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The Dragonscale: Book One of The Arbedenion Trilogy Kindle Edition
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Sadly, I can't judge ONLY on story, but I have to take the writing into account as well. This is where the book fell a bit flat.
The story looked like a "rough draft", without all the polish and shine that makes a story readable. I had a hard time getting past the VERY simplistic writing, and it completely ruined my enjoyment of the story. You'll see in the excerpt below what I mean.
The book had quite a few anachronisms--for example, there was a "Bengal tiger" in a land where there is no India or Bangladesh to give it its name. The speech patterns were a bit off. Some situations that should have been formal were far too informal, and the personalities and character traits often clashed with each other.
A few clichés were present (dwarves being named after rocks being just one of them), and A LOT of typos and grammar mistakes. For the writing alone, I have to give it a 2-star rating.
Which leaves us with a 3-star rating--GREAT story, iffy writing.
For me, the elves seemed to fill the spot that humans usually fill in a typical epic fantasy story. At first this caused me some concern and confusion as I'm used to reading elves who speak and behave very differently than the usual 'farmer-slash-peasant who lives in a fantasy village'. But, this unique portrayal of elves proved to separate them from their usual 'rarified' depictions in both literature, genre and film, where they can almost always be counted on to step in and save the day in some glorious glow of light and obtuse language. I ended up quite enjoying Feldman's elves, who came complete with their own set of heartbreak, foibles and petty behaviors. Although, it should be noted that this is the type of elf that might not appeal to everyone. Some readers VERY MUCH love their CGI-smoothed faced elves sitting around great tables in fantastic lands, speaking in florid sentences and generally looking down on anything that is not an elf. Feldman's elves want to save the world, for better or worse, and are not afraid to show their emotions, whether it be happiness, fear or mindless screaming when things don't go their way in wartime.
One caveat: It is very, very difficult to create dragons who are both ancient and wise and elemental and fierce without having them end up speaking like Worf on the bridge of the Enterprise. Hats off to JE Feldman for writing her dragons as just another character in a very full roster of characters and using a natural speaking style for all.
I very much enjoyed The Dragonscale and see it as rising above the crowded field of first time epic fantasy writers in both its scope and the amount of imagination put into building the complex world of Arbedenion. If this is any indication of where JE Feldman will be as her writing style grows and matures, I am very excited for the next offerings in the Arbedenion Trilogy!
That being said, the writing was not as polished as I would have like. I think the author has the potential to write great things and this is a solid start.
I look forward to reading more from this author in the future!