TPG Reviews: Embers at Galdrilene, by A.D. Trosper
A decent enough adventure, but one that you have almost certainly seen before.
“A ray of light, a stain of shadow, shall endure to breathe life and death into the future”
The war between the Guardians and the Shadow Riders ended in total devastation. The final battle killed all the dragons and left nothing but fields of ash. A small clutch of dragon eggs was all that remained to provide hope for the future.
Five hundred years later, the ability to use magic is a death sentence and dragons are remembered as a curse. But the unhatched dragons sing for their riders…and six lives will be changed forever.
The elements of magic are drawn together as the dragons’ call leads them on a journey where they learn everything they’ve been taught to believe about magic and dragons is wrong.
With the last of the dragons and the world at stake, they will risk everything to heed the call.
But an evil from the past rises again. Shadow Dragons ride the dawn once more…
My rating: 6/10
Whatever its merits, it is safe to say that Embers is not the most original of books. Between the not-orcs, not-ringwraiths, telepathic dragons and the wise old mentor, there is little here that you won’t have seen before. If you’re after a truly unique and original adventure, you should really look elsewhere.
If the above does not bother you, however, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the dragon/rider interactions provide many of this book’s best moments. You really can feel the bond between each pair, and the moments between them are all as touching as they are brilliantly executed. Said bond, admittedly, will probably remind many of the Pern and/or Eragon books, though not having read them myself I had no issue with this.
Other highlights come in the form of the book’s various battle sequences, as well as scenes involving the use of magic. All of the book’s fights are exciting and fluid, and I really felt compelled to keep reading whenever there was one. As for the magic, I simply loved the way it was described. The underlying magic system is actually pretty straightforward, but the descriptions of it felt entirely fresh nonetheless.
Other aspects of the book, unfortunately, hold it back. I found much of the dialogue rather stilted, with sentences often feeling just a little bit too long to be real. The book also attempts to focus on far too many characters, stifling countless opportunities for individual development.
Finally, the middle of the book is rather slow. Once everyone has their dragons, the plot just kinda stops for a bit and it takes a while for things to start moving again. The book’s final act easily makes up for this, but its safe to say that this book’s pacing is a bit off.
All in all, Embers at Galdrilene manages to be good without ever becoming truly great. Fans of dragons will of course love it, as should readers of fantasy in general. I’m not quite sure when I’m going to read the sequel, but I’ll certainly do so at some point.
If anyone has read this book then I’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts below. The next review will be of Catskinner’s Book, by Misha Burnett, so stay tuned.