragonseed is another great chapter in the Dragon Age series.

Dragonseed was a much anticipated third installment to the Dragon Age series. James Maxey certainly kept up to those expectations and even brought a new level to his books by bringing a new look to the many characters in his series.

While many of the previous books held an element of sword and sorcery, Dragonseed seems to branch away slightly from the non stop action and focus a lot more on characterization. Readers get a different view into many of the previous characters that were introduced. There is a deeper understanding as to who Anza is, and what might be going on in Bitterwood's mind. A lot of light is shed upon the mystery that cloaked a lot of the characters. This is definitely a step up from the previous novels by Maxey where the characters weren't the main focus and there felt a slight detachment from them.

Another element that is very well done is that of the combination of science and fantasy. While many previous books have tried combining the two elements and failed, Dragonseed has a natural flow to it. The science at times can be a little complex but is described in a way that makes understanding it easy. There is nothing far out there that makes readers wonder if this was even possible. Instead, every science or technology based idea appears to be natural to the environment that Maxey has created.

In an ideal world, I would have enjoyed a little bit more fighting between the dragons and humans. Considering all of the royal dragon family has been killed off, I would have loved to see the humans go wild with the fights to dragon. This wouldn't have gone along with the plot of Dragonseed as it is clear that with the death of the king, humans have settled into a distinct pattern of avoiding any conflict with the dragons. The bulk of the book is focusing on healing in the aftermath of the previous fighting and battles, and also on developing a lot of the characters so having to many fights might have been overkill.

As with the previous novels, Dragonseed can be read regardless of if you are a follower of the Dragon Age series or not. While it's recommended to read the first two novels first, a reader could pick up the book and there is just enough explained about the background information that you won't be lost. This is a great think if you haven't read the previous books in a few years.

As Solaris (the publisher for Maxey's Dragon Age series), is for sale there is a sense that if this series were to end with this book readers would have enough closure to the series. There are plenty of other story lines that can be continued and a few questions that can be explored more in other books, but if this were not the case it would be a nice way to end the book. Again this goes along with the idea that each book stands alone and has a beginning and an end with no major cliff hangers (while DragonForge does end with a slight cliff hanger, it still is very complete).

In the end, Maxey lived up to my expectations in Dragonseed. I loved the fact that readers get to learn more about the characters that they have spent 2 books learning about and even grow closer to these characters. There are definitely a number of twists and turns in Dragonseed that bring an element of surprise and action to the book. While Bitterwood brought readers into a unique world of a dragon dominated earth, Dragonseed brings a lot of closer to the many questions asked in the first book. It's a great closure to a series if it needs to be the end of the Dragon Age series. Hopefully Maxey will choose to continue on the series regardless of the hardships the publishing world is facing, and if he doesn't branch out on his current series, it would be a treat to see him branch out into another completely different series.


The Reader said...

Hi Cindy

Nice review, I hadn't heard of this series earlier. Now I'll def. check it out. So does this book completely end the series plotwise?


Cindy said...

Thanks Mihir, I love this series.

Bitterwood was the first book and it could be a stand alone novel.

Dragonforge is the second novel and is a complete story that leads to Dragonseed.

Dragonseed does have a complete ending but there are plenty of possibilities for more installments. If the series were to end today, I would feel the series was complete.

Maxey did mention that if Solaris isn't brought he's going to look into other options (self publishing/ small press publishing) to carry on the series.

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