book reviews by Althea

The Dragon Round – Stephen S. Power ***

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The Dragon Round
The Dragon Round by Stephen S. Power

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bumping up to 3 stars for the first half of the book, which I really liked: a salty nautical yarn – with dragons! Captain Jeryon is a seasoned merchant – his priority to to get his cargo where it’s going, and to avoid the threat of huge dragons which are more than capable of setting ships aflame and sinking them. But dragons are also insanely valuable – everything from their hide to their ichor is a valuable commodity, enough to make a seaman’s fortune. So when Jeryon orders his crew to flee from an approaching dragon, rather than trying to battle it and (hopefully) sell its rendered corpse, he has a mutiny on his hands. Soon, he and the ship’s medic-for-hire are marooned on an isolated island, and left for dead. Their diminishing hopes for survival only stoke the fire of Jeryon’s desire for vengeance.

This beginning, and Jeryon and Everlyn’s Robinson-Crusoe-style adventures on the island are highly entertaining and well-crafted.

However, the second half of the book really loses focus. From a tightly circumscribed tale of two people alone on an island, it dizzyingly adjusts the lens, increasing the scope of the novel to encompass a wide-ranging political conflict spanning multiple countries, and a ton of brand-new characters. Jeryon’s quest is no longer front-and-center, and Everlyn, who seemed like a main character, drops out of the story altogether (a very peculiar authorial decision). Nothing in the second half was really attention-grabbing or memorable.

The moral of the story? Vengeance can be a dangerous obsession, and trying to domesticate a dangerous wild animal isn’t always the best idea?

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster & NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions is solely my own.
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