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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Draconis: The Draconis Descendant Saga #1 by David Oliver (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Information
Order Draconis over  HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of The Great Hearts
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of The Great Hearts II: A Game Of Gods
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of The Great Hearts III: Shadowstrike
OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: David A. Oliver was born in the British Isles and currently lives in England with his lovely partner. David was introduced to fantasy at quite a young age thanks to the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. After an extended, multi-year fantasy binge David decided to write a book and The Great Hearts is his debut novel. A fantasy novel that takes the reader on a whirlwind adventure featuring monsters and mayhem. He hopes any new reader enjoys it as much as he liked writing it!

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Over a decade ago Jlayn Syr, cartographer, embarked on a mission to map the world on behalf of the Ursal Federation. He returned with most of his crew dead and two strange rune stones.
Stones that changed everything.
He asserted that he had found a strange ‘rift’ in the ocean. A gateway to another world. A world populated with strange and horrifying monsters, broken tombs and strange writings.
Now he is the leader of the Wayfarers. A mercenary troop dedicated to entering the rift and returning with new rune stones. The Ursal Federation has utilised the impossible magic of the rune stones to cement themselves as the foremost world power and the location of the rift is a closely guarded secret…one that many would kill for.
With forces gathering to take control of the rift, Jlayn and his adopted daughter Sesha must embark on the newly built Draconis to explore this new world once again…but with a large target on their heads the days of the Wayfarers may be numbered.

What happens when you mix Victorian era exploration with Uncharted, pirates, monsters and a hard magic system? Draconis. That's what.
From David Oliver, author of The Great Hearts, comes the start of a new series. Draconis is a flintlock portal exploration fantasy and if you like your novels to have runic-enhanced cannons, devilish traps and an arms race to produce flying galleons then this one is for you.
Oh and monsters.
Lots of monsters.
FORMAT/INFO: Draconis is 725 pages long divided over fifty-three titled chapters (spread over four sections), with an epilogue. Narration is in third person via several characters.. This is the first volume in The Draconis Descendant Saga.

March 1, 2022
 marks the e-book and hardback publication of Draconis and it will be self-published by the author. 

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Draconis is the start of a new epic fantasy series by David Oliver and it is a series which I’ve been anticipating since David mentioned it in a Q&A last year.

Draconis begins in a world where Jlayn Syr, a cartographer and explorer changed the destiny of their world by discovering a gateway (inter-dimensional portal) within the seas of their world.  He voyaged through the gateway and discovered a world choc-a-bloc with monsters but also immense treasure and rune stones. These stones changed their world as it dethroned Gyrdania (the reigning empire of their world.). He founded the Wayfarers and helped with the rise of the Ursal Federation.

It has been over a decade since the Ursal Federation has made themselves the top dogs of the world and their business has flourished beyond all means. Things however are not the same as the neighbouring nations recall the past and are much chagrined at the notion of a business conglomerate ruling over them. Soon the Ursal Foundation will understand the true meaning of geo-political jealousy as people and circumstances conspire against them. Jlayn Syr & Sesha (his adopted daughter and fellow wayfarer) will be forced once again to journey through the portal and he will discover the truth behind the other world.

This book in a simple nutshell is the fantasy version of “Jurassic park on magical steroids”. David Oliver has written a story that introduces a bunch of different characters like the older, lovable and brilliant Jlayn Syr, a grizzled pirate turned Wayfarer captain named Verynus and his lover-cum-lieutenant Kye, Sesha a new member of the Wayfarer temple and others who get a spotlight on them. The plot is introduced really quickly and the author really goes all all out in setting up this story which is very much a creature thriller in the fantasy genre.

What I enjoyed the most about this story was its breakneck pace and the crazy monsters that the author has thought of. The alien world is truly alien and the exploration aspect is done fascinatingly. The characters and the readers are both introduced to these weird and deadly creatures who as the story progresses become meaner, bigger and scarier. The monsters aren’t just used for window dressing purposes; they form an integral part of why the story is the way it is. There are some terrific hints laced about why the alien world is the way it is. I can’t wait to read the sequel to find out what.

Lastly with this story, the author has taken some drastic steps away from the dark fantasy action saga that is the Great Hearts saga. The Draconis Descendant series is more of an epic fantasy with monsters and an aero-nautical feel similar to the Ketty Jay series by Chris Wooding. There is a lot of swashbuckling adventure and many readers will find this to be exactly what they are looking for. This is a big book and the author writes shorter chapters while constantly switching POV and location, hence very much an adventure thriller (say from James Rollins or Matthew Reilly). This keeps the readers constantly on their toes and excited to see where the story goes next. Ultimately the epilogue and climax are absolutely cracking and set up a finale that promises to be world-breaking to say the least.

For drawbacks, the primary one is that the characters aren’t as enticing as found in the Great Hearts series. I suspect this has to do more with the POV aspect of that series versus this one. The characters aren’t two-dimensional but can be most compared to an adventure thriller wherein they follow certain character tropes. The pace is also a bit cumbersome in the first half but is breakneck in the latter part.
CONCLUSION: David Oliver is certainly experimenting with the type of stories he wants to tell. Though the genre is different as is the style, what is still consistent is the writer and his enthusiasm for telling entertaining stories. His fusion of styles make
s Draconis stand out and makes it an enjoyable read. Check it out if you wish to read about “Jurassic Park on magical steroids”, as for me, I will be waiting to read the sequel and whatever David writes next.


Hobbit Hole Books said...

Sounds absolutely fantastic Mihir! A new addition to the tbr. I do love a good chonker and this sounds right up my street.

The Reader said...

Hope you enjoy it Matthew. I really liked this new foray by David.



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