Monthly Archives: February 2011

Dragon Blood

Tonight, I’m starting Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs, so that will be my next review.

Dragon Blood by Patricia BriggsDragon Blood by Patricia Briggs

Tonight. Ha. Week and a half later, I started and finished.  Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs is sequel to Dragon Bones. In the first one, Ward of Hurog’s father dies, leaving him heir. But he’s been acting stupid for the last 8(?) years so that his father wouldn’t kill him. So, now he has to go prove himself. Eventually, he aids the southern province against invaders, because High King Jakoven won’t do anything. Then he goes home. And so ends Dragon Bones.

Begin Dragon Blood. In the beginning, Ward is in Hurog, rebuilding the keep that fell down at the end of the last book. A love interest arrives, which is interesting because there wasn’t any love interest type stuff in the first one. But, the love interest arrives and spurns Ward’s advances. Not because she doesn’t love him, but because she thinks she’s too tall and unattractive. Personally, I think she’s being a bit dense because he’s several inches taller than her and has already declared his love. Anyway, the girl is on the run from the king, Jakoven, because she knows a lot about the rebellion that’s attempting to happen. I say attempting, because it’s not official yet. Everyone knows, but nothing’s been declared. This is because if Alizon (the king’s uncle) declares war, he and his supporters will be immediatly crushed. If they can persuade Ward, and through him, Hurog, to help, the whole northern province will also fight-but only because of support of Ward. The secret is, however, that Alizon isn’t the one they plan on making king. It’s actually Kellen, the king’s younger brother who has been in an insane asylum for the past 11 years.

Well, the king decides Ward is also insane-because he acted that way for so long and sends him to the Asylum also. And there really begins the book. There are some really expected things, like the outcome of the final battle and the attitude of everyone towards Kellen, but also some really unexpected things. At one point, a small detail plays a huge role. I noticed the detail, but unlike normal, I didn’t think about how it could be important-that’s how small of a detail it is. I would call it a Chekov’s Gun, but it’s not a gun, and it’s not there from the beginning.  So, of course, there’s a long lost magical weapon that has suddenly been found, by the evil guy, of course, and only the hero can activate it. In that sense, the book is like every other fantasy novel ever. The characters are believable, but very…put into roles. No truly unexpected decisions, that I can remember, forced me to rethink my image of a character. My favorite character is definitely Garranon. I just really like him, despite his role at the beginning. He’s the most tortured character, because of Jakoven, and also the one with the most reason to hate him, except maybe Kellen. I also really liked Tosten. I might have that spelled wrong. Ward’s brother, the bard. He’s funny and laid back, but can still motivate Ward enough to keep him on track. Jade Eyes is my least favorite character. Not only because he’s evil, but because he’s so one sided. He torments Ward. End of personality. Even at the end, he continues as simple villain, but his motivation and back story is never really explained. I guess he’s trying to replace Garranon in Jakoven’s eyes, and the name is purposefully mysterious, but he’s TOO mysterious, in a bad way.

Over all, very excellent book. You definitely need to read the first one first though, simple for place name familiarity if nothing else. Enjoy.

Next, if I pass my math test tomorrow, is River Marked, also by Patricia Briggs. It came out today, and my friend Savannah wants to borrow it. Let’s see if I can get it to her by tomorrow.

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Filed under Fantasy, Young Adult

Sitka

Sitka by Louis L’Amour is the book I’m currently reading. It’s a typical L’Amour-tall, strong, ruggedly-handsome man who is above-average in fist fighting, shooting accuracy, and draw speed fights against the big cattleman, or in this case, Russian-only Alaska access company, and falls in love with a gorgeous and apparently unattainable woman. His name is Jean LeBarge, and his father-did I mention, his main characters normally have famous or infamous fathers-is either missing or dead. He keeps being mentioned, so I’m thinking that the father is going to show up at some later point in the novel. I don’t know if Louis L’Amour ever spent an extensive amount of time in Alaska, so I’m interested in seeing how he deals with a setting he never personally experienced. Of course, knowing him, he probably did sneak in several years of prospecting between the military and the shipwrecking. I’ll repost when I finish the book and decide whether my guesses were right.

I saw at least 7 different covers, but this is the one I have:

Sitka by L'Amour

Edit: Rather than repost with the final verdict, I’m just going to add it here. From now on, I’ll actually finish the book before reviewing it, which makes more sense anyway.

Interestingly, and I don’t really consider this a spoiler, since probably no one in the world but me even thought it in the first place, but the father never returned. This makes me sad, because the number of hints given as to the possibility of him still being alive were numerous, but possibly deadlines and how the plot unfolded made that avenue impractical.

The book is set in Russia, mostly, as stated before, in the 1860s or thereabouts. As many books by L’Amour, Sitka is in the  Western genre, and though there are no cowboys, it fits the genre very well. The descriptions capture the beauty and wildness of Alaska as well as the vast expanses of the sea-for Sitka is also a sailing novel. Though the plot is rather predictable, the twists that are there completely surprised me. At the end, I found myself grinning at the…can I call it Epicness? or perhaps Boldness…of the story.

The characters are also truly believable. Zinnovy, who ends up as the main villain, is just as ruthless and immoral as any villain should be. I don’t actually know what he looks like, because I often seem to ignore character descriptions while I read, but in my mind I see a fox-like man with short greasy black hair and cold eyes. Jean LeBarge, whose name I have trouble distinguishing from Jean Valjean and…someone else whom I can no longer remember (See, Ms. Dennis, I used ‘whom’ right! Unless I didn’t. In which case, I’m going to fail my next grammar test…). Anyway, he is a typical L’Amour character. As said above, he’s strong and ruggedly handsome. He also is well spoken, smart, quick-thinking, a good judge of character, and not afraid to fight. Sometimes, his apparent lack of faults becomes annoying, but Zinnovy’s evil determination makes LeBarge seem much better. Helena, the love interest, which most stories have, I have mixed feelings for. Her relationship with Jean evolves quickly, and I feel some of her parts are kind of forced.  My favorite character? I’d have to say is Count Alexander Rotcheff.

It’s around 350 pages, depending on the edition, and was originally published in 1957.

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Filed under Western