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5.0 out of 5 stars As Painful as Real Life - But Still Excellent
I've always considered Barbara Hambley to be one of the undiscovered gems of the fantasy field. She can write better prose than 90% of them, and her plots take hackneyed devices (magic, wizards, dragons, demons) and make them into something unique. Dragonsbane, a standalone from relatively early in her career, is a perfect example of this - the Dragonsbane of the...
Published on Jan. 14 2000 by Elliot Fertik

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Hambly is an excellent writer, and THAT is the problem
Barbara Hambly is a master of her craft. She's excellent creating "atmospheres" for her books and stories. She's so skilled in wrapping her readers in the "essence" of the worlds she creates, in making her readers "feel" the environment of where her characters live, that sometimes that is her downfall.
The atmosphere in...
Published on Feb. 10 2003 by Barbara Diaz A.


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3.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Hambly is an excellent writer, and THAT is the problem, Feb. 10 2003
By 
Barbara Diaz A. (Mexico, D F. México) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Mass Market Paperback)
Barbara Hambly is a master of her craft. She's excellent creating "atmospheres" for her books and stories. She's so skilled in wrapping her readers in the "essence" of the worlds she creates, in making her readers "feel" the environment of where her characters live, that sometimes that is her downfall.
The atmosphere in "Dragonshadow" is not a pleasant one. Her characters are immersed in a battle, not for their lives, but for their very souls, against demons of the worst kind. Demons that can possess a living person, and use his or her body to do horrible acts of violence, while the person itself remains trapped, and is forced to see, and LIKE, what the demon is doing.
This is not a story for the faint of heart. It isn't pretty, and it's so well written, that you really don't want to finish it.
It's just that the plot is very good, but you definitely don't like what is happening to the characters. Let's face it: it seems that Ms. Hambly is taking revenge against her two main characters, Jenny and John, for some unthinkable wrong they'd done to her.
But, if you can endure such torment as reading this book represents, then, when you read the next book, "The Knight of the Demon Queen", you'll know that all the torture and the uneasy feelings where worth it! (Also, when you finish "Kight of the Demon Queen", you'll be wishing you already had "Dragonstar" to finally know what the hell is going to happen to Jenny and John).
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4.0 out of 5 stars :( :( :(, Jan. 27 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the sequel to Dragonsbane.. I have all three books in this series and I completely loved the first one, though it one of the best books I've ever read and I fell in love with the characters..
I read the backs of the two other books and put off reading them for the longest time, I was so afraid that terrible things would happen in them to the characters I had grown to love. Well I finally did read them and well I was right..
I have this dilemma which is a mental thing but I have a hard time seperating fiction from fact to some extent. This book was absolutely torturous. Well-written definately, but I had to drag myself through it without stopping to cry and scream and all that. Of course the instant I finished it, I HAD to start the next one which did a little better for me but not much.
Overall though this book is incredibly depressing and heart-breaking but it is very well-written and I would easily give it five stars did it not depress me so much.
The other thing I found wrong with it is minor and my opinion, was the state of the dragons. Dragons I look on to be massively wise and powerful beings (and they are in the book) but I believe them to be more a force of Light and definately not so dang susceptible to being possessed. That's me though. That almost made it seem less real to me.
If you can keep your suspension of disbelief reined in a bit for this book I highly recommend it.. but read Dragonsbane first, no demons in that one AND it has a happy ending. If you can't take bad things then ONLY read Dragonsbane, like I should've, silly me..
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2.0 out of 5 stars Ooof., Oct. 2 2000
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Mass Market Paperback)
Uhh.. uh... okay. I loved "Dragonsbane", despite seemingly every other reviewer on amazon.com yowling that it was boring boring boring. And I have nothing against characters suffering, or flaws, or tension.. but this is overdoing it.
After more than half a book full of endless sex, violence, and angst (it takes no time starting off on a down note, though it's still incredibly boring) it gets almost routine, but not routine enough so that you don't care. Just so that you're bored *and* sickened at the same time. I only slogged through the entire thing because I had hopped for some sort of closure, but it seems as if I'll have to go out and fetch yet another sequel. Boring hack and slash. It's a bad combination. Yeesh... either save them or kill them already...
Also, the endless parade of characters.. they're all given names, and some are given descriptions, but most of them are pointless. Like all the family members and the mages who have.. like.. one line, then get posessed by demons and killed.
With all fairness to Barbara Hambly, it was really well written and she probably took a lot of time and effort on this, but content is everything...
This is a book where things happen.. but nothing really happens. You'll just have to wait for the sequel.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing sequel to a great first book, Feb. 19 2000
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Mass Market Paperback)
I have always appreciated Barbara Hambly's books. While they may be a bit formulaic, on the whole they are absorbing and memorable, with complex characters and a plot worth thinking about. I enjoyed the first book in this series, Dragonsbane, very much.
