on June 6, 2004
I bought this on recommendation of my cousin. We're not speaking anymore.
Seriously though, Rawn is an excellent writer. She has wonderful descriptions, her characters are real, and the relationships are filled with a genuine give and take of emotions.
I have several problems with the book.
First was the romance. I have nothing against romance in my fantasy. More often than not it adds a needed poignancy to an epic. I just didn't plan on reading a novel that was more romance than anything else. The fantasy aspect of the book, just seems more like background, and scenery. I much prefer a book that uses that fantasy to take a unique look into human nature. This was more of a straight up romance novel during medieval times with some dragons and magic in it.
Second was the nigh-glacial pacing. Oh brother. I felt like I was reading in slow motion. Let me give you a quick summary here. The book begins with the ruler of the land taking a mortal wound and slowly dying. His son is about to ascend to the throne, and although he is a proven fighter, most question his ability to rule since he's a bookish type. He also must soon marry, but if he marrys one of his liege lord's daughters he won't survive much past the birth of his first male child. So his aunt, the leader of the books mage clan (sunrunners), arranges for him to marry one of her young apprentices. The two meet and instantly fall in love. Yet because the wily hero has machinations of his own in mind they can't show it in public. He intends to fool everyone and get something out of it from his liege lord at the 3 year fair who he's supposed to be picking a bride from as well. Eventually they get out of the castle and head off to the fair.
That my friends is the first 180 pages.
180 pages! Sheesh!
Lastly is the narrative vs. dialogue mix which is overly heavy on the narrative side by about 8 to 1. Melanie seems to want to tell us more often than show us.
Therefore I cannot recommend this book by an excellent writer. Unless you like a heavy (and I mean heavy) dose of romance in your reading.
on July 24, 2003
The best money I've ever spent!
Her charcters we're EXECELLENT. They grew and changed with every event they lived through. There were no clear good characters or evil. Just People! The main character had a few evil mishaps he went through himslef. Ms. Rawn illustarted how the black and whites in life are all a made up. It;s a matter of perception. As I continued the series, it just got better.
The use of magic in this book, while not original, (Hell any Wiccan can tell you that!, was better than most books because it had very clear cut stregnths and flaws which Ms. Rawn used to give her characters substance.(The genius even went so far as to create a genetic chart).
They can't all move mountains, or destroy dragons. But they have to use wit and intelligence to use what they have to suceed in there endavors. It's MUCH more realistic than uttering spells of a scroll.
It's a thinking book. You have to wonder about the characters motivations. You have to guess the true outsome of every situation that befall ALL the characters, whether it be in the political or battle arena. You have to KNOW the characters, becasue they grow and change, just like real people do.
The love at first sight part did bother me, until continued reading and witnessed the growth on of Rohen and Sioned's relationship.As you can see I have used the word growth alot in this review.
If you want some quick entertainment, this is not the book.
IT IS NOT A QUICK READ!
If you want your thoughts provocked, this is it!
I love Melanie Rawn, she is my new favorite author.
on March 29, 2003
This is a book that i had sitting on my shelf for years before i even bothered to read it. I don't know what i waited for!
Yes, it's a very long book, but it reads quickly. The characters are realistic: they think, they act in their own (or their family's) interest, they change sides/opinions, they sometimes use their emotions to make decisions for them...and so on. THe plot was engrossing enough, with enough aspects of the fantasy, action and romance genres mixed in to keep a reader's interest piqued.
Read this if you: like epic fantasy with multi-faceted characters, have an appreciation for creative concepts within books, have a lot of time to read (it's a long book, but good), have patience to figure out good vs. bad guys.
Don't read if you: Need fairly straightforward characters, get frustrated with too many characters appearing and disappearing, have difficultly with long books and meandering (though not boring) storylines.
Great example of what the fantasy genre CAN produce.
on March 12, 2003
I've owned all these books since they were first published and they are a series I have reread numerous times. I am currently rereading them in fact.
The characters are excellently crafted with depth and feeling. The really good characters have good and bad sides, they make mistakes and they THINK!
There are some sterotyped characters but they still are facinating and not so sterotyped that they are boring or iritating!
Melanie Rawn is a marvelous writer and before you read about how she hasn't crafted her world correctly let me point out it is HER world! It shouldn't matter to you if there are seige engines or other historicals issues that relate to our EARTH's history. For the simple reason that this is not Earth but Rawn's own creation and she can do or not do whatever the heck she wants with it's hitory and tecnology.
