X VanArsdale

Books

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Smashwords book reviews by X VanArsdale

  • Draykon on Jan. 03, 2012

    I liked this story, I found the premise of a world that existed on three separate yet simultaneous planes, and interesting one. I wanted to like the book more. For me there was a slight but important disconnect in the story I think the author was trying to tell, and the words that eventually made it to the page. There were too many times where I found myself wishing for a map to pinpoint my location, or clearer descriptions of the animals and beasts that populated these strange lands. Did they look like us despite their strange names, or where they wholly unfamiliar constructs. Admittedly there is a fine line in what detail is too much and leaving nothing to the readers imagination, but whenever the characters were alone and moving through unfamiliar territory I felt even more lost and adrift than they must. And that brings me to the main character Llandry. A Jeweler of great talent she discover a mysterious stone she dubs 'istore' and begins making jewelery out of it. Most of the rest of the book just seems to happen to her, there are a few times she takes an initiative, but on the whole she come across as a weak, overprotected self indulgent brat. And frankly not at all worthy of the amazing transformation the end of the book bestows upon her. It seems there should be a reason for such a damaged person, and yet we are given no clue what might have caused the change in the eleven years that elapses between the first chapter and the next. Saying all that she is however a vivid, fleshed out character, made more evident by the less dimensional characters around her. With the exception of her mother, who is portrayed as woman who rarely doesn't get her way. Playing counterpoint to Llandry is Eva, a woman of power, both magical and political. I liked Eva. And I found myself thinking that if I wasn't going to learn the things I felt I needed to know to learn about Llandry to hold my interest there, I could most easily read a story simply about Eva and her quest for the source of the istore and the murderer plaguing her city. I have to say honestly that Llandry's transformation at the end of the book was a bit of a shock, and a bit of a disappointment. To have a connection with the dragon, certainly, but to become one? I don't think it's something she deserved. Having said all that, I know this is just the first in a series, and I will likely, for story's sake, likely take a stab at the next one. I would give it an extra half star if I could, after all there were some compelling characters, and there is so much potential here. Oh yeah, and dragons.
  • Let the Dragon Wake on Jan. 30, 2012

    While looking for something different to read the description for this caught my eye, I was intrigued. After the first page I was hooked, after the first chapter I was entranced, but also harbored a secret fear that the lush, literary writing wouldn't be able to hold true for the hundreds of virtual pages of this novel. My fears were proven unfounded. For those who say fantasy cannot be literary I put forth this amazing work as the proof that would invalidate their arguments. For those who say that e-books aren't 'real books' and must be of a lower quality because they didn't kill a tree to be read, I challenge them to read this book on a green device and still argue the same. Let the Dragon Wake may be fantasy, but if you strip away the magic, it stands at its heart a story about simple people, complicated fates, and most importantly love. What does it mean, where do they find it, what will they do for it and to protect. It's also a story about the absence of love, the cost of loving and loosing, or of never knowing. From the fall of a single man to the city resting on the back of a dragon built tall enough to literally see heaven's gates. Under the skilful hand of this author the reader is given the chance to glimpse a world where magic is both fantastical and mundane, and where every breath, while unlikely to be your last, is certainly the beginning of something new. Best book of the new year. A rare five star creature, I would offer this up to any fantasy fan looking for something magical.