Book Review: Dragon Fate by E.E. Knight

Book Review: Dragon Fate by E.E. Knight
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The cover image for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  Dragon Fate by E.E. Knight is the final story in the Age of Fire series. War has cost every species, and ancient magic is now being used to take the war to a new, terrible level. The age of dragon rule has become a desperate fight to avoid extinction, and now the three must unite, or everything will fall.

Character:  I think this is where a good series is separated from a great or amazing series. In Wheel of Time or Mistborn or Dragon Riders of Pern, the final books of the series culminate a growth that leads to an added level of fulfillment. I felt the three met their growth in the fourth (arguably the fifth) book. While there was a lot of great action and cool stuff going on, the characters journeys had ended. When a character’s magic dies, the story dies with it. Now that sounds like I hated this book, and that’s not true. I very clearly remember enjoying this story. It felt like bonus footage, but I don’t for the life of me remember anything that happened. That’s because I remember things (and I think most readers remember things) in relation to the characters. Oh! I couldn’t believe it when Character let go of his fear/hate/bias/ego and did that thing! This may have been much better as a visual medium (anime/movie). You see, the visuals take over, and it’s still enjoyable. However, in the written medium, the storyteller has no real power to maintain the wonder. I suppose there are some who want to read pages of fights and action. I’m just not one of those people. I love it in a movie or anime, but it’s still more powerful when the peak action aligns with the peak of the character’s arc. This is why I remember liking Age of Fire, but it’s not anywhere near my top favorite sagas.

Exposition: Again, the above section may feel like I hated it, but that’s not true. The story still flowed beautifully. There wasn’t any drag or long blocks of exposition. Knight is a real pro at balancing content with information.

Worldbuilding: Knight may be a pro with exposition, but he’s a master world builder. I will say that fans of meticulous world building and lore will love this saga even more than I do. This story completes the “history” of this world, and that gives it a value that (even if I don’t appreciate it) I have to acknowledge. In fact, if you’re a writer and you want to pursue sagas like those of Tolkien, Jordan, or Sanderson, you should definitely add this series to your list to study and emulate.

Dialogue: This is probably Knight’s weakest area. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his moments (book 3). But I don’t remember any of those charming moments or powerful conversations. The dialogue just sort of moved the story along without really impacting it. That’s good in that it didn’t drag the story down, but it’s bad because it didn’t elevate the story either.

Image by Ebert Studio taken from the Penguin Random House website bio for the author. This image was taken for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Description: Knight is great with landscapes, scenes, and fight sequences. He provides a set and lets your imagination fill it in, which is exactly what I look for in description. He probably leaves more to the imagination than some readers would prefer, but I was more than satisfied.

Overall: As I started thinking about this series, I remember how I enjoyed it and that the ending satisfied me. I’d compare this series to a visit to my favorite fast food place. The meal wasn’t better than anything I’d ever had, but I was satisfied, and I know I can always go to it if I’m feeling the desire. While I view this as a compliment (and not even a back-handed one), I can acknowledge that it’s not the resounding praise I’d want if I wrote a six book saga. But we can’t all write Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. By comparison, a great many other stories would be found lacking or (in my opinion worse) derivative. However, on it’s own merit, there’s nothing wrong with a book series that was just “good” rather than “great.” That’s what this series is. I’d certainly recommend it to any who haven’t read it, and I’d especially recommend it to aspiring authors who want to study world building and point of view writing.

Thanks for reading

Matt

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