If you are the type to get fussy over that or you do not like romance in you fanatsy then these books are not for you. However, I would like to see you try the first book anyway just to see what you think!
Got for it, I think you'll like it! :-)
on May 19, 2002
Had this been the very first epic fantasy that I had ever read, I would likely be telling you the following, if you had not already been inundated with it: "this kicks ass, buy this book, best I've ever read, etc". That's probably what someone would tell you - if it were the only fantasy that they'd ever read. However, this is not my case. As I glance from my monitor to my immediate left, I would estimate 200 fantasy novels stare back at me. I'm not a fantasy "beast" - I'm only 18, in college, etc. But my fair bit of experience qualifies me to point out a few things to a potential reader - because really, you don't want to trust someone for whom this was their first.
"Dragon Prince" has a ton going for it. The characters act like real people might for the most part (unlike Terry Goodkind, where everything is meant to enrage or appall us), and the magic system of Sunrunners is about as original as it can be considering the voluminous amount of stuff that has preceded it. Political stuff is here too, and just at the right quantity and complication (though I do wish there were less passing mentions of unnecesarry and never-to-be-seen-again nobles and such. On the flip side, there is the occasional cheese-convo, for example Rohan trying to come to grips with his power in the last stages of the book, in a conversation with his brother Chay. Rohan's been the strongest personality up until this point, and then just starts whining about what he's going to do, he's not fit to rule, yadda yadda, and you can't help but roll your eyes at the contrivance of it all. Furthermore, I was a bit confused as to the size of the world. It really didn't seem to make intuitive sense. Battles in a "war" that involved nearly the entire world had mentions of soldiers in the "hundreds", never mention was ever made of a thousand people, for example. Rohan's battle against Roelstra at the end was about 600 on 900 respectively. Such figures irk me, because in a world where kingdoms are important and are ruled by lords, etc., and travel across this world takes quite a while, the popluation seems to be unrealistically low. Nitpicking perhaps, but these are points where reality and fantasy do have to be somewhat parallel, or so I would argue.
All in all though - still an enjoyable read. It's not the best (though I have not proceeded to the next 5 books), that honor I would bestow upon Mr. Robert Jordan. Although his series is excrutiatingly long, you have to admit: you want to know how that puppy ends perhaps more than any ending to any story in any form ever. This series was fun, but let's say I could never find a copy of any subsequent book in the series. I would be disappointed for a few moments, but I get over it. The Wheel of Time in that situation - it would bother me for a long long time. For me, that is the mark of truly great and involving fantasy.
on November 25, 2001
I read this book years ago, and only by accident discovered that it was one in a series. I have read a lot of the criticisms and can say that I see the point of many of the harshest. The romance is definitely based on lust, but I think that you can see it grows and becomes much more--although maybe you can't see that as much in this book. The good characters are definitely heading towards sainthood, although they become less so as the series progresses, and the bad characters are definitely very bad, with a few exceptions (Pandsala). So if those are your main critiques, then I would strongly urge you to read on. The line between "good" and "bad" people definitely becomes very very blurred.
However, Melanie Rawn spends a lot of time developing the world and developing people (in the first of the dragon star series, she tells a short life story of a couple only to kill them off). Some people hate that, they feel it's too much fluff. If that's how you feel, then definitely the series is not for you. For me, I love it. I felt more sorrow at the wastes of war. I feel as if I watched some of these characters grow up and some ofthem, I just want to smack and ask what their parents would think of them! There is a lot of romance and beautiful peoplein these books, but so what? As someone else so aptly stated, "it's a fantasy!" The world is well-developed, the description of magic and riding the sunlight, etc. is beautiful (I sort of think it would be neat to see it as a movie) and most of all, the people are very hauntingly human. Issues dealing with power, manipulation, fanaticism, obsession, hatred, etc. are well dealt with in this book. I agree with other people that as frustrating as it is that she kills her main characters off, it makes the story more real and the suspense that much greater. The only reason I am giving it four stars instead of five is because the characters have a tad less depth than they did in the following books. It is still high on my list of favorites however.
