Esmes Indie Highlights/SPFBO: The Dragon Hunter and the Mage by V. R. Cardoso

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If you like dragons, coming of age stories and lots of magic this one could be for you

Bingo: Self Published, Dragons, Desert


The king is purging out all of the mages, he’s a determined guy and he loathes mages, anyone found guilty of magic is usually executed. The king has a son with his wife who he basically forced into marrying him with the promise he would spare her previous husband and sons life. He treats her older son like trash and makes him live in the guests quarters and doesn’t allow him to train with weapons.

His son, Fadan, isn’t so bad. He doesn’t take after his father and really loves his brother and wants to spend time with him, but his father doesn’t allow it so they both sneak out at night to have some time together.

Aric is eventually sent away after some trouble goes down with Arics father, the one who the King spared. He was framed for treason and sentenced to death, but the Queen was able to convince the King to spare her son. He’s sent across the world into the desert to hunt dragons, and there’s lots of mysterious stuff out in the desert. He thinks he’s seeing someone who’s petting dragons and able to tame them, but no one believes him, they think he’s suffered heat stroke or something. There’s also possibly a gateway to the demon realm hidden under the desert. There are lots of battles with his POV which speeds the plot along.

As it turns out, Fadan has Talent, and is able to use magic. If he’s caught he could be executed, so he has to be extremely stealthy. He tries teaching himself but it doesn’t go well, but eventually ends up in the hands of a resistance member and his mage brother and starts to train. His plot has a lot of betrayal type questions, does he stay loyal to his father and king, or does he turn traitor after his brother was sent away and help the resistance?

Final Score: 7.5/10


  • Aric- the son of an exile and the Queen, he’s treated like dirt most of the time but has generally good spirits, he’s not bitter or weepy about it. Once he gets sent out into the desert he has to learn how to survive in a harsher world than he was used to, although he slept in the servants quarters he was still getting food and a roof with no immediate danger to his person. Out in the desert he has to learn to toughen up or die.
  • Fadan – facing a lot of difficult questions, like what to do you do when you know your father is a tyrant, but he’s still a generally decent and caring towards you and your mother. He has a lot of conflicting feelings and reading through his chapters were really interesting because it introduces you to this worlds magic system. He’s the more cautious of the two boys at first, but over the book he grows to have a little more fortitude and sense of risk and adventure.
  • Intilla – A guard and adviser to the King, he’s extremely loyal to the crown and is a gruff no nonsense kind of person.
  • Cassia – this woman puts up with a lot and carries her burdens like a champ, she’s an extremely strong woman who tries to pick her battles and get what’s most important to her. She’s been forced to marry someone she doesn’t appear to love, and leave her former husband behind who she did love very much, and then had to endure her former husbands execution sentence and her son taken away.

Final Score: 7.5/10

World Building:

Almost all the magic schools and magic establishments have been wiped out after the purge, and all of the mages are living in hiding in fear of the king.

Rudium was once a lucrative trade, it’s the source of all magic abilities and without it mages are useless. For non mages it works as a hallucinogen which is fun I guess. The trade of this is now banned and people caught with it suffer serious consequences.

Dragons are a big part of the book and you get to see a lot of action with them, they are widely considered to be the only way to get rudium, so the dragon slaying trade has gone down considerably since the banning of magic. When Aric is introduced to the group of dragon slayers their halls and rooms have a lot of vacancies.

Final Score: 8/10


Overall I’d say this is a bit lighter, there wasn’t anything too terrible or dark going on, it read more adventurous than anything.

The prose was straight forward, not a lot of simile or metaphor so it read quickly.

The pacing was pretty good, you’d go back and forth between the two brothers with some smaller pov’s of other characters. One brother had a lot of action going on, while the other was world building and magic system building, so it kept things flowing nicely and I looked forward to both of those pov’s whenever there was a switch.

Pacing Final Score: 8.5/10

Writing Final Score: 8.5/10


Although most of us have seen dragons and repressed magic users, there was still enough done differently here to keep my interest. The boys being half brothers and the older sibling from a previous marriage was something a little different.

Final Score: 7/10


  • YA/coming of age
  • dragon battles
  • magic filled
  • multi pov
  • action filled
  • lighter
  • long (500 pages)
  • training magical abilities

Final Score: 47/60 or 7.83/10 or 4 stars on goodreads.


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