Dragon Soul (Havemercy) Mass Market Paperback – May 24, 2011
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Sweet Sorrow" by David Nicholls
"With fully fleshed-out characters, terrific dialogue, bountiful humor, and genuinely affecting scenes, this is really the full package of a rewarding, romantic read."—Booklist Learn more
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“I’ve read and reread this series. I think it’s great.”—Charlaine Harris
“A superb addition to a series that I hope will keep going . . . [Dragon Soul] took me in and I could not stop reading it until the end. There is something magical about these books.”—Liviu Suciu, Fantasy Book Critic
“Jones and Bennett have reinvented dragons yet again, this time in a steampunk context. . . . These ladies write like a house on fire.”—SF Reviews, on Havemercy
About the Author
Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett wrote their first novel together, Havemercy, over the Internet—Jones in New York, Bennett in British Colombia. They now shuttle between apartments in Brooklyn and Victoria, B.C., which makes their collaboration much easier.
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Here's the thing: I love this series. But this book fell short of the previous two. Like Havemercy and Shadow Magic , Dragon Soul is narrated by the alternating first person views of four main characters. Two of them, Rook and Thom, were also narrators in Havemercy. I love these two characters. The two new ones, Madoka and Malahide, are what brought the book down for me. Practically every time I got to their parts, I fell asleep. I just didn't care about them as characters, and maybe that's my bias, because I was already so committed to Rook and Thom's story. They both seemed very unoriginal. Malahide referred to others as "my dear" a lot, which was one of Shadow Magic's Caius trademarks. Madoka's personality was too much like Rook's. And Rook, Madoka, and Malahide, at some point in the story, all thought the phrase: "the universal sign for ________". What are the odds of three different characters thinking this exact same phrase? Apparently very high.
One thing I love about the series is how great the characterization is. And even though this has always resulted in more description than dialogue, it never negatively affected the overall story for me until this third installment. All too often, discussions were mixed in with such long, descriptive analyzations in the current narrator's mind that by the time he or she answered, I would forget what the other person had said or what the conversation was even about.
On a more positive note, I enjoyed Rook and Thom even more in this book, something I didn't think possible. It was great reading about their influences on each other. I loved when they met magician Sarah Fleet, Havemercy's maker. And could anything be more heart-wrenchingly bittersweet than when Rook and Have get to say goodbye?
So, to sum things up, I really do love this series. Therefore, I would recommend this book, but I know that when I get around to rereading it, I'll probably only go through the Rook/Thom parts. I've been a fan of the authors for a long time (I'm talking back to the Shoebox days), but for me, this book was 50% awesome and a 50% snore-fest.
For starters, the bad guys are incompetent, having come up with a nonsensical plot to resurrect one of Volstov's mechanical dragons by putting back together some bits and pieces left over from the war; as you'd expect, the scrap metal they salvage doesn't exactly fit together well, and they're only able to fashion a mutant dragonlike creature that would never have gotten them anywhere. In addition, their *only* hope of even partial success hinges on a huge coincidence involving Rook's physical location. Luckily for them, he's wandering around right in their neck of the desert. Then, when they're finally getting close to bringing their crackpot plan to fruition, they get all panicky, whip up a sandstorm, and botch the whole thing. Argh. With enemies like these, you haven't got much to worry about.
Then there are the characters. Rook is the most entertaining, but he's a poor man's Mildmay (read Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths series if you haven't yet, and you'll see what I mean). Thom and Madoka are okay, and Malahide and Kalim are disasters. Malahide is a psychopath on a mission, and is about as sympathetic as a crocodile. Kalim is a mishmash of every stereotype we've got of the romantic and honorable Bedouin prince--he's a knife fighter locked in a bitter feud with his brother, but he's handily defeated by the hero (Rook) and is oddly passive when Rook starts pushing him around a little later. He rescues the entire party at the end, just like a good native helper, and plants a big kiss on Malahide, whom he has recognized as a trans woman. I kept expecting him to pull a magic carpet or a genie out from under his camel, but he didn't.
