Dragon Fate (War of the Blades) by J.D. Hallowell

Dragon Fate Book Cover Dragon Fate
War of the Blades #1
J. D. Hallowell
Fiction
Smithcraft Press
June 1, 2012
paperback, Kindle, audible
384

Dragon Fate, the critically acclaimed first novel in J.D. Hallowell's War of the Blades series, is a heroic fantasy adventure in the classic tradition of the genre. Delno Okonan is a young former soldier eager to put the swords and strife of war behind him, when a chance encounter leaves him inextricably entwined in a tangled web of dragons, magic, and intrigue, as he struggles to find his place among dragons and men, and stave off a plot by renegade dragon riders that threatens all he now holds dear. Praise for Dragon Fate " One of the] top five indie-published books you haven't read, but should . . . a well-written story that has everything a reader could want in a good fantasy." --Erin Eymard, New Orleans Books columnist "Excellent . . . really well-written and compelling." --Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of Rule and Ruin "If you are a fan of fantasy and dragon-lore, it would be hard to go wrong with Dragon Fate. . . . Action, adventure, and, of course, dragons. You will not be sorry." --Adam Byrn Tritt, author of "Ezekiel's Wheel"

Dragon Fate, by J.D. HallowellSummary

This was a beautifully crafted, traditional fantasy tale; one the whole family can enjoy. The magical weaving of the story, allowed for the reader’s imagination to take the lead, suspending all ideals of disbelief. Underlying the good versus evil scenario; there were journeys of self discovery, wrestling with internal disquiet, diverse range of emotions and fighting for ones beliefs. These themes were not only plausible, but realistic. Set within the fantasy genre gives this story a wondrous, colourful, holistic life and inner glow.

Analysis

The prologue establishes the inciting event, thus, laying the foundation for this exciting adventure. A devastating scene unfolds and becomes the catalyst to the underlying theme running through the entire series. It begins a chain of events that unknowingly began thousands of years previous. The dominoes were stacked awaiting the final touch, to start their journey.

The city of Larimar in the Kingdom of Corice sets the scene for the protagonists’ journey. A progressive, politically active society, that had until recently been defending against an incursion from the neighbouring, tyrannical Kingdom of Bourne. Delno the young war hero was the proclaimed protagonist. He had strong beliefs about war, justice, morals and ethics. He was however naive about the world at large. Inner conflict now was his driving force, unknowing of his place in the big picture of life.

Delno needed a purpose, a goal. He was answered thus, in a most unusual way. The key event appeared when Delno assisted an aged dragon that was egg bound, then unintentionally bonded with her unborn dragon. Eventually this gave rise to a unique protagonist duality status. Although they were two sentient beings; by the uniqueness of their bonding, they shared common goals, thoughts, feelings and experiences. They would soon discover that to survive and live to their fullest potential, they must understand and learn about their flaws from each other and how together, overcome all adversities.

The following adventures had a pleasing aesthetic quality, the harmony and rhythm remained smooth flowing. The tone was relaxed and humorous. The voice had an air of quiet, instructive reassurance about it. There are familiarities within the story premise; though it has enough uniqueness within, to ensure originality. The dialogue was natural and colourful, descriptive and witty at times. It had a moderate easy to read pace, and although simplistic in style, mystery enhanced the plot and gave character complexity and depth when required.

Word building remained solid, realistic, rich and inviting. There was a delicate mix of the differing dialogue styles and

P.O.V’s. Narration, conversational, internal monologue and descriptive, driving the story and the depth; allowing the reader to be captivated from page one.

The antagonist in the first book is an unknown quantity; breadcrumbs were left for the reader, inducing curiosity and an insatiable hunger to page turn. A foil was introduced; Simcha, a long lived dragon rider, causing conflict and complexity. He was written true to character and incited anger, mistrust and dislike. This hinted at a deeper dramatic function for the main antagonist’s character which was not revealed till book two.

All other characters, major, support and minor were true to their roles; endearing, creative, unique and introduced gradually as per the story required to reduce overload. Speech patterns, voice, thoughts, tone and delivery were skilfully utilised to delineate individuals. Reducing dialogue tags would only add to the cadence.

