Saturday, November 19, 2011

The First Dragoneer (M. R. Mathias)

The First Dragoneer
(Prequel to The Dragoneers Saga)
M. R. Mathias
Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, YA Fantasy
**+ (Bad/Okay)

DESCRIPTION: The mountains of the Teeth, on the edge of civilized human lands, teem with dangers... but, in pastoral Prominence Valley, life marches to the slow, monotonous beat of the seasons. As a farmer's third son, seventeen-year-old March must go forth into the world to make his own fortune. His best friend Bren, sole male child of his horse-breeder family, can only look forward to a long, dull life in the valley of his ancestors. But the day of their parting is weeks away. For now, they can enjoy one last hunting trip together. And, as it's their last, they want it to be a hunt to remember!
Little do the boys know just how memorable their hunt will be. What starts as a boyish dare - to venture beyond the ridge of the Teeth, beyond the kingdom's boundaries and patrols - will end in tragedy... with one life hanging in the balance, and one changed in ways no Prominence Valley boy could imagine.
(A Kindle exclusive title.)

REVIEW: O, the siren call of freebie downloads... This novella, a prequel to a series, tempted me with decent reviews and the promise of dragons. Sadly, it's not so much a stand-alone novel as an extended teaser, an incomplete enticement to the saga of the dragoneers. The clunky narrative, rolling back and forth between the boys without warning, would have benefited from the attentions of a good editor... or at least a halfway decent proofreader. After heel-dragging and meandering, it finally picks up a little momentum... only to end with an illogical, out-of-the-blue leap onto the back of the series premise, without even trying to resolve the threads of its own story. A good half of the download proved to be a preview of the first full-length Dragoneers book. Having been disappointed by the story (and characters, and writing style) of The First Dragoneer, I didn't even bother trying.

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