Friday, June 01, 2007

Review: Dragonmaster Trilogy by Chris Bunch

Three nations get into a war that drags on for years until the countries integrate dragons into an air force. Dragons and their fliers become an integral part of the war. Fantasy author Chris Bunch tells the story of one dragon flier and his war experiences in the “Dragonmaster” trilogy. (“Storm of Wings” trilogy in Britain.) Readers follow one character as he grows through the vicious war. The author presents a gritty action story with battles of magic and dragons told with vivid descriptions.

The first book, Dragonmaster, begins the story of Hal Kailas and his dream of becoming a dragon flier. After leaving his small coal mining mountain village, Hal spends time wandering Deraine doing various jobs. He meets a man who owns a dragon flying show and joins it. When the job with the show vanishes, Hal finds himself conscripted into the army for the war between Deraine, Sagene and Roche. His life changes while fighting in the brutal war until he joins the newly formed dragon flier squadron. The book details his training and life through the author’s vivid, realistic descriptions of war and fighting with dragons.

Knighthood of the Dragon is the second book of the trilogy. This book continues Hal’s story through the years of the war. The war has been vile with heavy casualties for the three countries. Mostly a stalemate, Hal comes up with knew ways to break the stalemate and end the war. He combines magic with his dragon fliers to give Deraine a powerful advantage over the enemy. Mr, Bunch creates an action packed plot full of aerial battles. His characters remain realistic and affected by the war.

In The Last Battle, the third book, Hal Kailas deals with the aftermath of war. He finds his life lacking, undecided about what an ex-dragon flier should do with his life. The nation of Deraine no longer needs him. His marriage becomes strained. Hal does various things that get him in trouble with the king. After finding himself in prison for a short time, Hal settles on a plan and a new adventure begins with an exploration to find out what dragons are fleeing from in the west. The last book has plenty of action and concludes the trilogy nicely.

The “Dragonmaster” trilogy by Chris Bunch is an entertaining series. Full of gritty details, the reader follows Hal Kailas through his career from an inexperienced youth to a seasoned warrior dragon flier. Mr. Bunch does not hold anything back about the futility of fighting wars that are stalemates. He does this with thorough descriptions of the training of soldiers and battles fought in the books. Readers of fantasy that like military action and dragons will enjoy the books.

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