Review of Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton


tl;dr: Dragonslayer is a character driven fresh take on a classic storyline.


Introduction

Dragonslayer is the first book in a trilogy by the same name from one of my favourite authors - Duncan M. Hamilton.


Gill, our protagonist, is a famous soldier who is now an alcoholic mourning his family. He is tasked by an old enemy of his - Amaury, to find and kill a dragon - one which has appeared centuries after the species was thought to have been hunted to extinction. Along the way, he discovers Solene, a young woman who happens to be a powerful natural mage. There is plenty of machinations, politics and action as the story unfolds.


Characters

The main aspect of Dragonslayer that really stood out is the amount of depth in each and every character that you meet. Needless to say, Gill & Solene - who are the protagonists - have plenty of depth. But, what elevates this book is the amount of character (her) the support cast has. Even the dragon has complicated motivations for what he does. The motivations as well as the actions taken by the characters are realistic. You never feel that characters are acting out of order - instead you can understand their actions so even if you don't agree with what they do or say. Pragmatism is the word of the day in this story.


World-Building

There is just enough uniqueness to keep things interesting but this is more of a medieval France kind of setting with dragons and some magic thrown in. So far, there isn't much to set this book apart from similar settings.


Plot and Pacing

The plot, as mentioned earlier, is quite straightforward. I was hoping for a twist or something unexpected at the end, but the story was as linear as it could be. Even the 'twist' at the end is not really a twist since it is something almost every seasoned fantasy/science fiction reader will expect. This is not necessarily bad since a story is not just about the ending but the journey one takes there and in that respect Dragonslayer didn't disappoint.


The book has average pacing - I was engrossed throughout and I never encountered dull or dragging sections. One thing that I need to mention here is that this is not an action packed book. Yes, there are some fights but this is not a rollicking adventure - rather it is more gritty and slower paced.


Conclusion

I really liked Dragonslayer despite its few shortcomings. This is primarily due to the excellent characters. I will look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy.



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