Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: Warrior (Bryan Davis)

Note: Possible spoilers for Starlight.

The black egg has finally hatched, and Taushin, the dragon prophesied to become prince, emerges with plans for his reign. But first, he requires Koren the Starlighter to achieve his plans, and to be his eyes, as he is blind, according to the prophecy. Elsewhere, Elyssa and Wallace work to free the slaves on Starlight and return them to Major Four, while Jason treks northward to find additional help, and Randall and Tibber join forces with the dragons Magnar and Arxad to stop the usurpers on Major Four.

The plot of Warrior doesn’t have a main point of conflict, really, but all of the POV characters have their own obstacles they need to overcome. Instead of a mutual villain that must be removed at the climax, the story spreads out information we need. It provides a lot of backstory, and there are enough twists in it to keep it interesting and engaging and not feel like an info dump. It’s spread out with action and adventure too, to keep the story engaging and suspenseful.

Jason, Koren, and Elyssa each have nice character development. Jason and Elyssa learn from their mistakes, and they are both the wiser and humbler for it. When Jason was taught a valuable lesson in the story, I could feel the shame he felt. I’d done nothing, but I understood the lesson he was being taught, and I felt embarrassed with him when he understood. With Koren, the values she believes in are attacked by Taushin’s influence, and while she struggles to remain unyielding, she seems to take hold of her beliefs more strongly, even when Taushin’s manipulation seems to overcome.

While there isn’t a main villain for all of the protagonists to face, Taushin asserts himself as the villain readers should worry about in the future, even though his interactions are only with Koren. Taushin is an interesting villain. He speaks in ways that make sense at first, ways that sound truthful, but one might suspect there’s something he’s not saying. He’s manipulative, but he does it in a way that seems gentle and caring. However, he is also not afraid to become harsh too.

We get a little more worldbuilding in Warrior, and it often coincides with the backstory and other information we receive. We see more dragon technology, and some of it seems connected to more magical properties than mechanical. The size of the dragons themselves still feels unsure, for me at least. I think I’ve figured that on average a dragon is 40-feet long, snout to tail. Otherwise, I can’t tell how big the dragons are exactly. When a dragon slaps a human with a wing I expect the human to go flying across the room, but it seems little more than if a fellow human had slapped them. We also receive a bit of dragon history, but there are missing pieces still, enough perhaps to draw readers to the third book.

Violence/Gore: Humans are enslaved by dragons, and they have been whipped and mistreated. Dragons are slain. There are a few skirmishes, but nothing is described in great detail. A character receives serious burns on their hands, and one character is tortured (but again, there’s not great detail).

Profanity: If any, it is only referenced.

Sexual content: It is mentioned a few times that the dragons force human women to have children with human men, men they likely are not married to.

Other: The dragon prince, Taushin, manipulates Koren to submit to him. He uses the safety of one of her friends against her to get her to cooperate.

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