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3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on February 10, 2003
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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on June 5, 2002
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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on July 29, 2001
The first book in the series, Dragonsbane, was pretty good. And Ms Hambly generally writes a good book. But, in Dragonshadow, she wrote half a book. Dragonshadow has no ending, and it closes with a notice that it is continued in the next book of the series (Trilogy?). Dragonshadow is depressing. It is, sadly, a book for those who wish to wallow in the filth and misery of demons, those who wish to read of the triumph of evil.... I do hope that Ms Hambly does better in the future. Or she gets dropped from my list of preferred authors.
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on June 6, 2001
This book was great. The characters stayed true from the original book of the series and have developed naturally. The plot grabbed me from the begining and wouldn't let go until I had read the whole thing. I eagerly await the following books in the series.
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on January 27, 2001
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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on October 19, 2000
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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on October 9, 2000
Although this book is as wonderfully written as everything else by Barbara Hambly, I found it to be incredibly depressing. There is not a single bright spot or light moment in the entire novel; it's simply one long desperate struggle that brutalizes the characters. The ending is a real downer. It's obviously going to have a sequel but at this moment I sincerely doubt that I will read it.
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on October 6, 2000
Seems Ms. Hambly has noted that a certain bestselling SF authorputs his characters through hell. So, in ( ) fashion, she tries it (almost literally) with two of her most beloved characters, to the ruin of both the characters and her readers joy with the "Dragonsbane" universe.
Martin she is not!
This "follow-up" book (and the next) are as bad (IMHO) as the sequel(s) to "Dune."
And like "Dune", I consider the story "finished" with the first book - and will read no more of either author.
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on October 2, 2000
Uhh.. uh... okay. I loved "Dragonsbane", despite seemingly every other reviewer on 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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on July 20, 2000
This isn't Barbara Hambly's best book, but I still enjoy anything by her more than I do from the majority of fantasy writers. She easily draws the reader into her unreal worlds. I liked Dragonsbane and I liked the character Jenny Waynest as she was depicted in it, an older woman who could handle a sword and who was neither unrealistically tough nor ditheringly feminine. This book did not have the same impact on me. The pacing is uneven and characters that she went to considerable effort creating, and I was curious about, are summarily dispensed with. I don't mind a glimpse into the darkness, not all moral problems are as neatly solved in real life as they all too often are in stories, and I felt that the adult characters having to deal with it was the strong point of the book. But I was uncomfortable with the son's involvement. Still, Morkeleb makes up for a lot.
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