Dragon Jousters is a unique series set against a backdrop of dark magic, war and slavery. Crafted with strong Egyptian influences, it is also a world where dragons fly the skies and man enslaves them. That is until a lone Jouster discovers that there is a better way....
Epic Fantasy Series Review by Mulluane
♦ The Story. If I had to choose a word that describes this series best, that word would be "discovery." Every book explores a different part of the world. Each book chronicles the journeys of the protagonists from teen to adult. And each book builds upon Mercedes Lackey's beautiful dragons.
The dragons are the key. If there was ever a story that centered on dragons it is this one. These are lovingly depicted realistic dragons. They themselves are not telepathic. They do not breath fire. They are not magical. They are not even tamed or controlled easily. It takes patience, back-breaking, trust-building, time-consuming --work.
This series made me fall in love with dragons all over again.
♦ What I Liked. The first two books were priceless. Rich with meticulous world building, sympathetic characters and unique dragons. I found myself frequently singing the book lover's refrain. "Just one more chapter, just one more chapter!"
This series starts out as a coming-of-age tale. It is almost a rags to riches story, but not quite. More like, life takes a turn for the better with the potential of more to come. Book two adds in a strong female lead, a new type of dragon, more detailed world building and a chance to see the war from both sides.
I also liked the fact that in this series, there are few easy answers. It is a tale which definitely trumpets the virtues of hard work and self sacrifice. There is magic. The black magic coming at a terrible cost, the good magic having benign uses like predicting earthquakes and communicating to animals.
Said communication is awkward at best since it centers around basic emotions from the animal in response to projected images and strong emotions from the mage. Helpful but as is typical in the series, not an easy answer.
♦ What I didn't like. This series had so much potential. There is a core story of good versus evil, in true epic fantasy style. There is a refreshing change of venue that provides a nice break from your typical medieval type fantasy.
Unfortunately, despite a strong start, I struggled through the latter half of the series. By book three the writing became too formulaic and frankly, boring. (The story, not the dragons!) Fortunately, the ending pulled the bacon out of the fire just before it crisped and burned. It was a close thing. I almost didn't finish book four.
The main problem was, I lost connection over time. There was also a nagging feeling that I was only getting part of the story. I'd have certain expectations about story development, based on preceding events and the blurb, only to close the book thinking I must have missed something. What I was missing may have been there. Even now I'm not sure.
I'm afraid that my loss of connection with the characters, and my single minded focus on everything dragon, simply made the rest of the story fade into obscurity. Long and short of it was, I lost interest. In the war, in the characters, in the magic and even in the world building.
The good news is, and without giving out any detail, there is actually more to the story than I was being told and it made for a surprising ending. I am glad now that I didn't give up, but I feel it would have been better if there had been some kind of slow build up to the conclusion instead of a sudden, and somewhat rushed, unexpected chain of events.
♦ Conclusion. I can not, in all fairness, rate this series based on how wonderful the dragons are. They were a solid five, but the story was a level three rollercoaster ride of extremely good to extremely boring and everything in between. I go into a bit more detail in the individual reviews, but here it is in a nutshell.
Book One, rocked! Book Two was a close second. Book Three is where I lost my empathy with the characters and the plot started sprouting holes like swiss cheese. Book Four was more of the same until the final battle where some exciting events and unexpected drama takes place.
My best advice is as follows.
If you want to read about some of the most credible dragons I've ever seen, I highly recommend this series. If you are intrigued by an epic fantasy set in an Egyptian type landscape, I suggest reading at least the first 2 books. If at that point you are deeply invested in both the characters and the main plot, by all means move on to the second two books. I'm glad I did. The ending was definitely worth it.
Ultimately I consider this series as a must read for any diehard dragon fan, even if you only read one or two of the books.
Joust #1 ~ Alta #2 ~ Sanctuary #3 ~ Aerie #4
|Author: Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Content: Dragons, Coming of Age, Magic, War
Series: Dragon Jousters
Source: Personal Copies
|Amazon Affiliate Links|
Buy: Joust ~ Alta ~ Sanctuary ~ Aerie
Cover Art: Jody A. Lee
Author's Web Presence:
Webpage ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Blog
All are available in Kindle
See individual reviews for more information.
More Great Epic Fantasy Series
Epic Fantasy Series Summary of Dragon Jousters by Mercedes Lackey - Reviewed by Mulluane - on November 12, 2014 - Rating: of 5 Stars