This novel is Bertinís first contribution to the world of science fiction and fantasy and itís a very good start. The Dragonlords are a very special kind of folk. Described as immortal weredragons, they appear human but have the ability to change into dragons when the need arises. It is believed that each Dragonlord also has a soultwin, one special being destined to complete them and share their lives to the fullest. Unfortunately for Linden Rathan, for over six hundred years he has been the youngest and last of the Dragonlords. For some unknown reason, despite all of their abilities, the Dragonlords have been unable to sense the existence of any others of their kind, making Lindenís prospects for finding a soultwin highly unlikely.
Due to their longevity, the Dragonlords are regarded with varying degrees of awe and esteem by the shorter-lived true-humans. In times of crisis, or when fair and equitable justice is required, the true-humans seek out the Dragonlords for their wisdom and agree to abide by their judgement. Such a time is currently upon the troubled kingdom of Cassori. Their leaders have died under mysterious circumstances and the young heir wastes away with a troubling and undiagnosed illness, while two different factions wrestle for the position of Regent. Linden Rathan, along with two other Dragonlords, has been asked to mediate.
What appears to be a simple dispute quickly takes on more dire aspects. The Fellowship, an old and evil society of true-humans sworn to destroy the Dragonlords, is secretly gathering force through the blackest of magics. Linden Rathan becomes increasingly entangled in the day to day affairs of the humans he is involved with. And, there are whispers of a new Dragonlord about, possibly Lindenís soultwin, if only he can determine who and where she is.
I thought this was a great first effort in the fantasy field by Bertin. I enjoyed the story and found the characters, both minor and major, to be quite likeable. The pacing was fast enough to be interesting, but not so quick that it felt rushed, with a good combination of magic, action, and character development. Best of all, even though this story is brought to a very good conclusion, Bertin has just completed a sequel involving some of the main characters, Dragon and Phoenix. Iím looking forward to reading it!
Reviewed by: Diane
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Bertinís sophomore effort, Dragon and Phoenix, certainly proves the old adage about judging a book by its cover. The cover artwork for this book is gorgeous. Unfortunately, the book doesnít live up to its promise. In the first book of this series, The Last Dragonlord, Bertin took the old dragon fantasies, livened them up a bit and gave them a new twist. I would have expected the sequel to expand upon some of her ideas from the previous novel. Instead, Bertin goes off on a whole new tangent, giving the book a decidedly Oriental slant.
In Jehanglan the Emperor derives his power from the Phoenix, a magical creature wrongfully imprisoned centuries ago. In a contrived and complicated plot, it becomes apparent to the Dragonlords that a truedragon, or possibly a missing dragonlord, may also be a captive. A small group, including Linden and Maurynna, sets out to investigate. Maurynna has problems of her own, having been unable to Change since her first time. However, rather than exploring this issue in depth, Bertin focuses on the thoughts and manipulations of various characters in Jehanglan. She is perhaps at her best while concentrating on the machinations of Shei-Luin, the Emperorís concubine.
The main problem with this novel is the quantity and quality of the various plots and subplots Bertin tries to weave together. While some of the main characters from the first book are present, Bertin also introduces a plethora of new people. Many of them bear similar Oriental-sounding names, adding to the confusion. It is very hard to see how any of these plots tie together and Bertin takes more than half the book just setting the stage. She also skips around frequently from plot to plot, making it difficult to get involved or care about the characters she writes about. In my opinion, Bertin has made a mistake typical of many new writers ó she has tried to jam too many ideas into one book and is unable to do full justice to any of them. The subplots were superficial and generally leave the reader feeling unsatisfied with the results, especially since most of them remain unresolved at the end of the story. Unlike her first novel, which could have happily stood alone, it is very obvious that Bertin has a sequel planned for this one. Despite my dissatisfaction with this novel, I am not completely put off. I think Bertin has potential and will be interested to see how she handles the next installment in the series, Bardís Oath.
Reviewed by: Diane
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