Please Note: I received a free copy of Dragon Speaker from the author Elana A. Mugdan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way, and all thoughts expressed are solely my own.
Dragon Speaker (The Shadow War Saga #1) by Elana A. Mugdan
Published July 15, 2016 by Pen Works Media
Born into a world of magic wielders without any powers of her own, Keriya Nameless isn’t exactly hero material, yet the goddess Shivnath chooses her to save the world’s last living dragon. She doesn’t know why it happened, and frankly she doesn’t care—this is her chance to prove her worth.
Unfortunately for Keriya, countless others are determined to get their hands on that dragon—everyone from smugglers to kings, from the Empress of Allentria to the most powerful warlord who ever lived.
It would be a perilous task for even the bravest of heroes, let alone a naïve 14-year-old-girl, and as Shivnath’s chosen dragon speaker, Keriya quickly learns that she’s at the centre of an age-old war . . . a war that will decide the fate of everything.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a high-fantasy novel. And when I say a long time, I mean a looooong time. I’m pretty sure the last one I read was Eragon, and, well, that was the book that started my love of reading. So yeah, it’s been a while.
Let me just start by saying that I am in absolute awe of the world that Elana has built here. I applaud the amount of work and imagination that has gone into bringing the whole story to life. It’s very obvious that both the world and the story have been born from something that the author is very passionate about. It’s hard not to fall in love, because there is just so much depth and complexity to it. But it’s that complexity that took away from the novel. Well, at least for me, anyway.
Keriya Nameless was born into a world filled with magic wielders with no magic of her own. Coupled with her otherworldly appearance, she has always been labeled as unworthy of a place within her village. On the day that the children set out to become a part of their society, she sets out to prove them wrong. All she wants is to prove that she belongs, but little does she know that her world is about to change in more ways than she could possibly imagine.
After a run-in with the goddess Shivnath, Keriya is chosen by the mighty being to find and protect the world’s last living dragon. It is up to her to keep the dragon from the hands of the countless others who want to use the dragon’s power for their own. With two reluctant sidekicks by her side, Keriya is forced to leave her home, and set out on a quest that will throw her right into the middle of an age-old war.
It’s with this novel that I’ve discovered that perhaps high-fantasy just isn’t for me. Now, I’m a real sucker for books set around epic quests and adventures, so I was upset that when I first started reading this book, and had to actually put it down after the first 80 pages or so. On my first attempt, I struggled and struggled to make sense of everything that was being thrown at me, from the vastness and history of the world itself, to the magic system of its inhabitants. It just became a little too much for me to handle, and it was a month before I managed to pick it back up again…
When I did return, I was completely immersed in both the world and the story. Having that break really did benefit me, because knowing just how complex everything was, gave me a a chance to mentally better prepare myself. In saying that though, I still suffered from a lot of confusion, but I was able to follow everything more clearly than I originally had.
The magic system was easy enough to understand for the most part.The system is elemental-based, and some people can control certain threads of the elements (just think of the benders from Avatar: the Last Airbender).
But then the magic did go deeper than that, and I wish that a lot more of it had been explained. Perhaps it will be in the later novels. I’m still not sure that I have a complete understanding of the war that plays a big part in this story, but I think that I could easily continue the series with no more than a few minor mishaps.
It might be worth mentioning here that when I was nearly finished with the book, I discovered just how much of an idiot I really am. So, sometimes I flick towards the end of the book to see roughly how many pages I have left to read, and that’s when I found it.
THE DAMN GLOSSARY.
I mean, to my defence, pretty much all of the books that I read don’t come with either a glossary nor a contents page. And I don’t like it when books come with a contents page, because I feel that chapter titles give away spoilers. But anyway, so much of my confusion would have been obliterated if I had even thought to check! Of course, by this point it was no help to me because I was so close to the end. So here’s a helpful hint if you plan on reading this novel: KEEP THE GLOSSARY TABBED.
Confusion aside, one of the things that I adore most about this novel is the character development, and how each of the side characters were just as important to the story as Keriya herself. They all had their own flaws and quirks, and I loved seeing each character grow into themselves as their stories progressed.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, despite the mishaps I faced along the way. Although my final rating is only 3 stars, I don’t want anyone to be put off by it. I didn’t rate it any higher than purely because of my experience alone. Had I not taken a month-long hiatus from this book, I probably would have upped the rating to 4 stars.
I can’t wait to see where this story is heading to next.
Do any of you guys love fantasy, but struggle with high-fantasy? If you have any recommendations for getting into high-fantasy, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time,