I have finished my allotment for SPFBO 6 and I’m working on fleshing out my thoughts and finishing up those reviews…. and I also have to pick my semi-finalists. While I mull over those decisions I’m working my way through the audios of SPFBO and then I’ll move onto other blog’s semi-finalists. I won’t be leaving scores for these books, and if I strongly disliked something I won’t be reviewing it at all. I don’t want to step on toes, or raise/dash the hopes of the authors. My opinion and the thoughts of the blogger these books are assigned to may not always align, and that’s a neat part of the contest – but I don’t want to cause any confusion about scores!
This is not a book with tons of fireballs & magical mayhem, a big battle, or much fast paced action. This is a slower burn kind of book that builds up over time. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but after about 20% I decided the main character was engaging enough that I didn’t care if not much happened – but a lot did happen later on!
Griffin is a teacher at a magic school despite the fact he has no magic himself. He has a close relationship with the headmaster and the royal family which keeps him at a good position at the school. Despite the fact he’s been there for years, and was raised there, most of his colleagues are rather indifferent about him… until there’s a curse running rampant through the school. Children to want to immolate themselves muttering that they dream of fire and are utterly mad and have to be restrained. There’s a sequence the main character goes through in the very beginning of the book where he’s tripping balls and he meets a dragon, everyone else thinks he was just under the influence of venom since he also complained of beetles in his veins, but he really did meet a dragon, Fendrath. The dragon is there trying to find something, he’s one of nine dragons left in the world and it turns out there’s more than one dragon trying to find an undisclosed item of power. Griffin is the one who tries to figure out the mystery and stop the destruction of his beloved magic school.
I loved Griffin, he was an easy to like character, non judgmental, down to earth, hard working, patient, a good teacher etc. He’s also an underdog which is one of my favorite tropes. The entire book is from his perspective so you get to know him very well. I wish he were a touch more fleshed out, I don’t know much about his past other than he’s an orphan and was raised at the magic school. However, what I know of him in the present was well done, engaging, and kept me rooting for him.
Dragons and humans aren’t friendly. Dragons have nearly been wiped out, and what’s left of them can’t mate due to the fact they are all siblings. Dragons are divided up by color, Red Wings, Green Wings and Black Wings – and their power structure is much like rock paper scissors, no one class is so strong an alliance between the other two couldn’t stop their uprising. Magic is also divided up by category with most wizards only specializing in one type of magic.
Sometimes things were a bit predictable, sometimes plotlines were laid out a bit too neatly… but overall this was just light fun with dragons and many people like that kind of thing 😀 It was wrapped up nicely, there were no major cliff hangers or big plotpoints that were left unaddressed while also leaving room for a sequel.
The audiobook was well performed, I had not listened to him before but he felt like a perfect pick for the tone of the book.
It was well recieved by it’s assigned blog, with the Fantasy Inn’s Review being positive!