Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands. Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon's Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured. Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging....
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If the blurb didn't forewarn, I'd have expecting leathery wings and gargantuan reptiles. This series, however, puts a new spin on the beasts of legend. In human form for generations, the dragons and their human and fairy allies face demonic foes in a protracted war on all fronts.
The focus of the story revolves around the rebirth of a dragon Prince. I wasn't a fan of this character, due to his arrogance and attitude towards others, although it was clear this was the point of him, so it certainly did the trick. I'm happy to say that he does develop throughout the story and that development is set to continue on through the series, from what I can see, intriguing me more.
The narration was hesitant at times, but improved as the story was told. I look forward to seeing how the performance improves through the second book, which I will be listening to soon.
There's plenty of action and intrigue, twists and turns in this fantasy story. Magic and monsters, betrayals and alliances. A well rounded world building that promises more of the same in the following books.
I give the narration 3-4 (start to end), and the story a solid 4. Some of the supporting characters won me over, which led to some emotional lows as well as mirth filled highs.
Check this beginning to an epic tale out, and explore dragons in a more vulnerable form.
Firstly, I would like to say how much I love the cover. Once in a while I come across a book, or audio book, where the cover is a work of art. The Dragon Blade has been detailed to an amazing extent and just looks absolutely fantastic for a piece of cover work. Very striking, I simply can’t speak highly enough for the art work.
The book itself is very well written. In fact, I class the writing to be of a very high standard and the storytelling skills of the author are right up there as well. I enjoyed the plotline and, even though you could see a few things coming, I don’t feel a total lack of surprise spoiled any of my enjoyment at all.
There are, as with any piece, negatives. For me, I just didn’t quite click with the narrator and I probably won’t seek out other books narrated by him. For the most part he was very good and had a very strong voice. My main concern was that, at the start, I just felt as though his vocal range was very limited. I struggled to differentiate between which characters were speaking as, for a couple of characters, they sounded very similar if not the same. This wasn’t just at the start but it was more prevalent as, for a new listener unfamiliar to his voice, it is far more noticeable than when you get used to it for a few hours. He does the action-packed moments very well, it’s just the more slower parts he seems to lose his strength on.
Another slight negative for me was the prologue. I just felt that absolutely nothing was gained by having it in and that, considering several other parts were done as ‘looking back in time’ style moments, I felt the prologue could have been done the same somewhere further along. It also (the prologue) had a ‘videogame tutorial’ feel to it which initially soured me to the piece. I did enjoy the book as a whole, so I am glad I pushed on from what I considered a shaky start into some solid writing and storytelling.
With ‘Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King’ the author takes on a fairly unique way of dealing with the main character, Darnuir, Prince of Dragons. When mortally wounded, the risk of the royal line becoming extinct is all too real and, as such, a human wizard casts a dangerous rebirthing spell that essentially ‘resets the clock’, turning our prince back into a baby and curing him of the wounds that plague him. Darnuir is one of those characters that you can’t help but like as a character but, had you the chance to know him in real life, you would probably not care too much for him. This blend of love/hate makes him an interesting character to read/listen about. The supporting cast of characters are also very diverse and enjoyable aspects of the tale. They range from human hunters and wizards to fellow dragons (all dragons are in human form, might I add) and even frost trolls and blue-skinned fairies, the latter of which will differ greatly to what your pre-conceived notion of a fairy is. Miller has a flair for the battle scene, and, with everyone that creeps up, the reader/listener can’t help but look forward to them. Unlike some books where you just know the characters will survive every encounter, Miller’s battles have a bit more uncertain realism to them and you are quite simply left wondering if the characters you have been getting attached to will make it through to the other side.
Continuing on with the battle aspect, another drawback, for me at least, was the villains. We are told that the demonic horde of the dark lord Rectar are the bad guys. This is good. Everybody knows that demons are a bad thing so it is a natural fit to have them as an evil entity in a fantasy work. My main drawback is that I quite simply didn’t care or feel very interested about the demonic side. In every book I read, I like to know about both sides of the coin, yet in this series, so far, I only know about the good guys and that they are fighting a dark lord who has a few disgruntled servants. I can see that Miller is trying to make me care about the jockeying for power going on in the evil camp, but there just wasn’t enough put into it to make me have more than a passing interest. Miller does give you more information on the demonic side than I am perhaps making it sound, but that information comes in roughly the last 5th of the book with minute smatterings before. This is purely a personal niggle of my own, but one that I have nonetheless.
I also don’t feel, when there is a fight on, any sense of wonder at the battles due to knowing very little about the horde. I enjoy the fast-paced action and writing style, but not the clash against good and evil as, at the end of the day, they are just a horde. If one hundred demons die, does it matter? If a thousand dies, does it matter? I know it’s hard to get a sense of feeling for an army of tens of thousands, but I just feel as though I would have enjoyed it more if I had a bit more sense of feeling. In Miller’s defence, he does do this with one aspect of the Demonic Horde. A certain red-clad entity does have me very intrigued but, and I feel bad for saying this, that is the only aspect of the demons that I have an interest in.
I feel Miller ends the book well and has me very curious as to where the next book in the series will go. I have already seen positive reviews within the blogging community regarding the sequel, so I have high hopes for it. If I was to hope for anything from the 2nd book it would be a fleshing out of the demonic side, which, considering that started to happen near the end, I would fully expect. I also look forward to seeing how Danuir handles the sword. Other aspects regarding the special blades seen in Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King, have me rather excited