Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: sin
Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/20/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Alternate Universe/Alternate World, Fantasy, Gay Romance
Trystan is an unchosen angel—shunned by society, bullied, and without a future. In a hidden well, Trystan discovers a carving of a dragon, who were once the commanders of demons and now believed extinct. But Trystan learns the carving doesn’t depict an ordinary dragon. Stories tell that millennia ago, the great dragon Asagoroth and his demon army nearly conquered the three realms but was killed by the five elders. The powerful angels combined their life forces to cast a spell, sacrificing their lives.
But history is full of falsehoods. The five elders only managed to imprison the dragon, and Asagoroth had cast his own spell—one of releasement. It only needs the blood of an angel to liberate him from his cage….
Asagoroth, enemy of angels, conqueror of realms, is free. But even as the angels prepare for war, the great dragon surprises them with an ultimatum: hand over the angel who awakened him or face annihilation.
The plot of this book basically follows the tried and tested knit pattern of many a fantasy novel. There is good vs. evil; order vs. chaos; magical secrets and doomsday prophecies; a youthful, underdog hero who is destined for singularity; epic battles with all the bells and whistles; betrayal, dangerous journeys, unlikely alliances and miraculous salvations. All familiar elements yet fleshed out in a unique way and set before the imaginative background of the Three Realms.
There were many aspects of this book that I really liked. The writing, for one; even though the prose tended toward purple at times, the words sucked me in and made it all come alive for me: the cold, ordered, sterile splendor of the angel’s city, the dark, fiery chaos of the demon world and the wild beauty of the middle realm. Then, Asagoroth the dragon/ demon lord, who was such a fierce, powerful being and yet had so much tenderness in him. I loved the twists and turns of the plot; some of them took me completely by surprise and kept me turning pages, eager to see what would happen next. There were adorable little moments, particularly in the way Asagoroth cared for Trystan and kept him safe, and breathtakingly suspenseful fight scenes.
However, I had two big issues with this book that spoiled an otherwise very pleasant reading experience for me. The first, and biggest, was Trystan. As far as I’m concerned, he’s one of those archetypical adolescent heroes that so many mainstream fantasy novels put forward. And not only is he a somewhat cookie-cutter naïve innocent, his constant shilly-shallying with Asagoroth really bugged me after a while. Yes, he’d been an Unchosen, unwanted and constantly told he was worthless all his life; yes, there was this whole backstory with Asagoroth’s past, yes, he was young and insecure, I got all that, but after it had been mentioned one way or the other for the first dozen times, it got a bit much for me.
The other thing was the ending; I won’t say too much in order to avoid spoilers, only this much – while certainly imaginative and even kind of cute, I found the conclusion of this story just… corny.
So, if you like high fantasy, epic battles and dragons, if you like fated mates and chosen-savior scenarios, you can’t go wrong with this book. It’s not overly long, but it certainly packs a lot of story into its less than 50 k words.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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