First of all I should say this is not an ordinary review request: this is the sequel to Trapped on Draconica which I previously rated highly. I was looking forward to this and so I was glad to accept an advance copy from Dan Wright. It did not dissapoint. Legacy of the Dragokin is a fantasy in the same vein as its prequel; largely traditional but a unique flavor.
The premise of the story is a group of evil dudes are released from their magical prison and it's up to the heroes to stop their rampage. It doesn't sound original (and it isn't) but it develops differently from standard fare. There is no central hero, there are villain groups independent of the released evil dudes with drastically different motives, and it is more about personal conflict than 'large-than-life epic' battles and adventure. However, there are a number of problems that I will address at the end of this review.
The previous story's hero, Daniar, now has a son named Benji and he is the new protagonist. However, instead of being a kick-ass hero he is instead a Tagalong Kid. This is because he is ten years old and his mother is overprotective. Said mother is no longer the hero herself because her focus is split in three directions: past trouble, current trouble, and keeping Benji out of trouble. Lydia, a little girl in the original, is now a young woman and steps up to the plate as a soldier but she shares the spotlight with her role model, her grandfather, her step-grandmother and other characters. Taken together, there is more a 'hero team' than a single hero. This splits the screen time more or less evenly and prevents one person from appearing like 'the problem solver' and the rest like 'superflous backup'. This is often a problem for stories of this genre and so it's nice to see Dan avoiding it.
Another problem this genre often has is the set of evil dudes are a single organization with a clear hierarchy and power structure. This often leads to a monolithic group distinguished primarily by their threat level. That is not the case here. There are as many as five independent villains in this story and none of them are allies. In fact, they're just as likely to fight each other as the heroes. Because of this, they're not adverse to allying with the heroes against other villains. On TvTropes we call this a Gambit Pile Up and it adds great depth to the story.
Everyone has their motive and they crash into each other. Just as the villains attack other villains, the heroes attack other heroes because of personal drama. There is one scene in particular where Finn and Kalak get into a serious (as in, swords drawn and swinging) fight because one such powder keg exploded at the wrong moment. One can watch the flaming fuse burn all the way to the scene and then it goes off and they're fighting.
Now for the problems. There are two big ones: plot and prose.
1. There is a scene where a Red Shirt does something stupid that leads to a lot of trouble for everyone. The soldier's superior officer immediately points out just HOW stupid so the stupidity on the author's part is diminished and the soldier's choice IS understandable but still it bothers me.
2. The prose is imprecise. There is 'actually' and 'quite a bit' and 'almost' and other word cruft that could be removed to strengthen the sentence. As is, the prose feels immature. Like I said above, I received an advanced copy so it's possible Dan will remove these before the launch on the 24th.
The prose is annoying but it's 'hang nail annoying' so its affect on the rank is minor. The plot's idiot ball would have a greater effect if not for the lampshade hanging and the understandable nature of it both in-universe and out.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Legacy of the Dragokin" an A
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