Title: The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King
Author: Michael R Miller
Publication Date: Nov 10, 2015
I received a copy of the book from the author for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
“Compelling and enjoyable” – The British Fantasy Society
Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands.
Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon’s Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured.
Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging…
The Dragon’s Blade is a modern take on epic fantasy, reminiscent of classical works of fantasy, but without the heavy tones and language. As such, it has most of their strengths and hardly any of their weaknesses.
We follow Darnuir, Prince of Dragons and his adventures and misadventures in the war against the demon hordes. These dragons are now confined to humanoid forms and no longer can take their bestial forms. They have some advantages left over though. They are stronger, faster and have more stamina than humans and seem to have an aversion to beards and facial hair. They are also quite arrogant and Darnuir is especially so. Heir to the throne, he chafes at this father’s rule and is convinced that he has the solution to end the war once and for all. He is also not particularly fond of humans. He longs to rule and before he knows it , events transpire with the result that he is granted his wish but certainly not it the way he would have wanted it.
In the war, he is badly hurt by poison and although loyal wizard Brackendon tries his best to save him, his only recourse is to perform a rebirthing spell, he having drawn too much on his magic or “Cascade Energy”, for it is far easier to destroy than to create, since the cost on the body and mind is less. Even with this, this last act of desperation causes Brackendon to ‘break’. Darnuir is left as a babe with humans, hunters actually, who not too long ago hunted dragons.
We get little glimpses into his childhood and soon he is come of age and Brackendon returns just in time to tell him about who he really is. He can now carry the Dragon’s Blade, a fearsome very lifelike blade that bonds with him and is even able to ‘breathe fire’. It also acts as a conduit for ‘Cascade Energy’ much like the wizards staffs. Darnuir now is a different dragon, he is more humanised and since receiving the blade and having memories of his past self mesh with his present messages he is at war within himself. Which side will win? Can he ever really lead the dragons?
The author has a way of being concise and efficient with his wordlbuilding and prose which allows him to convey all the necessary information, thoughts and characterisation without being preachy and ponderous. This method of showing instead of telling is admirable and impressive. The characters are just the way I like them; multi-dimensional and flawed and since this is a character driven story, this is a strongpoint.
The plot is pretty straightforward with a few surprises or twists . Darnuir has to try to unite thefaeries, humans and dragons to stand against the demon horde. It’s well paced, full of action and adventure and a pretty cool, well thought out magic system. The users of magic (wizards) pay a price each time they use ‘Cascade Energy’ which is why they need staffs to siphon off some of the taint and so slow down the damage to their bodies and minds. If the parent tree for their staffs are damaged , the staff becomes useless and they have to find another staff or conduit.
The demons are also really cool. I especially like the spectres who are the leaders of the lesser more feral demons. They are able to weave in and out of shadows which makes them formidable in battle. I’m really interested to see how the different factions will turn out. I sense dissent amongst the troops and can’t wait to see who comes out on top and what that will mean for the humans, faeries and dragons.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Dragon’s Blade. I can honestly say I have no problems apart from not being too attached to Darnuir as yet. There are so many intriguing elements and I have a feeling we will be seeing even more fantastical creatures emerging in the sequel. With it’s fast pace, incredibly concise worldbuilding, action and quite unique magic system, The Dragon’s Blade is a thoroughly entertaining and immersive read. It is a perfect introduction to new series and a must read for fantasy aficionados, and is suitable for those who want to try out epic fantasy but are afraid of those with a huge word count. Fantasy lovers the world around should definitely pick this one up.
About The Author:
Like many young boys he quickly developed a love for daring knights who battled evil. When this was combined with endless hours playing Age of Empires and watching Lord of the Rings, a love for both history and fantasy was born.
He studied History at the University of St Andrew’s, dabbling in everything from Ancient Rome to Modern Scotland and a good deal of things in between. Graduating in 2014 he moved to London to pursue law. He’d rather forget that. In early 2015 he began to seriously turn attention to writing the fantasy story he had always dreamt of telling.
He had sketched out eight chapters over the years and, although they needed rewriting, they helped plot out the action of the story. He wrote a little each night and, slowly, he found things were improving. At a self-publishing panel event he got speaking with a representative from a hybrid publisher and so far so good. With a pinch of luck he hopes to avoid the phantom cubicle desk of real life pinning him down.
He hopes you enjoy reading Dragon’s Blade as much as he has in getting it from idea to page to published book.