Drawing the Dragon By April Adams
Review by Red
This was possibly one of the most interesting and complex books I’ve read in a long time. Without using any spoilers, it is difficult to summarize the book in detail. Best said, it is the start of a war, the start of characters questioning all they’ve known, heartache on so many levels, and the start of a bond deeper than space and time. And with it all in this amazing sci-fi/futuristic/fantasy setting, none of that really makes a lot of sense until you read the book.
The main storyline of this book revolves around a set of three pilots. Their official rank is Jordan, or dragon pilot. This gives them a highly specialized rank in the military, and grants the ability to give themselves new names. Our Jordans named Blue, Scarlett, and Jade go through an interesting set of challenges and dilemmas throughout the entirety of the book. Scarlett, who has worked extra hard to become a Jordan, projects a tough exterior with a chip on her shoulder when others seem to do well. Blue is trying to escape her family’s history of helping to start the Chimerian War. Jade searches for his purpose, though it doesn’t turn out to be what he expected. The story also involves the Chimera, who are constructs, or androids, and are starting a war against the galactic counsel.
There are multiple secondary storylines. One of the secondary storylines helps to tell the history of how this universe came to be the way it is. Another secondary storyline talks through the Jordan training program. All of the secondary storylines end up merging into the main one helping to create a wonderfully well-rounded universe and setting for the books.
My initial reaction after hearing about the book was excitement. I loved the idea of the story. I’ve always been a dragon fan and merging them into cyber organic starships, adding a Sci-Fi flare to everything really peaked my interest. I was only further intrigued by the adding in of the android/construct aspect of the Chimera. The book reads as a definite Sci-Fi book more than fantasy. There are fantasy parts but they are not the main genre. It works very well and blends seamlessly.
As I began to read Drawing the Dragon, I initially was concerned because it is a very “hard start”. It drops you into what seems to be the middle of the story. The story starts to clear and, looking back on it, the “hard start” is a fitting beginning. Though, I did have a hard time keeping track of the different story lines at first. The point of view tends to change quite a bit and until you get a little more familiar with the characters it’s hard to keep track of things as they’re progressing. And there is a large cast of characters. You have the Jordans, their support personnel, the characters from the secondary storylines, and of course the dragons. But then you end up becoming so involved with what’s going on with all these characters that it becomes very easy to tell who is in what storyline and that’s easier to keep straight. About one-third to halfway through the book everything started to make total sense and was easy to follow along with.
I did like how the story lines all ended up merging together into the main storyline and completing the story, finishing thoughts and answering questions that I had had while I was reading. I was also really really intrigued by how some of the characters interacted with each other almost like siblings but not liking each other at all. The character development and stories that happen are well done. A few took turns I was NOT expecting. Another part I enjoyed was the concept for the book being so spectacularly original. I’ve never heard of anybody else having an idea for this style of universe or even just taking elves and dragons and putting them with humans in a futuristic setting making it sci-fi heavily influenced by fantasy depictions.
To give you an idea of how well this book works I’m going to give you a summarization of part of the book that really made me love the storyline. It sticks out because while it is at a climactic part of story, it is a very introspective look at the relationships of the Jordans. You have Scarlett in her Dragon, Fledge, with her friend Calyph, who is an engineer on the main dragon. They are looking for Blue and Jade. Calyph asks Scarlett “How will you find them?” “I can feel them,” Scarlett tells him. “I guess I always could. I just never realized it, like how I never think of my toes unless my boots are too tight. Then I am painfully aware of them. Does that make any sense?” Calyph says, “A little.” Then he asks, “And you never noticed this before?” Scarlett shakes her head and replies, “How much do you notice the bone in your ankle? Even though it sticks out from the bottom of your leg, you probably don’t notice it until something goes wrong.”
There is one point in the book that, while not wanting to give things away, I feel does need to get brought up. It is a war situation in the book so things are not always friendly. There is a slight amount of described torture. I feel this needs to be brought up because it was described very well. It was something that I cringed at while reading. It didn’t detract from the story, it did make me pause for a moment and let it sink in.
As this is only book one of an eight-part series, the book does leave a lot of open-ended questions. The author has already written five of the books so I’m sure there will be answers to come and more questions to be answered. But the author seems to want people to think about their existence, their choices, and their intentions, and this does get brought up in various places within the book itself.
Overall I am delighted I read this book, I have every intention of finishing the series. I will be reviewing the other books soon — and quite happily.
Be sure to visit the Author’s website and grab yourself a copy! http://apriladams.me/