9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2010
I don't know about you, but when I hear the following words I get goosebumps and a fluttery feeling in my stomach: dragons, elves, chimera, manticore, gnomes, dwarves and magic.
... Okay, so maybe I get that because I'm just a nerd.
But I can't help it! I mean, I grew up on Fantasy - from as early as I can remember I was fed The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I dreamed about furry-footed little beings and fantastical scenarios! So when I see what looks to be a good fantasy - I jump on it!
Lately I've been reading for my fantasy fixes some old authors, Tolkien being one of them, and some new-to-me-authors, Michael Sullivan and Brandon Sanderson. Now I'm adding Tracy Hickman to that mix and wondering how in the world I didn't start reading his books earlier!
In the interest of full disclosure though, I will tell you that it takes a while for this story to get started. I was a bit confused with all the strange names and concepts, but once everything clicked the story really moved and I was drawn in and devouring every little scene. This book had it all. Traitors? Check. Really mean bad guys? Check. Annihilation of entire races? Check. Slavery? Check. The little guy rising above it all? Double-check!
If you are in the mood for a good fantasy, this one will do it. However, it's the first in a series.. and the rest aren't out yet, so be warned!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2010
Hickman did a good job on the debut of this series, in my opinion. The story doesn't pace or structure itself precisely the same way as other hero-fantasy epics, making it a faster read and in some ways more SF thriller-ish in style. (The brutal elven characters remind me more of an alien race that has enslaved the planet than the more-typical magical rivals of the neighborhood fantasy creatures) The reader immediately dives into their horrific betrayal just as the characters themselves clumsily stumble into their own revolution, and every struggle against their evil, elvish oppressors is lush with the reluctant-but-valiant heroics we crave from the main character. Still, he--and especially the development between he and his broken, primary love interest--lets us down in ways that are written realistically. So you don't suffer through too much of that inner turmoil, "This can't be MY destiny, I can't be 'THE ONE'... yada yada yada..." without losing that hunger in your guts for the truth. Hickman generates a fantasy that is, refreshingly, directed more by the characters' perspectives than the descriptions of the fantasy world they occupy. Worthwhile read for fantasy fans...Here's hoping the next book is just as good!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2011
Song of the Dragon is not a book you bust through in one setting. It's a book you read slowly, savoring the complex characters and myriad cultures. A book were world building and history are as important as plot and pacing.
In Hickman's world, the numerous races have lost their memories and their free will to the all powerful elves.
Lest you expect Tolkienesque, angelic elves, let me warn you, Hickman does a fantastic job of twisting the fantasy genre's preconceived elves on its head. Here's his description of one of the elves great beauties:
"Shebin . . . unpinned her hair, which fell down around her shoulders, revealing the long bald strip typical of her race between her forehead and the back of her elongated crown.
Drakis drew in a sharp breath.
Shebin was easily numbered among the greats elven beauties . . . To Drakis, her wraithlike, angular, and bony form appeared hideously cadaverous--a living corpse whose fingers now lightly stroked his chest and body."
Notice the masterful juxtaposition of beauty and horror. He takes elements that our culture finds alluring--thin bodies, silver white hair pinned up with carefully styled curls--and shifts them a few steps further. Until they become gruesome.
All in all, a powerfully woven tale by a master storyteller.
And you, dear reader, can win a signed hardcopy in Feb 2011. Here's how:
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2010
Once humans had magic and alliance with dragons. Now they and other races have been enslaved by the elves of the Rhonas Empire. The elves suppress all the slaves' memories with regular House Devotions, using the magic of Aether Wells. These various races of slaves have all heard of the Drakis Prophecies. It is about a human named Drakis who will be a slave but will break his own bonds. The man will come out of the south and journey across the waters to bring back the glory of humanity that was lost and destroy the oppressors of the land. Yet House Devotions keep that memorable legend suppressed.
Drakis, a human warrior-slave of House Timuran, comes across a hiding dwarf named Jugar, who claims to be a simple jester. It is during this campaign that Drakis is troubled by a song. The melody plays within his mind and conjures visions of mythical dragons. Ignoring the tune, Drakis returns to his master with his prisoner. Then the Aether Wells shatter. All suppressed or altered memories surge forward. Most slaves go mad and several elven Houses fall.
The Ibilisi are the most dreaded hunter of the Empire. Keeper Ch'drei charges Inquisitor Soen with the task of finding out what happened in the Western Provinces. Soen is soon hunting Drakis and the six others that fled with him. The small band travel northward, following the song's lure. But even should they survive the long and dangerous journey, will they find dragons, a place to call home, or oblivion?
**** FOUR STARS! I have seldom seen a stranger group of refugees than this one. Three humans, a pair of manticores, a dwarf, and a chimerian struggle to find sanctuary in the far north. One of that group, known as the Lyric, may not be sane since her personality changes almost daily. I found that character to be the most interesting of the bunch. The authors keep the scenery changing, along with the type of perils Drakis must face. This keeps the pace brisk and the story interesting. Of course, being the first of a new series, many strings are left dangling for the second title to pick up. Readers need not fear of a cliffhanger ending. In my opinion, the story halts in a good spot. Yet I am eager to continue the journey to see what other surprises the authors have in store. A solid beginning to a new fantasy series. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2010
I first got involved in reading Wies and Hickman's work when I first read the Death Gate Cycle. Then I read Margaret Weis's Dragonvrald trilogy and, I was disappointed. The plot had more holes than Swiss cheese and characters that were ether bland and forgettable or just plan unlikeable.
