Sammy Hajeer asked me to read his novel "Dragon Hunter". It is a medieval fantasy staring Nexus Scarlet, a dragon hunter turned dragon-hunter by Blue Fang, and their two pronged offensive against an evil prince and a demon lord. I will examine plot, characters and polish and then assign a grade.
What we have here is a Take Over the World plot by Evil Prince Xaiver and Demon Lord Bol. In the first chapter they create a pact to help each other in their goals. There is also a broader conflict between humans and dragons as a whole. They're having trouble co-existing and seek to wipe the other out. The first conflict is the active plot while the second conflict is more like context that influences and informs the plot. This is well done because both work together to tell the same story instead of competing for page space.
The rising action for the main plot is a gradual thing. First there's a routine mission to bring down hostile bear, who turns out to be a zombie. Then there's unexpected trouble with a zombie dragon that involves much higher stakes and an evolution to the next stage. This leads to a climatic battle between armies. It's a great sense of escalation.
This book is a shifting narrative; the focus shifts between characters. There could be as many as four of these (Scarlet, Gregory, Bluefang and Xavier). I don't find this obstructive because they are all the same story. Like the two main conflicts, they wrap around each other and support each other. It doesn't feel like different stories occurring parallel. In either case, the majority of the story is focused on Nexus so the divergents are small.
There's good world building in both in the scenic detail, the location and structure of the countries/communities and the workings of the three magic systems. There's even an amusing running gag about Rowana swords and how they compare to Cavallan craftsmanship.
I like the end and consider it a great ending. It is conclusive, it is fitting, it feels natural, and the epilogue provides an intriguing twist on one of the character's true nature.
The protagonist is Nexus Scarlet. She was born from a prostitute and raised by a single father mercenary. This made her into a snarky realist kind of hero. She is a perfect balance between the golden goodness of The Cape character archetype and the annoying angst of other heroines I've read with darker and more troubled backstories. When confronted with a problem, say, forcibly transformed into a humanoid creature with blue scales, wings and a tail, she is neither wangsty and despairing nor cheerful nor apathetic. She adapts with minimum fuss.
Bluefang is fun to read. She is a dragon renegade because of her mischievous streak, free spirited nature and affection of forbidden magic. Like Nexus she has an inner core of heroism which is covered in layers of whimsy, disrespect, independence.
Xavier is what you would called Laughably Evil. He has a flippant demeanor when he does his kin slaying and undead army leading. He also a funny habit of giving the people around him simple and/or silly nicknames because he can't bother to remember their real names. He's competent with a sword and presumably strategy/tactics as well but the reader sees less of that.
I can't finish this section without talking about Gregory. He is a mage (and many other academic professions) and his point of view is one reason why I don't mind when the narration shifts to his prospective. It is more academic than the others, both in the words he uses during narration (it's still 3rd person) and in the sentence structure. It's like he thinks in essays. He's also a badass bookworm who thinks nothing of entering a bad guy bar and requesting information from one of the thugs.
On the whole, this story is good on polish. The scenes transition nicely, the battles are clear, there is no trouble telling who is speaking at any given time etc. However, there are a number of typos and/or grammar errors. I'd say the final count is about 6 across 289 pages. There's also an occasion where I think the author confused one character for another. It involves the death of one of the characters so I don't want to mention it here. This is beyond what I normally dismiss as "human error" but given the unobtrusive nature of the errors and the general polished state elsewhere, I'm not going to mark down the grade.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Dragon Hunter" by Sammy Hajeer an A+
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This is a free review request. I received nothing in return for it except a free copy of the book.