This novel introduced me to a world of wonder; that of the Indie Author. I thank you very much for allowing me to be a part of your journey within this realm. Mr J.D Hallowell you are a true master of storytelling.


Review

Criteria Relevant information Mark
1. Perception:
  • Theme is believable
    • Coherent and  Plausible
  • Society makes sense
  • Correct science facts if relevant
  • Correct fiction/fantasy facts
    • Correct Genre
    • Traditional/ New age Familiar/Originality
  • Style of the novel
    • Tone
    • Aesthetic qualities
    • Intellectual qualities
    • Emotional Qualities,(Tragedy or Humorous)
  • A beautifully crafted traditional fantasy tale; one the whole family can enjoy. Underlying the good versus evil scenario; there were journeys of self discovery, wrestling with internal disquiet, diverse range of emotions and fighting for ones beliefs. These themes were not only plausible, but realistic. Set within the fantasy genre gives this story a wondrous, colourful, holistic life and inner glow.
  • The city of Larimar in the Kingdom of Corice sets the scene for the protagonists’ journey. A progressive, politically active society, that has until recently been defending against an incursion from the neighbouring, tyrannical Kingdom of Bourne.
  • The magical weaving of the story, allows for imagination to take the lead, suspending ideals of disbelief. Where fiction and fantasy facts remain within their realms of creative possibility; and medical and biological facts are described vividly. There are familiarities within the story premise; though it has enough uniqueness within, to ensure originality. The tone was relaxed and humorous. The voice had an air of quiet, instructive reassurance about it.
  • The aesthetic quality; the harmony and rhythm were smooth flowing, moderate, easy to read pace. Although simplistic in the writing style, mystery enhanced the air of plot and character complexity. It was efficient, descriptive and informative.
  • A diverse range of emotions are described for characters and fantasy creatures. Very entertaining when human emotions are portrayed by mythical creatures.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

2. Grammar :

  • Writing skills/Quality
    • Flow- Fluidity/ transition from Narrative/Conversational/Descriptive
    • P.O.V.
    • Cadence ( Rhythm, pacing ,tension)
    • Dialogue tags
    • Tone ( Formal ,Informal)
  • Laziness/Sloppiness
    • Format issues, missing words
  • Syntax ( Language rules)
    • Word building
    • Sentence structure
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling errors
  • Various literary voice techniques utilised.
  • Narration Style: Third person P.O.V; E.G.  Delno discussing the world as he sees it. The voice of the narrator.
  • Conversational style: First person P.O.V; E.G. Delno and Geneva’s mind speech.
  • Internal Monologue style: Second person P.O.V; E.G. Delno internal voice of reason (Introspection).
  • The dialogue was natural and colourful. Personalities were individual and diverse. Sentence structure allowed for fluidity to the dialogue with seamless transfer from one voice style to another. The pacing was moderate, easy to read, narratives very descriptive and informative. In times of action, shorter sentences allowed for the pace and tension to increase gradually in line with the characters’ adrenaline rise and excitement. Word building remained solid, realistic, rich and inviting. Delicate mix of the differing dialogue styles; narration, conversational and descriptive, driving the story and the depth, allowing the reader to be captivated from page one.
  • A few too many dialogue tags could be dispensed with, although cadence was not adversely affected, there was already skilful use of signature actions and speech patterns to delineate characters within this novel.
  • Written extremely well, a few minor adjustments to be made to the punctuation with sentence runs. No spelling errors noted. Couple words missing.