However, Dragonshadow is terrible. I was sickened by the gratuitous violence and sexually-charged scenes in this book. I am at a loss to discover what possessed the author to imagine the acts she describes, much less inflict them on her characters and on her readers.
There is no rule against portraying violence in fiction - after all, bad things do happen in real life - but the violent scenes in Dragonshadow were neither illuminating nor well written. Rushed, poorly thought out, above all in bad taste, the second half of the book ruined the story for me and made me wish I had never heard of this sequel.
Did Hambly want to tap into a mass market which favors violence in science fiction? Was this a bid to break away from her earlier books and try something new? A cross between an R-rated comic book and a B-grade horror movie, this is an unworthy sequal to Dragonsbane and I don't recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As Painful as Real Life - But Still Excellent, Jan. 14 2000
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Mass Market Paperback)
I've always considered Barbara Hambley to be one of the undiscovered gems of the fantasy field. She can write better prose than 90% of them, and her plots take hackneyed devices (magic, wizards, dragons, demons) and make them into something unique. Dragonsbane, a standalone from relatively early in her career, is a perfect example of this - the Dragonsbane of the title, John Aversin, is not a noble knight, but a scholar, who slays dragons because he has to protect his people. His wife, Jenny, is a witch who loves him yet feels that their bond only hinders her efforts to become a master mage. Hambley did a wonderful job of exploring their characters, while delivering a thrill ride of a plot.
Now, many years later, she's written a sequel which is very different in tone. John and Jenny discover that a mage has been using demons to enslave dragons and mage alike, and is allied with a rebel army that seeks to conquer the kingdom. The mage manages to capture their son, Ian, and soon he is possessed as well. John and Jenny team up with Morkeleb to stop the plot, but the price is much higher then they could have ever anticipated...
What makes Dragonshadow so different from Dragonsbane is mostly the tone. Dragonbane, while putting its characters through the wringer, basically has a happy ending. Dragonshadows is far different. But the ending does not feel forced. In real life, people don't go through incredibly tramatic events unchanged; they pay a price, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Both John and Jenny literally go through Hell, and they are both intensely scarred by the experience. But while this is painful for the reader, who cares about the characters immensely, it also brings about a deeper and more realistic experience. And there is the promise of a sequel to this book, so even the downbeat ending is not totally without hope. This book is like a trial by fire; painful many times, but bringing a great sense of satisfaction. Lightyears ahead of most wish-fulfillment fantasy, and a great read as well (I finished it in two days!) I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow..., Jan. 6 2000
By 
Nathan (Wilmington, DE United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Mass Market Paperback)
Typically, sequels are not as good as their predecessors, but there certainly are exceptions. This is one of them. Not only does it equal _Dragonsbane_ on every count, it surpasses it. This isn't your typical sequel, though. It is clear that when Hambly wrote _Dragonsbane_ 15 years ago that she wasn't planning on continuing the story of her protagonists. I, for one, am glad that she did.
In this book, we find that a mage is enslaving dragons by means unknown, and capturing mages to control them. John Aversin and Jenny Waynest, trying to figure out what's going on and how to stop it, enlist the aid of Morkeleb, the greatest of the dragons, and discover that the evil mage is controling the other witches and dragons by infesting them with demons. John, Jenny, Morkeleb and their allies then predictable set out to stop this threat.
What is unpredictable is how the author goes about doing this. More on that later.
Let me note now that in the beginning of the book I was a little concerned with a couple discrepencies from the first book. The horse Battlehammer, belonging to Gareth in the first book, now belongs to John, but as this book takes place a couple of years later, this can be forgiven. There is also an evident change in John's character and speaking style.
Moving on, I was pleased to find out that this book was written from both John and Jenny's POV's as opposed to solely Jenny's as in the first book. This allowed for much greater character development and depth.
Also new features in this book are the antagonists, the demons. This book shows chillingly clearly what temptations can lead to letting a demon into your head, and the devastating results of such. The demons are original, not your run of the mill goat legged horned red monstrosity, but are nonetheless chillingly disturbing.
This book starts out more slowly than its predecessor, but it sure makes up for that going into the book. There's a lot of action, from fortresses under siege to underwater battles to all kinds of things. There're also new contraptions, as John has constructed a hot-air balloon type thing and a mechanism called an Urchin, which is basically a dragon-slaying tank.
This book is really wonderfully written, fast paced, with three-dimensional characters and creatures all the way around, revelations that ring disturbingly true, and tragic losses to all sides. Jeez...talk about ending on a down note. I think that with the ending Hambly was trying to create suicidal urges in her readers. Although this novel is complete, and it doesn't end with a cliffhanger, there is a sequel promised at the end, so keep your eyes open.
