On a fantasy world Tolkienesque to the point of cliché, the five greatest adventurers of the age discover that in five hundred years, the Sleeping Dragon will awake and destroy civilisation.
But prologue aside, this is not their story.
This is a story from a half millennium later, in a world now so utterly transformed by mass-produced magic that it seems heroism itself is rendered obsolete, in which five misfits find themselves tasked with preventing the plague, war, famine, and destruction that the Sleeping Dragon will bring forth.
From the towering spires of Empire City to the wild and bleak Eastern Territories, and from the decadence and glamour of Upabove to a final confrontation upon which rests the fate of their world, this is their story.
As soon as I read the blurb of this book I knew it was for me. A group of characters that are instantly intriguing and a small glimpse of another world. Not to mention the cover, yes I know, don’t judge a book and all that, but seriously, look at it. Almost sci-fi esque but make no mistake, this is a true fantasy novel.
It’s short and sweet but gives the story a perfect set up. I really liked the characters that you meet in the prologue, maybe there is hope of seeing them in a future novel? They are the hero’s of their age, a group of 5 that have battled evil. What they do sets in motion the events of the book. You also find a map, I love a map, and a glossary which I found very useful, especially in the beginning. Once you get into the flow of the book it all becomes easy to understand.
The world building feels very natural. It is well explained with enough detail for you to build a picture but not so much that you become overwhelmed. The world itself is recognisable, think all our technology but run by magic. Everything is powered by mass produced magic, the world runs on mana. Throw in some Elf’s, Orc’s and halflings and you have the makings of a great fantasy book.
On to my favorite part of this book. Five complete strangers are pulled together tasked with finding and destroying the sleeping dragon. The most unlikely crew you would ever put together and for me that was a massive part of their appeal. You get a short insight into each character before they get mysteriously whipped away from their current life. They haven’t got a clue what they should be doing but they are the closest this world has to hero’s. They are really relatable because they are flawed human beings and for me personally that adds to my enjoyment of the book.
We have Blade, the AdventureSport warrior, one of the most successful adventure warriors of his age. However when we meet him his career is dwindling and he’s desperately trying to stay on top. Presto the wizard, unfortunately he has had his license to practice revoked due to an ‘incident’. Darick the Priest, this one is interesting, a devout follower of the SkyFather but unable to progress in the church due to actually believing in the SkyFather. Dani, the only female of the group, she’s the grifter, quick on her feet with a wealth of knowledge and finally my personal favorite the Storm. He takes the place of the bard, the lute player in a famous band addicted to herb and with a thing for the ladies.
They are such an unlikely group, but they work really well together. There are moments of great humour within the group, complete and utter chaos at times and you wonder how they will ever the get the job done. Within a few chapters I was totally routing for them. They way they interact just drew me in, there is some very clever story telling here.
Comparing to a master of the genre
Yes I am going there. Jonny’s writing is very reminiscent of the late great Terry Pratchett. Jonny very cleverly weaves humour into his story, some subtle, some laugh out loud. His world building is also done in a way in which you can recognise the every day within the fantasy. As I was reading I was reminded of the discworld. Please don’t misunderstand me Jonny has not copied Pratchett, it’s the style that I am remined off and it is a style I very much enjoy.
I did find some parts of the book a little heavy going at times. I found myself skipping over a few passages. However I did thoroughly enjoy this read, the characters are brilliant and the pace is good. I can’t wait to see what Jonny write’s next, personally I’m hoping for an illustrated version of the Storm’s biography. A girl can dream.
Many thanks to Jonny for giving me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.