Hero, Sword, and Dragons

The Hero, the Sword, and the Dragons by Craig Halloran is the first book in The Chronicles of Dragon series. It has everything it takes to give it lift-off, yet strangely it failed to captivate either me or my imagination. Best thing you can do is try it for yourself; at the time this review is published it's available for free on Amazon for Kindle.

Having a dragon telling his story should be a novel experience and is bound to be spellbinding. While everything seems to be working in the book, it still failed to resonate in any way with me. It has working dialogue, working jokes, a working story, and yet it feels lifeless.

The best I can do to pinpoint the failure to connect is the lack of pre-history to the current affair. While the Belgariad has such ancient history placed in an prologue, this is not a necessity; it can be introduced piecemeal as done in the Andy Smithson series where the 500 year old curse gives the cue for history gone on before.

This reference to things further back than the hero's life (200 years old and still a stroppy teenager) is widely missing. When new peoples (are orcs, goblins and their ilk people?) are sprung on the reader, there is no grid in place to file them. And the repetition of 'we go way back' doesn't help in the least.

Action takes up a lot of the story, and explanations are often missing. Maybe there's no point to introduce other races' histories when they're only there to end up dead and vanquished? But having no history it feels as if they're made of grey cardboard in a colorful world, like ducks in a shooting booth.

Craig Halloran's The Hero, the Sword, and the Dragons has missed it's mark with me; I did not feel impelled to buy any of the nine sequels on offer, not even the last one because it even failed to interest me in the fate of the hero. Maybe you can gain more from it when you read it. As it is currently available for a free download on Amazon for Kindle, you might try over a cup of tea.

Further reading
Here Be Dragons
Teenage Warrior Club
Teenage Sorcerer Apprentice