Thursday, April 30, 2015

Briggs' Heroic Fantasy: Dragon Bones

Dragon Bones, Patricia Briggs
I am a very big fan of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series.  Even talking about it gives me a fluttery, breathless thrill recalling how much I enjoyed those stories  I can recall feelings I had in response to each and every villain so clearly still!

So when my dad mailed us a copy of another, earlier Patricia Briggs novel (albeit addressed to Haki), there was no question I was going to read it.

Now, the Mercy books are urban fantasy, and consequently have a modern, easy-to-imagine setting, names and dialogue.  Dragon Bones features a more traditional, medieval feel, as well as:
  • So many foreign names attached to people, places, and politics (and without a glossary or map).  
  • A hero I only sort of liked.  I definitely disliked his adversaries, and wanted good to triumph, but I felt I was willing him to be better so much that it detracted from how much I cared for him.  
  • Paranormal content, which I think made the story better.
  • A fairly slow story, but well told.  Things improved from half-way, but overall, the novel felt like a slower, earlier work with less masterful pacing than I expected, from Briggs.
  • Good ideas.  There were some really interesting ideas, but at no point was I enchanted or swept away by the narrative the way I was with books 3 onwards, in the Mercy series.  In fact, I doubt I'll read the sequel.
Overall:  I think big fans of traditional fantasy novels (like Legend) will enjoy this more than I did; maybe even love it (like my dad did).  For me, it was only okay.
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