Dragon Gem, by Brian Beam

“Korin has a problem.  He’s foolishly signed himself into a magical contract to find a stolen gem and just when he has it in his clutches its carted off by a mysterious stranger. So, he has just under 2 weeks to find the gem again and return it to his employer or else face the repercussions – a lifetime of servitude.”

Rating: 3 stars

Genre: Fantasy
(coming of age, self-discovery, heroics, magic and dragons)

A light hearted read with the usual mix of adventure fantasy creatures such as a dragon, some magic, a lost prince(?) and evil wizards – this was not a difficult book to read.  There were times however, where the writing was a little clumsy and from the tone of the storytelling I would guess that it would be more suited towards young adults or children.  If it were to targeted at adults it would need some serious editing to polish up the prose a little (although let me point out, someone probably said this of the Harry Potter books…).  One of my favourite aspects were the various deities and the curses associated with them and Max’s humour/wit.

There were points however, which I felt needed work:

1. The magic talking wizard cat: Ok, so there’s a magic talking cat – this is a nice touch and threads into the storyline well, but the narrator’s overemphasis of the fact got tiring.  I don’t need to be reminded every other page that there’s a magical talking wizard cat… shorten it to magic cat and the other two words (wizard + talking) are implied, or even talking wizard cat – the whole combination was quite frankly a mouthful and by the end a little boring.

2. The contract: This is central to the storyline and yes, it needs some explaining, but I think again the author overdid it – it could have been put much simpler with something along the lines of:

Rule 1 – The contract holder and setter agree on a deal and a deadline sealing this with blood on a contract designed by an ancient wizard.

Rule 2 – If the contract is fulfilled then the blood will disappear and the setter and holder can go their own ways.  If the contract holder fails then his soul is bound to the contract setter.  Any resistance to this will lead to a slow, painful and unnatural death.

Rule 3 – The contract setter cannot interfere with the holder’s task.  Similarly even after the task is completed the holder cannot reverse the task.

‘The end’.  Any subtler points could have been added later along the way so that the reader is not overwhelmed with information.  And of course you could thread in some backstory, but the key details really need to be (at least initially) laid bare in an accessible fashion.

3. Focus: I have to say a lot of the storyline was focused on Korin’s origins (which I assume will be the core of a series) and worked as quite a large ‘hook’.  As it wasn’t resolved by the end of the book I felt, in a way, cheated and the start-up to the next book was a little contrived. Really I should have known it was coming from the title alone.

So was I annoyed because I wanted to find out more?  Yes.  (You decide if this is a good or bad thing 😉 )

Did I enjoy the story?  Yes.

Was it perfectly edited? Not quite, but it also wasn’t riddled with the usual errors indicating a good proofread is required.  A professional edit on the other hand would have improved the ‘flow’ of the text.

See also:

– Author page

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