We’ve finished the first month of 2017 and I think we are off to a great start! Lets just hope we can keep it up, unlike this sad book. Comparing this book to the first, what happened?!
Series: Dragon Jousters; Book 4
Author: Mercedes Lackey
ROTS Setting: UU, Bronze Age, Dragons, Higher Magic
Synopsis: Kiron is now de facto leader of the Jousters for lack of a better alternative. But what role will they purpose do they fill now that there is peace? *sharp left turn* Oh look, an invasion.
Recommendation: Teen. Consistent reading level as the previous books. This book in NOT recommended. Just pretend the third is the last and they live happily ever after.
– – Spoilers – –
I’d really like to learn more about how this series came to be and what choices were made that lead it to this point. Rereading them I’ve come to think of them in two different ways. Either it’s a standalone novel with a sequel trilogy or it’s a series cut short. And I’m equally torn between them.
The first book makes a pretty good standalone novel. It’s well written, has clear story arcs and it’s a fulfilling experience. The next two books are much lower quality but they both continue a new arc that you never even thought of in the first book. They have a good climactic sequence and largely wrap things up. It feels like a natural breaking point.
This book barely feels connected to the previous three. As if there was at least another book, probably 2, planned but were suddenly canceled so everything had to be compressed and wrapped up into this one book.
Ignoring all the “romance” the first half of the book was really good, if still full of contradictions but less than the last book. There was a natural building from the end of the third book and it felt like it was building to something, just not the same something that happened at the end of the book.
There is peace at long last in the Two Lands, Alta and Tia. What room is there for the Jousters in this new era? They’re costly to maintain and they aren’t needed as tools of war. There are two sets of nobles vying for power. Integration is going to cause lots of problems. There is a lot of potential for intrigue, drama, and action at the beginning.
We get none of that.
Five paragraphs later and they’d solved what the Jousters will be doing, guarding trade routes. Two brief skirmishes and the position is secured for all time. Oh, the brewing conflict between the veterans and their youngster wingleaders that they hold two meetings over…..”I’ll convince them,” and done.
Instead we get Aket-ten trying to start her own wing of only female jousters because….women. Which she succeeds at but it adds absolutely nothing to the story whatsoever. It’s used as a source of artificial tension between her and Kiron instead.
And none of the above has any influence on the ending of the book/series.
Kiron isn’t bad. He makes the most of what he’s got and is struggling to fulfill what’s being asked of him. He’s been kept pretty real and still building off the previous development.
Aket-ten is completely flat. She’s been reduced to pure whining, indignation, anger, and willful ignorance. All her previous development was completely decimated. Her single-minded pursuit of female Jousters flies in the face of everything she’d built and become.
Her relationship with Kiron is down right despicable. He deserves better. She treats him with suspicion and disrespect…..like a servant. He loves her so he puts up with it, but she never shows any love or affection towards in the entire book. It all felt fake though because we really hadn’t had much experience with them as a “couple” so it portrays this toxic relationship as being “normal” for them.
Introduce the saddest love triangle ever…..because Kiron is so devoted nothing Aket-ten could ever do could push him away so lets have a character who’s sole purpose is to try and steal him away. Basically more empty run time.
Still, none of that has any bearing on the end of the book/series. I won’t say how it ends, because that’s just too much spoiling even for a spoiler ridden review. Lets just say there is some building up to it but it still felt sudden and disconnected to everything that had happened previously.
Ah! Fanfiction! That’s what it felt like! It felt like a cheap fanfiction.
In closing, just leave this one unread. Stay clear. Assume it doesn’t exist. The third makes a better ending and leaves the characters in a good place.