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SEA DRAGON HEIR Hardcover – 1999


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Hardcover, 1999
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: GOLLANCZ (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575066776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575066779
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
WHEN PHARINET WAS ONLY seven years old, she dreamed of the dragons. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
Two hundred years ago, Cassilin, king of fire and son of the great Magravandian house of Malagash conquered Caradore and its guardian family, the Palindrakes. He took their land and crippled their heritage by demanding an oath of perpetual fealty from Valraven, the young heir to the throne. Valraven's mother bid him accept this humiliation willingly such that their association with the power of the Sea Dragons could be hidden until the time was right for its revival to aid them in reclaiming their land and their freedom.

Many generations have passed. Valraven, the current eldest son of the Caradorean family, accepts posting to the Magravandian military, part of his ancestor's oath, but his twin sister Pharinet struggles with the realization that the time is coming to reawaken the magic of their country's connection to the sea and the Sea Dragons.

What a shame! That Storm Constantine can write is beyond dispute. Her descriptive passages are moving and brilliant. Her dialogue is lucid, realistic and fast-paced. The magic or dream sequences are eerie, fascinating and compelling. But, in spite of all that, this novel is as fundamentally flawed as its characters. One and all, they are driven by emotions and traits that are either dark and ugly or weak and pathetic - greed, lust, ambition, hunger for power, ambivalence, amorality or moral turpitude, egocentricity, sycophancy and selfishness. Pharinet, for example, comes to realize that her incestuous love for her twin, Valraven, cannot be continued but at no time expresses even the slightest apology or twinge of regret. Even when these characters appear to display strength or courage or unity of purpose, it is not noble and seems to arise only out of their dark side.
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Format: Paperback
The reason I didn't give this five stars is because it absolutely cannot be read as a book by itself. In order to understand the significance of all the events and characters, you need to read the trilogy. There is a reason certain characters die, disappear, or are mentioned without really doing anything at the time. Almost everybody and every event is vital to the setup of the third book.
I first read this book over summer break when I was bored out of my mind and decided to go to the library. I saw this on the shelf and immediately became interested. I absolutely couldn't put it down because I wanted to understand the characters and find out what happened. I was very unsatisfied with the ending of the book, but then I found out about the sequel. The ending was not an ending, but a setup for the next novel. It worked for me. I bought the other two books as soon as I found them.
The darkness and sexuality of Sea Dragon Heir is not for everyone and I can see where it would turn people away from this book. I loved the characters and the air of mystery shrouded about them. They were so... human. There isn't a Mary Sue or Marty Stew in sight in this story. I never once regretted buying this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished the first book in the series and have to say it was less then I expected. The fetish with the so-called "erotica" was silly, incest to homosexuality to adultery, it has it all. I could deal with all of that and expected an over imagination surrounding sex from the author. However, I could not deal with the limited information about characters, such as Valraven, he is somewhat the center point of the book but so little information is given about him. Goes from smiling kid to having sex with his sister, to getting training as a soldier (wildly lacking any information there) to being the greatest military mind and warrior in history. All of that could be placed on a couple of pages. No detail of him at all, a great disappointment because he could have been a powerful character in the book, all I was left with was a guessing about him. I understand it is more about the feminine characters but even there it is lacking a great deal. Pharry is a complicated character but I get the feeling of reading about a paper character just no depth to her, no connection can be made by me with the characters in the book.
There is a great piece of work in there somewhere, the world and setting are wonderful the characters just are horribly lacking.
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Format: Paperback
I first stumbled across Storm Constantine through her Wraeththu series, and she's been on my A-list ever since. I like her brand of occultism. I like her brand of eroticism. So I had high expectations for "Sea Dragon Heir." Expectations that this book didn't meet up to.
My main quarrel? The characters. Blarrgh. It looks to me like the plot (a fairly decent one) was constructed first, with all its lovely embellishments, sunlit corridors and dark, dusty corners. Then Storm decided at the last minute that she needed some unwitting little lifeforms scampering around down there, perfect little silly-putty creatures that would mold themselves conveniently into whatever contortions the plot demanded of them. Thus, we have characters that aren't fleshed out, and characterization that's inconsistent. Take Pharinet for example. She vacillates between petty maliciousness and indulgent self-loathing through the whole book -- switching when it's convenient for a plot twist.
Next we have the 'show-and-tell' problem. Storm rushes through events, leaving an inordinate amount of storyline up to the reader's imagination. For instance, we're TOLD Pharinet's twin brother Valraven was once a kind, loving soul (though it was never evident to me); a few pages later he's cold and aloof, and legendary for his cruelty on the battlefield, even though we never actually SEE him on any battlefield. Or look at Prince Bayard. One minute he's a nasty little brat who delights in making Valraven's life miserable. The next minute, they're lovers, and Valraven's going around calling him 'Bay!' Of course one or two lines are set aside to explain away Bayard's insults and jibes as a kind of courtship.
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