Phil Parker (tigertoy) wrote,
Phil Parker

Book Review: The Dragon of Despair

Today's book review is The Dragon of Despair by Jane Lindskold.

This is the third book in the series that began with Through Wolf's Eyes and continued with Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart. It stands alone better than many series books; Lindskold does a better job than a lot of writers on putting in enough background explanation of things that happened in previous books that someone who started with the current volume wouldn't be hopelessly confused but not boring the people who did read the previous books excessively. However, I would still recommend starting the series from the beginning. The first two books are excellent.

It took me a long time to get through this book. That's not the fault of the book -- it is a little long but not, by the standards of fantasy novels today, egregiously so -- but rather of the amount of distraction in my life these days (combined with my normal slow reading speed). However, I think it reflects on how well written the book is that I didn't have a lot of trouble keeping the story alive in my mind even though I generally read only one chapter a day.

In keeping with my tradition of absolutely no spoilers, I'm not going to talk about details of the story or even the series. I'll just say that several important characters get some real development, there's good suspense and action, and the plot twists in the climax just begin with the part whose foreshadowing I actually noticed. Enough gets tied up in the end of the book for a satisfying ending, but it definitely leaves enough questions open that there's plenty of room for the series to continue. (I did see some reference to it being "the third in the trilogy" somewhere; I am hoping for more, but if this is the end, it's an adequate if not completely satisfying one.)

I've been trying to restrain myself from giving out too many very high ratings, but I'm still giving this a 9 out of 10. If a grown up version (in the sense of intellectually sound don't-have-to-strain-to-suspend-disbelief, not in the sense of "adult themes") of the children's talking animal story appeals to you, you should absolutely be reading this series. Even if that leaves you cold, if you like well-written, well-told "the middle ages on a different planet" fantasy, you should check it out.
Tags: book review, fantasy, jane lindskold
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