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
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.
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
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.