Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton
Publisher: Tor Books (July 2, 2019)
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
"Stopping this dragon was his life's great purpose, but it had come to him when he was least ready for it.....If it had come at any other time, would it have been a true test?"
Hundreds of years after dragons are believed to be extinct, a group of explorers searching for a magical relic awaken a beast.
When Alpheratz awakens from an unknown length of sleep, he realizes that he may be the last of his kind, and goes on a rampage to make mankind pay for their genocide of his kind.
Guillot is a drunken lord, an ex barrister, betrayed and cast out by a senile king after simply taking a day off after his wife died. As one of the Chevaliers of the Silver Circle, he is the last of a group of the King's Guard who were historically dragon slayers. It seems that the new king and his Prince Bishop, the man who, coincidentally or not, sent the expedition who accidentally awoke the dragon, are now in need of his services. Whether he's actually slayed a dragon or not.
Solene is a witch. Guillot saves her from a painful death, and she finds herself with the opportunity not to hide what she is for once in her life. But her new status may not be any safer.
I was so excited to receive this ARC from Tor books, because in the preview I knew that some of the perspective in the book was from the point of view of the dragon himself. That was something I had not come across before, and was interested to see what his motives were, and what he thought of the whole situation!
This book had so much potential. The writing is skillful and the plot is very interesting. I was especially thrilled to find a witch among the main characters! But unfortunately the story fell a little flat for me.
Perhaps it is because it is going to be a trilogy, but I found so much information to be missing. Why does the Prince Bishop hate Guillot? The main enemy of this story is not the dragon, it's the Prince Bishop. But he and Guillot never have a confrontation. The ending of the story - don't worry, I won't spoil it - leaves a little hint that they will, but it wasn't enough to keep me in suspense of the second story.
I think I just wanted a plot twist, and didn't really get one. Not that there aren't surprises, there are, but I didn't FEEL enough. I wanted a little bit of romance between Solene and Guillot, trope or not. I wanted to know what motivated the Prince Bishop. I kind of wanted Alpheratz to win! I felt for him. But the story just sort of, progressed. I almost feel like maybe parts of this story were edited out that shouldn't have been, because this writer clearly has skill and imagination. Perhaps the next two books in the trilogy will clear up some of the missing information, but then again, the new publishers tactic of cutting up what should be one book into multiple books (Bella Forrest anyone?) is an abhorrent practice that I refuse to propagate.
I would read this book to my 5 and 7 year olds, who would enjoy it, but I probably will not read the next books in the series, but I'm torn because this writer truly has potential. So I will give this book a 3/5.