Today's book review is Dragon and Liberator by Timothy Zahn.
This is the sixth and final book in the Dragonback series. It relies heavily on background from the previous books; if you're going to read this series, start with book 1 (Dragon and Thief) and go in order.
This is a very fast-moving, action filled book and the plot has more twists than a bowl of rotini. Through the series, I've come to care a fair bit about the protagonists, and I like how they've developed and where they end up. In a straightforward YA adventure, if it's any good, you hope to be wondering how the good guys are going to get out of the latest mess, but it's rare to really wonder if they'll get out of it, and we do achieve that much tension. On the minus side, more than one of the plot twists have a definite whiff of deus ex machina. The earlier books in the series have some really nasty cliffhangers, and we come into this book with some very unimportant questions unanswered. They are answered, and if there are a couple of places that strain the sense of disbelief, well, we need to remember just how nutty the Macguffin of the whole series is.
Anyone who's enjoyed the earlier books will definitely want to finish the series; it's probably the best, and it does tie up those nagging loose ends. For anyone who hasn't started the series, as long as you're willing to swallow a seriously improbable premise for the sake of a good romp, it's recommended. The moral messages that are a bit heavy handed at the start are more subtle, though still there.
8 out of 10.
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