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3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Gothic fantasy ... not for me, thanks! Nov. 22 2008
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting stuff but no depth Sept. 22 2003
After reading the trilogy set, I can go back to this first book and safely say that Sea Dragon Heir is my least favorite of the three. I'm tired of being "told" what Valraven is rather being "shown." In fact a great many things are being told and hence the characters are barely flesh and bone and I didn't care about the melodramas going on in their lives. There are too many convenient plot devices that is contrived and tiresome. As for the bed-hopping scenes..... why? They don't seem to serve any other purpose other than to "oh lets be shocking, shocking(!)" and then left at that with no futher insights to the characters themselves. Once again it is the "telling" rather than the "showing" flaw of Constantine's writing that bores me to no end.
I will say that Constantine's writing style is lovely and rather poetic. Too bad she waste it trying to be the next Anne Rice or something.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I love this book to death June 1 2003
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Taking the standard and twisting it Feb. 7 2003
The Magravandias series (starting with this book) is probably the easiest Storm book to get your hands on. Out of all her books, this series is closest to what I always thought regular "fantasy" books would be like -- has a Medieval type setting, castles, dragons, heroes on a "quest" for artifacts, noble ideals, forces of darkness to be overcome, etc. That said, I think Storm turns a lot of the cliches on their heads and makes it all quite twisted :) The books have a big undercurrent of sexuality, notably a strong same sex attachment while at the same time tying in with things like Medieval sagas and German myths. Best of all, the books really lead up and up to a cool conclusion which you don't see coming and which is very satisfying.
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2.0 out of 5 stars So so... Mainly Disappointed Jan. 7 2003
By Scott
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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting start to the series
This is the first book in The Magravandias Chronicles. I thought it was pretty cool. I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the author's other work but it was a very interesting... Read more
Published on Dec 16 2002 by "celes1"
2.0 out of 5 stars A misplayed game of show-and-tell
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. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2002 by whatevs
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For Every Taste
If you like your neo-pagan gothic fantasy liberally sprinkled with feminism, incest, freewheeling sex, and Byzantine political plots, Storm Constantine's Sea Dragon Heir is your... Read more
Published on March 30 2002 by Craig Alan Loewen
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but ultimately unsatisfying
I enjoyed this book but it wasn't compelling enough to make me read the rest of the trilogy. The story feels somewhat contrived, as if the protagonists are doing things the author... Read more
Published on March 26 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Seas of change
Pharinet Palindrake and her twin brother Valraven are united by their desire to free the hidden powers of Caradore, their home, from the Magravandian Empire, as well as their... Read more
Published on Dec 5 2001 by "blissengine"
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak dragon weir
This is not one of Storm's best. In fact,this is a confusing mix of conventional fantasy and arcane sex politics, full of loose ends and uncompleted scenarios. Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2001 by Ventura Angelo
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, yet somehow not so good
Unlike alot of reviews I will not be giving away any of the plot, I will simplpy give a review.
So, as I read this book I could not decide whether I wanted to throw this book... Read more
Published on July 28 2001 by Josh
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sum Not The Equal Of Its Parts
This novel never really credibly comes together, its component parts lacking the integration to achieve a well rounded whole. Read more
Published on March 13 2001 by Elyon
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