First book in the Dragon King Trilogy. It combines compelling characters, evocative mideval settings, and heartstoppoing action and suspense.
I love almost all of Lawhead's books, but this one was up and down for me. At times, the plot and characters seemed great, well-drawn, and I kept turning pages, but at others, it slowed to a crawl or seemed stereotypically written, predictable. Still, if you like Lawhead (as I do) it's worth reading.
In this book, with a great medevil setting, the realm of Mensador is thrown into chaos. A boy named Quentin started with a simple task of delivering a letter and ended up saving the Dragon king of Mensador and defeating the evil Necromancer before he takes over the world. This book consisted of fast paced action, great detail and intense storyline that made this book very memorable. The detailed, likeable characters such as Durwin and Toli, along with Quentin, and plot of them from different points of view made this story come to life. It is still clear in my mind as I set off into the journey of books 2 and 3, and enjoy the series all around. 5 out of 5 stars.
This is Book One of the trilogy, "The Pendragon Cycle". From the rear cover: "Somewhere in the perilous unknown, King Eskevar has been betrayed-imprisoned by a craven usurper and a powerful necromancer joined in unholy union to devour a realm. Embarking on a trail fraught with danger and mystical awakenings, an innocent acolyte of the god Ariel sets out to rescue his captive liege. But the dread and overwhelming forces of evil conspire to doom young Quentine's heroic quest--inspiring the brave youth to a greatness that will become the stuff of epic legend and glorious song."
I will admit right off the bat that I am not the target audience for this novel -- I don't generally read YA (though I'm not convinced this was originally conceived as a YA novel); I don't like quest fantasy OR Arthurian fantasy OR Christian fiction; and a coming-of-age story has to be pretty potent for me to be at all interested. Still, I like to keep my opinions of these genres honest, so I occasionally sample them (well, except for the Christian fiction part, but I didn't know this was so Christian when I bought it).
I gave it a hundred pages, or about a quarter of the way through, and then I was done. WAY too much telling instead of showing (actually, I can't think of a single scene -- the story was all exposition), and the part that really bugged me was that the whole world-view was far too simplistic -- the evil characters were evil because they were evil, and (reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons) they even seem to think of themselves as evil. This would not be a problem if they were off-screen (in other words, if it was only the "good" characters thinking of the bad guys as evil); but their machinations are shown every couple pages, and I just had to roll my eyes as they cackled maniacally.
Lawhead probably isn't the worst writer I've ever read -- which is why I've given him 1 1/2 stars -- but in addition to the storytelling through exposition limitation he also demonstrated to me that he doesn't really grasp the mechanics of viewpoint and how to manipulate it. So all in all, I was happy to give this one up and move on to something better.