5 Stars (5 / 5)3. Characters:

  • Number of characters
  • Delineate the Protagonist and Antagonist
  • Character development
    • Dimensions
    • Growth pattern
    • Roundness
    • Complexity/Depth
    • Familiarity /Originality
    • True to character role
  • Speech pattern
    • Voice, distinct
    • Internalisation ( How the character thinks, their thoughts to the narrative)
    • Tone and delivery in tune with the characters personality
    • Showing not telling emotions
  • Likeability/originality
  • There were many characters, though the main and major support characters were fleshed out appropriately.
  • The protagonist was Delno the young war hero with strong beliefs about war, justice, morals and ethics. Inner conflict was his driving force. Bonding with Geneva the new born dragon, gave rise to a duality status. Although they were two sentient beings; by the uniqueness of the bonding, they shared common goals, thoughts, feelings and experiences.
  • The antagonist in the first book is an unknown quantity; breadcrumbs were left for the reader, inducing curiosity and an insatiable hunger to page turn. A foil was introduced Simcha, a long lived dragon rider, with his bond dragon; causing conflict and complexity, hinting at a deeper dramatic function for the main antagonist’s character.
  • The main and the major support characters were grounded, and rounded out into three dimensional beings gradually, as the story depth increased. There was a diverse range of support and relationship characters, assisting in driving the story forward at an even pace. Traits included; the loyal, the brave, witty relief, young innocence, stoic solders, passionate, loving, jealous, kind, knowledgeable, misdirected and protective. Some static short lived cannon fodder was present also.
  • All characters were true to their roles, creative, unique and introduced gradually as per the story required to reduce overload.
  • Speech patterns, voice, thoughts, tone and delivery are unique for each character. Signature actions and speech patterns were skilfully utilised to delineate characters within this novel.
  • Most of the characters were endearing to the reader, the foil was written true to character and incited anger, mistrust and dislike.

5 Stars (5 / 5)4. Plot /Story line:

  • Structure arc
    • Inciting event/framing
    • Middle, apex
    • Ending
  • Crafting of plot/plots
    • Plot points
    • Purpose/Intent
  • Complexity
  • Convergence
  • Settings (Scenes & themes)
  • The story was beautifully crafted, rich, unique and full of emotions.
  • The inciting event was the tragic scene within the prologue; the killing of Corolan by the Roracks. This event will be the foundation, the catalyst to the underlying theme running through the entire series. The key event in chapter one, entices the main character Delno into the storyline. Engaging and endearing the protagonist to the readers.
  • The turning point for Delno was meeting Brock and learning to ride Geneva and control his magic. Politics and war.
  • Subplot: Delno and Rita.
  • Subplot: Foil, Simcha.
  • War would inevitably follow and being a natural born leader all would eventually turn to Delno.
  • The letter from his mother and consequences from there will define Delno even more so. He begins to take on the role/wisdom for the future that his grandfather commenced.
  • Many interesting plot points that kept the story movement in place.
  • Simplistic in nature yet there were moments of complexity with moral issues and subplots.
  • The main plot and sub plots converged together at varying points ending in the climax.
  • The settings were described authentically, the scenes were realistic enough to be believed and held mystery and drama which demonstrated sequence and consequence.

5 Stars (5 / 5)5. Bigger picture:

  • Strengths and/Areas for improvement
  • Reader involvement
  • Social/ethical dilemmas/morals
  • Reader enjoyment/Do you want to read more
  • Plagiarism N/A

Strengths:

  • Story telling definitely the strongest point.
  • Blending the characters and moral issues of:
    • War and its pro and against points
    • Self esteem, Internal confusion
    • Families and their destructive secrets
    • Understanding your place in the big picture
    • Different sorts of love that can bind you. All wonderfully portrayed
  • Structure arc and plot execution
  • Character development
  • Tone and POV
  • Descriptive writing
  • Inner glow that shines from within the storyline

Areas for improvement: (Very minor)

  • Dialogue tags, few may be deleted without compromising the story.
  • Gramma, a few minor adjustments to be made to the punctuation with sentence runs. No spelling errors noted. Couple words missing.
  • Map would be a nice added feature.
  • Reader enjoyment was extreme.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

Overall Rating

  1. Star Poor
  2. Stars Needs a lot of rework to make it better
  3. Stars Good but has some problem areas
  4. Stars Really good just couple problems
  5. Stars Excellent
Perception: 5 Stars (5 / 5)
Grammar: 5 Stars (5 / 5)
Characters: 5 Stars (5 / 5)
Plot: 5 Stars (5 / 5)
Big Picture: 5 Stars (5 / 5)
Average: 5 Stars (5 / 5)

Overall5 Stars (5 / 5)

Excellent


Genre: fantasy
Series: War of the Blades |