This review applies to the entire trilogy of the Dragoneers, not just the first book. The series is a really good YA trilogy, with real characters who have real foibles, dreams, fears, desires, unkind thoughts and everything else that comprises the range of human emotion. There are no “Mary Sues” in this saga. The female characters are smart, strong and emotional; the male characters are confused, brave, and scared. They are all elated at the bond they share with their dragons and absolutely terrified of the alien menace that reveals itself gradually through all three books. There is no “magic bullet” or “super-mage” that comes along to make an end to the devastating problems faced by all characters (not just the Royal Dragoneers). The solutions come along gradually with trial and error; various other entities decide to help or not as the story unfolds. I would definitely recommend this series (and the short stories that accompany it) for anyone whose teens/young adults are looking for something other than vampires, magical solutions, or werewolves but still want to read good fantasy.
The Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl contains the first new novella from the author of all the Sacred Band of Stepsons stories and novels in 25 years! To those of us who followed Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons through the Thieves’ World shared universe series and then off on his own in the Sacred Band ‘Beyond’ novels, having new material to devour is absolutely the greatest treat imaginable. New characters are introduced, some who had joined the band from The Sacred Band of Thebes in “The Sacred Band” written in 2010, wherein Tempus goes back in time to rescue the 23 pairs of fighters whose remains were not contained in the cenotaph erected to honor the Sacred Band of Thebes, where they were killed, to a man, in the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C. Some new characters enter the picture directly in ‘the Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl” and we are treated to some new information about some new and some older characters.
Tempus takes the band north out of Sanctuary, he hopes for the last time, and uses the journey to help the newer members become assimilated into the new United Sacred Band of Stepsons, and so he can also get to know these new members a little better. Since this book additionally contains a number of short stories originally appearing in Thieves’ World, the author has employed a unique form of integration by writing interstitials that continue the story of the new journey and bring the older information into the book in a cohesive format that new or old readers should really enjoy.
The writing in this book displays the finest standards of Janet Morris and her husband, Chris Morris, when exploring the character Tempus and allowing the reader to see into his motivations and learn more about this amazing group of warriors. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for lovers of fantasy, sword and sorcery, science fiction and epic fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed this new book and the old stories as they were set within the framework of explaining to the newer members of the band how certain things came about, before they encountered the band.
New or old readers of The Sacred Band and Thieves’ World will not be disappointed!
Making a realistic and reasonable action story out of an incredulous plot takes a very deft hand. David Leadbetter has done this in spades with “The Bone of Odin.” The action is everything you want with none of the usual tangents into boring descriptions of weaponry – people shoot with guns, cut with knives and rappel with (okay, fairly fancy) ropes. He brings together a cast of characters who each have distinct and separate but well-defined personalities and none of them are larger than life or superhuman. Quite the contrary. They come with foibles, fears, worries, families and all the rest of the baggage that adheres to humanity.
If you want a fun, exciting, well-written book to hold you enthralled for several hours and make you forget everything else going on in your life – just for a little while – this is the book.
I can’t wait to start on the next Matt Drake adventure.