My biggest gripe with this book had nothing to do with the book really, but the fact that in the last few years Del Rey has started using really cheap paper that won't last for a real long time; added to the fact that their books are a little more expensive than some of the opposition, I think they'd better get their act together.
Highly Recommended.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - wait for the sequel, May 10 1999
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Hardcover)
I have no objections to sequels if done well, and Ms. Hambly can do them well, as evidenced by her Darwath Trilogy and "Those Who Hunt the Night"/"Traveling With the Dead". However, this "semi-sequel" to her brilliant "Dragonsbane" should have been left on the shelf. Terrible things happen to her protagonists, the witch Jenny Waynest and the reluctant hero-scientist John Aversin, and to their 12 year old son, Ian, in a dreary, hopeless world. Neither fortitude, intelligence, or honor wins the day; only a screamingly-obvious plot device, the flawed gem which holds Jenny's soul (and who doesn't see that coming from the first instant) allows a partial measure of physical, but not emotional, victory to occur. The book is such a downer after the brilliant "Dragonsbane" that the author was compelled to state -- right in the book -- that a sequel to this one would be forthcoming. However, unlike this one, which I rushed to buy in hardcover, I'll wait for the next one to get to paperback. Not recommended, but her other books -- particularly the ones I mentioned above and "The Ladies of Mandrigyn" -- are.
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3.0 out of 5 stars When lackluster sequels happen to good books..., March 25 1999
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Hardcover)
Having read and loved "Dragonsbane", I was eagerly awaiting the sequel, "Dragonshadow". Deep down I think I knew it wouldn't be as good, but I was hoping. And, sadly, my hunch was borne out by a well-written but lackluster book. The character development that is one of the things that delights me about Hambly's books wasn't there in this one. We are never properly introduced to Ian, we know next to nothing about Caradoc, and there's little or no development of motives for some of the main characters. (So why IS Rocklys invading the south? Why DID Caradoc decide to traffic with demons? Whatever happened to all the bandits that were threatening the north?) Things just happened for no apparant reason, and a lot of bad things happened to the main characters that seemed to have no real purpose behind them. (Heaping trials and tribulations upon our Hero for his betterment is one thing, but some of the things that happen to Jenny and John leave me shaking my head. I mean, I know how much Hambly likes torturing her main characters, but really! If I'd wanted to read a hack n' slash, I would have. It's well written pointless gore, but pointless gore all the same.) All in all, I found the book forgettable, although there were some good parts, and it had the trademark Hambly prose. I don't regret buying it, but I should have waited for the paperback...
If you're a die-hard Hambly fan, you'll probably enjoy this, but if you've never read her before, try starting with something else (Like "Dragonsbane" or the Darwath trilogy)
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4.0 out of 5 stars left me spell-bound and wanting more, in spite of grim end, Oct. 19 2000
By 
E. A. Lovitt "starmoth" (Gladwin, MI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Mass Market Paperback)
This fantasy is a sequel to "Dragonsbane", and Morkeleb the
Black is in of danger of turning into a smarmy, cocker spaniel type
dragon (a la Anne McCaffrey) in "Dragonshadow", but Hambly
writes him out of that undignified fate.
Unpleasant but wondrous
adventures are the daily lot of Lord John Aversin, Dragonsbane, and
Jenny the Wizard as they attempt to rescue their son Ian from
Folcalor, the king of the Demons. Jenny has the added handicap of
being possessed by a demon herself, while her true self is trapped in
a wizard's gem. This book could be subtitled, "When Bad Things
Happen to Good People"...
Luckily, there is a sequel,
"Knight of the Demon Queen". I hope it has a happier ending
than "Dragonshadow", but with Hambly you never know. She is
one of the true originals in this hackneyed genre. Her dragons,
demons, gnomes, heroes, and heroines will leave you spell-bound and
wanting more, no matter how it ends.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I wish she had never written this book!, June 5 2002
By 
Ce commentaire est de: Dragonshadow (Mass Market Paperback)
I read Dragonsbane (the first book about John and Jenny who are the 2 main characters in these stories) many years ago and really enjoyed it. When I recently found out that Barbara Hambly had written a sequel to their story, I could not hardly wait to read it. What a disapointment! I wish I had never picked up this book, and just left the characters where they were at the end of Dragonsbane. I can take some hardships happening to the characters in the books that I read, but this was terrible. I have since got the 3rd book in this series from the Library (thank goodness I did not buy it) and "skimmed" through it first to see if anything finally got better. Believe it or not, it was worse than Dragonshadow. When I do get a chance to read, I would like to finish the book and feel uplifted instead of depressed. Please pass on Dragonshadow unless you like a lot of unresolved heartache in your stories.
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Dragonshadow
Dragonshadow by Barbara Hambly (Hardcover - March 2 1999)
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