- Dragonslayer (The Dragonslayer #1).
- Duncan M. Hamilton.
- 304 pages.
- Epic Fantasy.
- My Rating: It’s OK Book Review.
With the dragons believed dead, the kingdom had no more need for dragonslayers.
Drunk, disgraced, and all but forgotten, Guillot has long since left his days of heroism behind him.
As forgotten places are disturbed in the quest for power, and things long dormant awaken, the kingdom finds itself in need of a dragonslayer once again, and Guillot is the only one left…
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Guillot dal Villerauvais is the Seigneur/Lord of the village of Villerauvais. He is the last of the once-fabled Chevaliers of the Silver Circle, dragonslayers who hunted dragons to the point of extinction. That, however, was 1,000 years ago and the time of dragons and mages is long since past. The chevaliers, with no dragons left to kill, fell into decline before disbanding. Magic was outlawed and is illegal. And, dragons themselves were consigned to legend only to be found in stories of destructive dragons and the heroic deeds of those who slew them.
Gill is summoned back to court, back to Mirabay, the scene of his greatest failure, his greatest loss. He is the last dragonslayer and with a newly awoken dragon terrorising villages he is called upon to do the duty of the Chevaliers and slay the dragon. However, unbeknownst to him, he is simply a game piece in a larger game that is being played by the Prince Bishop.
Dragonslayer is told through multiple perspectives, those of Gil, Solene and the Prince Bishop. Alongside them, we are also given the perspective of the dragon, Alpheratz. Through this, we get to see the dragon as far more than just a gold hoarding killing machine hellbent on raining death and destruction. Instead, the dragon has emotions, feelings, memories and thoughts elevating him above a mindless beast.
For the characters, Gill is the village drunk and, at the same time the village Lord. He drinks to take the pain of loss away, keeps the memories at bay, blissful oblivion of drunkenness where one day blurs into the next. He has fallen from grace, he is a has-been, once the greatest swordsman of the land he has gone to seed, picking up the bottle rather than the blade, wallowing in despair and misery. However, he has some mettle in him, like bits of still bright and sharp steel that shine through in a rusted, pitted and tarnished blade and throughout the story, we see flashes of the man he used to be as he takes steps towards redemption. Solene is a young woman rescued by Gill from an angry mob as she was about to be burnt on a pyre for witchcraft. As a character, she is likeable, resilient and she is a welcome addition to the story adding an extra dimension. Amaury, the Prince Bishop plots, plans, schemes and is power-hungry. He is highly ambitious and there is a history between him and Gill…but, I would have liked more as I just didn’t get a ‘villain‘ vibe about him.
There isn’t an overabundance of detail in Dragonslayer with neither the magic system (through Solene and her story arc we do get to learn something about it and that it is drawn from the Fount) or the world-building being the most detailed. Both aspects definitely veer towards the lighter side and there is plenty of room for possible expansion and depth to be added in the next two books in the trilogy. I liked the french-inspired setting and the Chevaliers, themselves are very reminiscent of the Musketeers. For the wider world, the other nations that surround Maribaya, some locations, past wars and history are mentioned but not expanded upon. Dragonslayer is about the lone dragon that has returned to the skies over Maribaya. That doesn’t impact the rest of the world and that could be why they are only glossed over. Also, the trilogy is set in the same world as some of the author’s previous work and due to that, he may have felt that he has already built the base, foundations and established his world in those and didn’t feel the need to tread over old ground and repeat what he has previously written. Which, is fine for seasoned readers. But, for new readers to his work, those like myself who are starting with Dragonslayer a little more depth and detail to the world would have been appreciated.
Some books outstay their welcome and are padded with filler that doesn’t really add anything. Dragonslayer is a lean book at only 300 pages and I feel that it could have been improved with a bit more meat on its bones. An extra 50 or 100 pages added to the overall length would have given the opportunity for snippets of additional depth and detail to have been spread throughout that I feel would have helped elevate the book. There is an old-school vibe to Dragonslayer and it definitely harkens back to classic fantasy rather than the modern fantasy and grimdark that I usually read. Sadly, while it is undoubtedly an adequate offering it doesn’t reach the same lofty height as other fantasy books that I have read this year.
The story in Dragonslayer is quite linear and there is nothing too taxing about the whole affair. The writing is solid and flows well, the story itself, fast-paced and it a book that I breezed through. Even with my issues, I still found it to be enjoyable, I’ll be picking up the sequel (Knight of the Silver Circle) as I had fun with the book and I’m intrigued to see where Hamilton takes the story. That’s what Dragonslayer is, a quick and solid fix of fun and easy to read fantasy.
Purchase Dragonslayer (The Dragonslayer #1) by Duncan M. Hamilton.
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