Archive for November 4th, 2011

Kate Elliott – King’s Dragon

Friday, November 4th, 2011

King’s Dragon (1997) is the first novel of the Crown Of Stars series by Kate Elliott. It is an epic fantasy set in an alternative early mediaevil Europe with a focus on the area that was Germany and France. Elliott has changed some fundamental aspects of this alternative world, including supernatural races and creatures and the existence of magic, which creates a very different world with many recognizable elements. She used the existing history as a template to add backgrounds and influencing events that have a foundation from reality. This method has been used by other authors of course. It is always the question how well it is worked out and how it is used. My first impression is that it is done sufficiently well, especially as she used a time frame and setting which is less common (tenth century Germany).

In King’s Dragon there are two main characters although sometimes a different viewpoint is used from a side character. While the two main characters have different destinies they are set up in such a way that they provide perspectives on the events that form the main plot of King’s Dragon. As such they get trust relatively easily into the center of power, although Elliott manages to present it in a fairly natural way.

The main characters, male and female, have their distinct characteristics but to me they had a similar feel in they way the behaved. They were a bit too alike. They were likable enough but from this one novel there was not enough yet to get really attached. At times they were to easy going, not questioning the actions of other characters too much as they should have when comparing their usual behavior. Overall the novel did not really have characters that stood out, although a few were more original. Perhaps that will improve later on.

The plot itself surprised in some ways because of the quick developments of certain events, whereas I had expected them to take longer and be stretched out over several novels. There were several mysterious elements which Elliott managed to present in a satisfying way although certain details remained a bit strange.

Overall it was the refreshing setting (with its changes to the original history) and the surprising plot movement that made me like this novel best. It is also the reason why I’ve decided to read more, which is of course the most important to achieve for an author. The novel remains somewhat mainstream, but with sufficient original elements that make it stand out. As such I do recommend it. Not outstanding or special, but enjoyable.