So when I first picked up song of the dragon by Tracy Hickman, I was at first a little worried. However, when I read the book I read the book I was very satisfied. The story is about Drakis a warrior-slave. After killing the last dwarf king, Drakis finds Jugar a dwarf jester. Jugar frees him from his magical enslavement from his Elvin masters. He then informs Drakis that he is a legendary hero destined to overthrow the Elvin run Rhonas Empire. Drakis naturally doesn't believe in the legend but, it's the only thing he can go on while he and his companions travel to the north, while trying to evade recapture. All the while secretly followed by Soen, an An elf inquisitor for the Iblisi an order for keeping secrets from enemies as well as the empire itself.
The characters are well written which is Hickman's strong point, although they are a little one the stock side. While the book's races include: Dwarfs, elves (These elves are more Moorcock than Tolkien), and catfolk (he calls them manticores but lets call a spade a spade). He does make the chimera have four arms and have the ability to camouflage. The story moves at a good pace but there were a few chapters that I felt were unnecessary. This is Tracy Hickman's first book he did solo and, is of to a great start. I am eager to read the next in the series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2010
Great story with a fantastic premise of an enslaved society. The author does a very good job of handling destiny vs. choice. Very excited for book 2.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2013
It took me a few chapters to get into this one. It starts right into the action however, not the gripping way we're accustomed to. More of...."I have to keep reading to make sense of what I've read". Not their normal style. Once things got going, I found myself leapfrogging because I wanted to know the reason why they were acting a certain way...which was hidden until later in the story. Nice to have the ah ha moment, however the trend in this series is that it takes a while to get there.
Drakis, a committed soldier-slave of the elven Rhonas Empire has been at war for what seems like years, and he has not been to the house devotions in far too long. The ceremony puts his mind to rest, and reinforces his love for the Empire. But, after the destruction of the last remaining dwarven kingdom, everything seems to come unglued. A captured dwarf can seem to tell him the future, and after the magical well that support's his elven master's house is destroyed, he seems to wake up. The house devotions were actually a magical brainwashing device, a magical procedure that erased all memories of how brutal and sadistic the elves truly are, and now Drakis is remembering more than he wants to.
Collecting those few slaves that were not driven insane by the destruction of the magical well, Drakis and his band set off to find safety beyond the borders of the Empire. But, the Iblisi, a sort of elven secret police or Inquisition who guard the Empire from the truth (and strangely enough, guard the truth from the Empire), are on his trail, determined to end his run and put the truth back where it belongs. Many believe that Drakis is the man from an ancient prophecy, the man who will release the ancient dragons and overthrow the Empire. Drakis doesn't believe it, but if he and his band are to stay alive, he might just have to do exactly what the prophecy says!
Wow, what a great book! I love books that use the traditional fantasy races of elves and dwarves, especially when they are used in new and interesting ways. Well, just like Mr. Hickman's Death Gate Cycle, this book also takes the fantasy traditions and turns them...well, definitely on a new angle.
This book has some very interesting races. The humans and dwarves are just as you would expect, but the elves are marginally different. Also, Mr. Hickman introduces the lion-man manticores and the four-armed chimerians, which are very interesting races indeed.
But, best of all, the author does a great job of keeping up the suspense and the drama of the story from start to finish. There are so many interesting happenings, and exciting fights and chases, that the book is nearly impossible to put down! I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next installment of the Annals of Drakis!
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The elves of the Rhonas Empire are a sadistic warmongering race who practically made humanity almost extinct and subjugated all other sentient species like the Manticore, Chimerians and the Goblins. The Rhonas attack and defeat the Dwarves. Drakis the human and the rest of his warriors are slaves, controlled by Aether magic, are now fighting the dwarfs.. Drakis finds and takes as booty the dwarf Jugar; his magical artifact the Heart of Aer and his treasure for their master. Jugar takes the Heart of Aer and throws it at the House Aether Well causing the slaves to recall what their masters did to them re torture and degradation.
Drakis, two Manticores, two dwarves, and a Chimerian escape. Jugar preaches to anyone in contact with Drakis that he is the savior of prophecy. He believes the human is the one who will come again when he is needed most. He is gathering a following, but one of those who escaped with Drakis is a traitor while others are being killed by the Iblii (Inquisition) who have been in touch with Drakis and heard the message. Drakis is unsure whether he is the one from the prophecy, but will go to the Northlands where he should find either answers or death.
Readers learn about the various races through representatives who bring their respective culture alive without slowing down the plot. Drakis, freed from the enslaving Aether magic, keeps his sanity while others freed lose theirs when memories return to swamp their minds. He is a doubting Thomas but after the elves try to kill him, he vows to learn whether he is the Drakis of prophecy or just a namesake trying to rally the various enslaved races against the oppressors. Epic fantasy fans will enjoy the enthralling opening Annals of Drakis saga.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2013
Loved the story line and all the characters from their various races... Looking forward to book #2... Hopefully the rest of this saga will continue to be as magical...