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Havemercy Hardcover – June 24, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jones and Bennett vividly convey the testosterone-saturated world of fantasy fighter pilots in this fast-paced debut. When the stereotypically Asian Ke-Han threaten the Volstov empire, graduate student Thom is sent to rehabilitate the Dragon Corps, an ersatz air force of rebellious, violent young men who fly enormous metal dragons animated by magic. As Thom struggles with his task, challenged most by the brutish ace Rook, the Margrave Royston, banished for an illicit homosexual affair, befriends Hal, an innocent but brilliant tutor who eventually becomes Royston's lover. These four join minds and skills to solve the mystery of a devastating plague and defend Volstov from the foreign army. The insular corps culture of combative homoeroticism and masculine archetypes dominates the book, as female characters fade far into the background. Despite few surprises or original flourishes, Jones and Bennett credibly bring the decadent empire and its inhabitants to life. (July)
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From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—The cities of Volstov and Ke-Han have been at war for more than a century. Volstov's flying Dragon Corps (think motorcycle gang with wings) is its greatest weapon. Made up of a ragged, motley crew of young men who don't fit in anywhere else in the community, their nightly raids cause havoc and appear to be getting the upper hand, with victory seemingly near. Then things start to change; "the girls"—as the dragon riders call their metal steeds—seem to be "off," unable to communicate, and start behaving as though their riders were complete strangers rather than the almost mind-connected teams they had been. The magicians of Volstov are also plagued with illness and affliction. What is causing the devastating shift in the 100-year war? Who or what is behind the massive change in the balance of combat? Perhaps it is the intruder from the 'Versity who has been stationed inside the Dragon Corps to find out what makes the riders tick; or maybe the Margrave's new lover has thrown the world out of whack, and he is the reason for the magicians' disease? All parties will have to work to save their kingdom, using cooperation and teamwork to do it. Fans of epic fantasy novels will be pleased with this one.—Joanne Ligamari, Rio Linda School District, Sacramento, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; 1 edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553806963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553806960
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,680,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Clio Tandy on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've been waiting for quite some time for this book to come out and, though I was initially disappointed by the sheer size of it (a rather unimpressive 388-pages, a quarter of the length of your average Harry Potter book), once I opened the book and immersed myself in its story, I was hard-pressed to pull myself back out again.

Havemercy details the intertwining stories of four very different people: Royston, a magician who has been exiled for dallying with a foreign prince, Hal, the adorable country tutor put in charge of watching over him, Rook, the lewd, crude pilot of Havemercy, the fiercest dragon in the Dragon Corps, and Thom, a young student unluckily roped into attempting to introduce the Corps to a trifling little thing like manners.

The book is extremely slow to start, spending much time, as with all fantasy novels, building up the world and introducing the characters. Action scenes are minimal (I think there were only two of them, possibly three) and the last, perhaps the most exciting, battle took place off-screen, leading to a rather anti-climactic finish. The book could have benefited from the use of a glossary as I've finished it and still have no idea what a 'bastion' is in this world, aside from functioning as a frequently used curse word. However, thankfully, the good well outweighs the bad.

The cast of characters are colorful and memorable. My favorite among them was Hal, whose bright eyes, desire to learn, and unwavering devotion to Royston make him as endearing to me as he is to the Margrave.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Maria on July 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Havemercy starts a little on the slow side as you jump between the four characters who narrate the tale. However, once the momentum builds this becomes a complete page turner. It's hard to categorize the book. Fantasy? Yes. Romance? Well, sometimes. Humor? It's laugh out loud funny at times. Action? Entirely, but you'll wish it had more by the time you weather your way through the final portion of the story.

The dragons you'll encounter are unlike the usual dragon-fantasy-fare. But the wildest creatures in the book are by far the Airmen who man them.

While the plot contains male/male romance, it comes across very naturally. It's sweet and well-crafted and shouldn't limit this story from being shared with a broad audience.

Ms. Jones and Ms. Bennett have crafted an amazing first novel. The dialogue is fresh, funny, and very witty. You'll find that each of the four main voices comes across unique--to the extent that it's amazing that the characters sprung forth from two minds and not four. (Or more.)

At the story's end, you'll be craving more--especially since a handful of very minor characters are absolutely begging to have their stories told.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By bookstealth on August 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm just not feeling the great enthusiasm. I thought "Havemercy" was an interesting spin on some SF tropes and it was really impressive as a first book. The writing was graceful but the book just wasn't more than mildly entertaining for me.
First off, the book was badly unbalanced. The plot was condensed into a few chapters. The book started out slow, which is nice for world building and all, but it took way too long for anything to happen. The action picked up about 3/4 of the way through the book. The action scenes were few but nicely handled but the ending was shamefully rushed.
Second, the world building was sketchy and confusing. The actual role magic played in the society was barely implied. We get a clear view of the power/political aspects used by the emperor but the general society was barely limned in. The three adjoining cities, bearing womens' names, were little more than caricatures. Molly was the slum. Yeah, got it already. What was trade in this society? How much, if any, social mobility was there? There were a few glimpses--young Hal escaping rural isolation, vicious Rook somehow being chosen by his mechanical/magic dragon--but overall the world building was careless at best.
Third, too many of the characters were flat and sterotypical in a novel that's very character-driven. The romance between naive Hal and older Royston was charming in an old-Harlequin-Barbara-Cartland mold. Hal was the essential pure, blushing virgin to Royston's damaged, worldly self. The slow seduction was sweet but corny because neither of the characters were anything more complex than types.
Unfortunately none of the other characters rang true as real people either.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tyler on March 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm always looking to find new authors. Whether that means they are new to writing or I am new to finding them does not matter, but I enjoy finding a new author. Jones and Bennett have a great first effort here. I see one reviewer already went pretty deep into the plot so I will not bother.

The characters are compelling and you will come to care about them. Honestly, I was surprised at how fast I liked many of the characters. Usually it takes a while to settle in. The world is fairly laid out but I would like to know even more about it. The story is a little slow yes, but can every book be an action novel? We have to have our dramas too. If written right, an argument can be just as climactic as an epic swordfight.

I have only two complaints. One, there are a lack of female characters. The book is fairly male focused the whole time. I have no problems at all with homosexuality in novels at all but the sheer lack of female characters was a little shocking. Also my biggest complaint is . . . I want to know more about these characters and what happens in their future.

Hopefully the sequel is a direct continuation of the same characters. If not, hopefully we get some more details on them at least. If you are a fan of fantasy and don't need a ton of action in your story (and you don't mind same sex pairings) I would recommend you pick this book up.
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