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Review of Dragon Precinct by Keith RA DeCandido posted 19 January 2005 in ReviewsReview of Dragon Precinct by Keith RA DeCandido by Born of Fantasy, Commoner

By Dacco


Ahem, yes, well, where to begin with this one… Basic flavor in a nutshell? I would have to go with mystery/crime solver sprinkled with fantasy-lite elements.

My biggest beef with this cross-genre book is that it doesn’t commit to either genre. Admittedly, the book is short and I think this an outgrowth of the author’s background in short story writing. When I sit down with a book having a cover, multiple chapters and being thicker than a dollars-worth of change in quarters, I’m expecting more of a meal than what I got here.

Where’s the expository writing? Where’s the character development? Actually, I’ll answer that one – The best character development is almost an afterthought plopped at the end of the book. I felt like maybe finally the author was going somewhere with his heroine, but I ran out of pages and this isn’t book 1 of a series, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective).

So, here’s an interesting thought on how the book wound up the way it did: Maybe the author was experimenting with skinnable novel writing. Skins are an internet-age way of only changing a program’s outer-most viewable traits, like colors, window borders etc. Apply this (admittedly stretched) analogy to this book and here’s what the skin ruleset might look like:

Begin with typical mystery novel set in 1950s Anytown, USA
a) Replace gumshoe detective with irritating Half-elf
b) Replace important (all human) delegation with Tolkien-esque band of adventurers – Huzzah !
c) Instead of naming police precincts by numbers, use cute fantasy-inspired names like Unicorn precinct (oooh) and Goblin precinct (ahhh)
d) Instead of detailed forensic evidence at crime scene, substitute poorly conceived magic “system” which inspires head scratching/shaking.
e) Let the good times roll.

Ok, so book-bashing aside, I’ll give the author credit for trying this cross-genre experiment. I’ll give the author credit for maintaining a consistent levity throughout the book and not taking the story too seriously (which would have made the effort laughable at that point). But unless the premise of the book really strikes your fancy, I gotta think you can find something better to read.


Review by Dacco via:

[img:3epdefd3]http://www.fantasybookspot.com/linktous/400x80banner2.jpg[/img:3epdefd3] view post


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