Demonhome is the final book of the Champions of the Dawning Dragons series, which is the third series in the Mageborn saga. My review for the first book in this series is here. My review for book two is here. My review for the earliest series (Embers of Illeniel) is here. My review for the central series (Mageborn) is here. This book was also my 2018 October Book Cover of the Month.
Spoiler Free Summary: Matthew Illeniel is the first wizard in his family to possess the true genetic heritage of his namesake. Using his strange ability to travel between worlds, he goes to another world to seek out the strange new mechanical enemies who plague not only his time, but were the an ancient enemy of the alien race. (I can’t spell their name correctly, and I can’t find their name in the time I have). Matthew must survive in a world that’s been taught to fear and hate magic of any kind. And that fear will lead to a stronger enemy his world might not be able to beat.
Character: I like Matthew. He’s not as great a character as Moria, but he is fun. I think he’s a far more effective supporting character than a main character. I feel this way because he doesn’t actually have a lot of conflict in his life. He’s accepting of his status and goals. He’s confident in his abilities. It’s awesome seeing him work, but he’s too powerful and content for me to really connect with him as a character. That said, he is still a great character (just not as great). His impulsive nature gets him into some tense situations, and his intuitive creativity (an obvious trait from his father) is fun to watch. No, I’m not worried about him, but it is a lot of fun watching him get out of the situations he’s in. It feels a bit like watching an episode of Doctor Who. I know he’s gonna live, but I don’t know how.
Exposition: This probably had more exposition than a normal Manning book, but I attribute that to the fact that we’re introduced to an entirely new reality. He still does this masterfully, he just had to orient his readers to this new area. More often than not, he let’s Matthew’s ignorance give us the comedy and understanding the reader would need.
Worldbuilding: Probably Manning’s second-best attribute (character is easily his first). This novel just shatters the already large scope of this universe to an exponential degree. Using parallel realities just opens the door (or in this case doors) to countless possible avenues of entertainment. As large as the scope of this universe is, it’s not overwhelming. It expands naturally, allowing us to enjoy the characters Manning so masterfully crafts.
Dialogue: Maybe not Manning’s best skill, but the dialogue is still far better than other stories. The thing that impressed me is that in a book like this, I’d have expected a lot of the dialogue to be thinly-veiled exposition, and there was a lot of that, but the bulk of the dialogue drives into character and personality. Part of the struggle is that these characters are young, so a lot of the topics are melodramatic.
Description: As always, Manning’s work is visceral. Description played more of a role in this story, and Manning upped his game accordingly. There are some cool things that happen here, and his style and timing really allowed this part of the story to sing.
Overall: I think this story started of slow. I fought through the first ten percent of the book because of how much I love the series. However, once I hit the fifteen-percent mark, I was excited to see where it was going. This is amplified by how much I like the series, but it was a satisfying conclusion to this trilogy. It also set up the next series well. Fans of the whole series will like it much more than newcomers. This book got me excited for the next set of books.
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