Ossus Library Index
Science Fiction Index


A novel by Jeffrey A. Carver
(1994, TOR Books)

Star Rigger, book 3

The war between the Dragons and the evil spirit heats up as Jael is called back to the Dragon realm to tip the balance one way or the other.


-- First reading (ebook)
October 5th to 26th, 2019


Unfortunately, I could not get into this book at all. I liked the characters of Jael and Windrush and some of the others, but the setting and the story just didn’t interest me, and I was not a big fan of the writing style, though I got used to it. Some of the writing and characterization could have used some focus or maturation, and I don’t think it was intentional on the author’s part. My favorite parts dealt with Jael in the normal realm, which was so sparse as to be non-existent.

Spoiler review:

This is a strange book, in that it seems to want to be both fantasy and science fiction. It finds some mild success at both, but not enough to make the story successful. The big problem is that it’s not interesting; the characters are boring and predictable, and the story is too mystical to be believable. The most interesting character, Jael, is missing through most of it. The dragon realm is a physical place, but allows some magical tinkering.

We got a taste of the Dragon Realm in the previous book, but I had no desire to return there. My interest was in the realms used to cross rigger-space. This book didn’t depend on that at all. Instead, we get the dragon Windrush, leader of the dragons, who are at war with the evil being Tar-skel, who has corrupted young dragons and turned them into dreadful shadow beasts, drahls.

The dragons are mostly impotent, though Windrush senses a presence deep in enemy territory, to which he is drawn and ultimately converses. But the relationship doesn’t matter, because Hodokai doesn’t do anything meaningful, and doesn’t give any information to Windrush in the end. When the enemy attacks, the dragons decide to go on the offensive, but it’s predictably a trap, as the enemy uses the opportunity to attack the undefended lumenis gardens.

Windrush communicates with the Ifflings, who use the last of their energy to create an infant Iffling that goes in search of Jael, in the human realm. The parts of the book dealing with Jael and her experiences with either the drunk, the manipulation of the rigger space, or even communications with the trapped Hodakai, were my favorites. Unfortunately, they were sorely lacking through most of it.

Instead, we get Windrush trying to rally the dragons, Wingtouch despairing, the power struggle with Farsight, the imprisoned SearSky going in search of the Dream Mountain in a magical layer to this realm and finding the female dragons. The evil Rent, another rigger like Hodakai, is lieutenant to Tar-Skel, though he’s treated very poorly. Still, he has the power to keep Hodakai imprisoned, and to give some of that power to the corrupted spirit Javorus so he could trap Jael when she finally arrives in the Dragon Realm. I thought Jael would be able to turn Rent to her side, but it didn’t happen.

Jael is killed, as mentioned in the way-too-often repeated prophecy, but her spirit descends to the magical under-realm, where she meets SearSky, and travels to the Dream Mountain, on her way to the confusingly-named Final Dream Mountain. But it’s the only way to stop Tar-Skel, whose ultimate goal is to subjugate all the realms, including Jael’s native realm.

Unfortunately, by the end of the story, I didn’t really care much for the dragons, and Jael was wasted as a character to enjoy enough.


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