I suppose I can't really recommend this book. It's good for some amusement, but I'll forget it soon, and without regret.
Top international reviews
Again I found the characters of Rook and Thom rather boring. Their story this time, however, was much more interesting, so I found that element an improvement. The other 2 new characters in this book, Madoka and Malahide, I also didn't find particularly interesting. The interaction between the two became more interesting as the book went on, but it was very near the end of the book when i started actually liking them.
This book was a real down point for me in this series. The first and second books (Havemercy, Shadow Magic) both had characters, stories and interactions that I found interesting and fascinating, but this book the characters just didn't do it for me, and character, as you can probably tell, is very important to me.
But the storyline itself was really good. We mainly follow Rook and Thom on a journey to try and find Rook's dragon, Havemercy, and the brutal journey they endure in the process.
So although I didn't enjoy this book as much as the others, the writing style of Jones and Bennett is still fantastic, and don't let my review put you off reading the series, especially the first 2 books, because they are truly wonderful books with (mostly) wondeful, loveable characters.
Wie bereits in den ersten beiden Teilen der Serie wird auch in DRAGON SOUL die Handlung aus der Perspektive von 4 verschiedenen Charakteren geschildert: wie in HAVEMERCY kommen Rook und Thom zu Wort, außerdem treten mit der Zauberin Malahide und dem Ke-Han-Straßenmädchen Madoka erstmalig zwei Frauen als Ich-Erzählerinnen in den Vordergrund. Malahide erinnert mit ihrer oft mitleidlosen Skrupellosigkeit etwas an Greylace aus SHADOW MAGIC; mit Mandoka ist zumindest ein Charakter von Seiten der früheren Kriegsgegner mit im Spiel.
Die Geschichte lebt von den Gegensätzen der beiden Brüder, die auf ihrer Reise mehr schlecht als recht miteinander auskommen. Thom, immer eifrig um die Anerkennung seines Bruders bemüht, wirkt linkisch und unbeholfen, was dem schroffen Zynismus seines Bruders reichlich Material bietet, der damit seine Wut und Trauer zu verbergen sucht. Mit einem neugewonnenen Ziel ihrer Reise blüht Rook förmlich wieder auf, und in der Wüste unter rauhesten Bedingungen, auf dem Kamelrücken reitend und mit einem Wüstenprinzen kämpfend ist Rook in seinem Element, was durch die selbstironischen Kommentare Thoms noch herausgestrichen wird. Gegen diesen überragenden und lebensecht wirkenden Charakter bleiben fast zwingend die weiblichen Gegenstücke etwas blass, auch wenn Madoka für ihre außergewöhnliche Tapferkeit noch einige Sympathiepunkte sammeln kann.
Der Plot erinnert in weiten Strecken an eine Episode aus "Die Jäger des verlorenen Schatzes", wenn sich mehrere Parteien auf die Jagd nach einem verlorenen wertvollen magischen Artefakt machen und sich dieses immer wieder abjagen und sich in immer neuen Variationen in die Quere kommen. Bei dem Talent, das die beiden Autorinnen mit ihrem Fantasy-Debut 2008 unter Beweis gestellt haben, hätte man etwas Ausgefeilteres erhofft.
Insgesamt liegt die Stärke des Buches in der überragenden Charakterisierung Rooks und im Verhältnis zwischen den beiden Brüdern ebenso wie in einigen kleineren Szenen, die für den Plot nicht immer von wesentliche Bedeutung sind, z.B. die Begegnung mit dem Wüstenprinzen und wie der notorische Frauenheld Rook am liebsten eine unförmige Zauberin entführen möchte, die ihn an Havemercy erinnert.
Der Plot an sich wirkt etwas schwach und sparsam ausgestaltet; gäbe es nicht Rook, hätte die Geschichte 3 Sterne bekommen.