This is a review of “Dragon’s Ring” by Dave Freer.
Tasmarin is a place of dragons, of humans (who often end up as dinner), and other magical denizens. It is a place of islands, forests, mountains and wild oceans. Fionn calmly tells anyone who will listen that he’s going to destroy the place. Of course he’s a joker, a troublemaker and a dragon of no fixed abode or hoard. No one ever believes him. He, however, is dead serious. While others drive to refresh the magics that built this world, they need a magical representative of all species to accomplish it. Even a human mage – the very thing the dragons made sure to exterminate centuries ago. They do find one, however, she has fallen in with Fionn and he has his own reasons and dark designs. Chaos, roguery, heroism, theft, love, kidnapping, magic and war follow. And more chaos.
The entire universe of this world wis very well made up, and very complex. It reaches across several paralell worlds even though the story takes place in only one, and there are a lot of species on this one world alone. All the habitats of the various species were visited, and all of them vary enough to be interesting and relevant to the species that lives there.
Out of the characters, Fionn was the most complete one. Sarcastic, small and smart, he flies rings around everyone else. Literally in some cases! It is obvious that the author has spent a lot of time on him, and he was a very funny character to read about. Meb was almost as good, marred only by her very sudden change. The love story between mountain and sea was a nice touch, and Vorlian had potential but kind of fell flat at the end.
The end itself, though, was very good.
I did find a few spelling mistakes, and some of the sentences are short and sudden. It is as if the thought was only put down quickly and not elaborated on. The story is a bit confusingly written and built up, as well with far too many characters showing up but then simply sliding away. I don’t mind many characters in epic fantasy, but this story is a humourous one and the constant plans within plans within plans within plans breaks with that.
The plans and the characters don’t get enough time to be properly built up, to be what they were supposed to be. Evil characters didn’t stay evil, didn’t get the chance to stay evil, and that was a bit annoying. The war that was being hinted at, the end of the world that was being hinted at, it never happened. Everything was solved just a bit too smoothly to be properly believable.
We also get odd bits of info-dumping in places we don’t need them, and not enough information about the things we need or should know about. All together this only adds to the confusion of the book. The sheer luck the main characters have in avoiding danger is a bit ridiculous. Meb herself can be a bit annoying in her wishy-washy way at the start, but then suddenly towards the end she has a rather sudden change of character into something more confident. Like the rest of this book it’s jarring and doesn’t quite fit.
All in all it is an amusing adventure and has potential, but it isn’t the best that I have ever read. I am doubtful if I will ever read the second book in the series, the story seems fine enough as it is to me. I don’t feel the need to read anymore of it.
It was an okay book.