on October 16, 2001
Melanie Rawn's "Dragon Prince" is a wonderfully told story of secrets, love, and a wide variety of characters. The scheming High Prince Roelstra abuses his power over the other princes and their princedoms, starting fights among them just for the amusement of it. The successor to the Desert, Rohan, has other plans, and must use all his cleverness to overcome Roelstra and bring peace to the princedomes of the continent. Meanwhile, the Lady of Goddess Keep oversees all, weaving an intricate web of plans that will, if successful, put a Sunrunner in the position of High Prince.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fantasy novel. I first bought it simply because it related to dragons, and it does--though not in a way you may expect. Instead, I ended up caring deeply for characters so brilliantly written and so easy to relate to that in my own mind they became, in their own way, quite real. I missed them while I wasn't reading, worried that something important may happen while I was away from this incredible world, rejoiced when things turned out right but was saddened when new problems arose. Call me crazy, but it's the truth-I haven't lost my grip on reality, I simply grew another arm and gained a grip on fantasy as well. I hope you enjoy this book at least as much as I did.
on September 4, 2001
I have read some of these other reviews and am happy to say that I agree with them all. (except for that kid who obviously doesn't know great literature when he has read it) I must admit that there are some things that may be inappropriate for young children, but I think that PG-13 would be a more than fair rating for these books.
The characters are without a doubt to me the backbone of the novel/series. I found myself falling in love with Sioned (a bit odd since she is a fictional character) I became extremely attached to these characters and just as another reviewer stated it was difficult to let them go when they died. (I started crying when Maarken was hit in the arm with the arrow while sunrunning... )
As for the rest of the novel, my hat is tipped to someone who can create an entire continent and perfectly describe the various climates and cultures that are located about it.
Not only does Ms Rawn create wonderful main characters, but she also creates an army of lesser characters, nearly all of whom I remember and could pinpoint if told the name. This, I think, is no small feat for an author.
The storylines are phenomenal. Simply Stupendous. They weave in and about themselves and even with each other. As you finish one of the books, you may read something that triggers a memory from an older book. (I found myself constantly referring to the other novels in absolute awe)
Lastly, I am incredibly impressed with the Sunrunners and the Sorcerors. To be able to envision an entirely new form of magic and to be able to relate that so vividly is masterful. I really wished I could be a Sunrunner.
I pray constantly that Ms Rawn will expand on this storyline. And if she can hear me, I'd like her to know that I simply bow my head in admiration.
on March 27, 2001
I was skimming the reveiws, and was faintly appalled by all the negative comments that some of the people who have read this book had written. The first thing I have to say is: IT'S NOT REAL LIFE PEOPLE! A fantasy (especially a romance based one like the Dragon Prince) is allowed to have a few foibles. Yeah, okay, I can see where you're coming from with the "true love at first sight, everyone is beautiful except the bad guys" type thing, but come on! Think of the name of the genre: FANTASY. One of the biggest things that I liked was that Rawn used a refreshingly new aspect of magic usage. Yeah, the idea was a little borrowed from various others (naming no names, Tolkien), but I loved how she described it. There were a few mistakes in the whole fuedal system, but I think that Rawn made up for it by portraying the REAL side of politics to the reader; namely, the more human type issues. You have deciet, avarice, lust, and hate, all mixed together to make a delightful stew. Rawn just barely missed from making Rohan the perfect hero (does the name Ianthe strike a bell?), but it's all good. Rohan isn't really a person so much as he's a symbol of the ultimate struggle with power and how to use it...but I've babbled too much already. ^-^
on March 25, 2001
First-off, I have read these 2 series about 5 times (along with MANY other books, many of them re-reads as well, not all fantasy either), so I do know what I'm talking about when it comes to Melanie Rawn's books.
In my opinion, this book/series not only rivals Tolkien's, it surpases it.
To those that say that the characters are 1 dimensional thus having no "gray shading" to them...Rohan is by no means perfect (ie his "encounter" with Ianthe) and neither are any of the rest. Pandsala later proves she is neither purely evil nor is she good (her fallout with Rohan in the second series).
To those that say that this book is juvenile, did you even read it? Half of the things in there could not even be understood by most under that age of 16. I read earlier that someone said something about the love story not being appropriate, and that the characters were over-developed. My personal opinion in this matter is that the book is not the typical fantasy book, it is a masterpiece by comparison. It actually has a plot. No other fantasy series I have ever read (with the possible exception of Orson Scott Card's Ender series or Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series) have been as captivating. These book with quite simply keep you up at night once you start reading them. Whenever I read them, I forget to watch the clock and end up staying up 'til 4 in the morning quite frequently because I'm so engrossed.
For those of you who are considering reading some of Melanie Rawn's books, I say go for it, they are great. I personally think that the world could learn a lot about subtly if they read these books. I give them a high commendation!