This is a review of the book “The Dragon Lords: Fool’s Gold” by Jon Hollins.
There isn’t much focus on the world-building on the whole in this tale, but it isn’t neglected either. There are few details but it fits the entire writing style of the book. The story is full to the brim with good action scenes and fights. They are fast-paced and quick, and there is no repetition from fight to fight which can be a possibility in a book of so much violence. The fact that all dragons die in different ways is also a noteworthy detail.
Balur as a character is well-developed and constant. He sticks to his opinions and he is funny to read about even with his odd way of speaking. His fight scenes are also quite imaginative and amusing to read, and even the budding possibility of romance between him and Quirk was well-written. It was a cute addition to the story and I wish there had been more of it.
The main characters are, unfortunately, generic and wishy-washy. It is difficult to care about them or what they do. None of them have any real development that isn’t forced upon them from an outside source, and even then the development is tiny and unimportant. Apart from Balur they flicker back and forth in their opinions, and they don’t really serve a purpose. All characters – whether the main characters, the dragons, the soldiers or the civilians – sound exactly the same. Everyone uses exactly the same language all the time, and there is an annoying focus on balls. All. The. Time.
It must also be mentioned that all the things that happen are too obvious windfalls of lucky happenstance. Yes, the characters get into unexpected trouble, but even then everything goes well and their plans come to fruition. There is no need to pull back and regroup and try the plan again on the same dragon. Everything works out the first time around.
The book is simply too much. It tries too hard to be funny at every turn, it tries too hard to have characters not care – or, at least, focus too much on what’s going on around them and the situations they’re in. But because this is done all the time in the book it stops being funny and it stops being noticeable. I don’t mind humour in my books, I don’t mind a slightly irreverent way of writing or storyline, nor do I demand that everything should be deathly serious all the time. I expected the modernised language and comparisons when I picked the book up. And at first I was amused but then, when it simply continued in the same manner without breaks, I just got tired of it and longed for something else.
This is an OK book that could have been so much better.
I will not be reading the sequel.