Book Review - Dragon Champion

The best way to become a good writer is to become a good reader.

━probably a lot of English teachers I've had along the way.

Greetings, y'all. With the genesis of this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to share the works of fiction that have inspired me, encouraged me, frustrated me, bored me, etc. Even works that I detested are works I can learn from to better my own writings.

Today we're examining Dragon Champion by E. E. Knight.

The story follows a dragon named Auron, starting at his birth and following him on his adventures through the land he lives in.

The easiest way to sum up this book is to imagine that you and I are sitting down at a coffee shop together and you ask to know my life story. Instead of skipping over or abridging the more boring parts of my life and giving greater attention to things that are truly interesting, I give everything the same weight. By the end of our coffee shop visit together, you've received about 400 pages of my life, when really it could have been cut down to 150.

The fact that I was reading the book over a period of 3-4 months says a lot about how boring it is, especially considering it's not that big a book. There are lots of side characters that come in and out of the story as Auron meets them and runs into them again, but after finishing the book I found I only cared about one of these reoccurring characters. Many of them I forgot about, and when I finally remembered the others, my question remained "They didn't really have any impact on the plot, did they?"

Besides the very slow and boring pacing of the book, I also have a problem with how Auron's quest is handled. After he has to leave his home, he sets out to learn the "great weakness" of dragons, and this quest is the main driving force of his wanderings for a substantial portion of the book. Eventually he forgets about it, which does bother me a little but it also feels realistic; how many times have we forgotten something incredibly important, only to be reminded of it later?

My problem is that he's never reminded of it, even when it turns up again. Once the great weakness is revealed in very plain words by the villain . . . nothing happens. Auron has no reaction. There's no pause in the writing or in the dialogue. He just lets the villain keep going without any interruption whatsoever, and there's no reaction afterwards either. The reveal is in the middle of this huge paragraph of dialogue, and if I had forgotten about the quest like I did a lot of other elements in this book, I would have completely missed it.

The only aspects of the book that I would consider interesting are the world that Knight has created and the climax (aka, the last 60 pages). Because this is only the first book in a six-part series, I would assume the world (especially the new culture that's addressed in the climax) will be expounded upon in the later books. But I can also assume that the other five books in this series are very similar to this one, and that is enough to deter me from coming back to finish the series.



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