Review: Mistress of Dragons

Mistress of Dragons Mistress of Dragons by Margaret Weis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is of both the book and the audiobook. Margaret Weis rarely writes novels on her own. She usually co-authors books with Tracey Hickman and Don Perrin. In fact, this is the first book in a series that is strictly her own writing; unlike previous series such as “Dragonlance,” “Darksword,” and “Deathgate Cycle”. On her own, she tells a reliable story that has all the necessary fantasy elements: magic, dragons, kingdoms, fighting, love, and of course, scantily clad women. While her story is formulaic, the tale is still enjoyable with a few interesting twists to keep the listener guessing.

Welcome to Dragonvarld, a world where dragons and humans co-exist only through a truce among the aged dragons who have sworn to interfere with humanity as little as possible. To keep abreast of their actions, the dragons magically transformed one of their own, Draconas, into a human to live among the people and observe them. But the dragon Maristara has decided to act in her own interest and lay siege to the remote kingdom of Seth. Her actions go undiscovered for several centuries until Draconas and another dragon find out what has transpired. Now it is up to Draconas to infiltrate the protected kingdom and figure out what is happening.

A game of chase ensues, as Draconas with the help of King Edward of a neighboring kingdom rescues Melisande, the future Mistress of Dragons. Her rescue prevents Maristara from possessing her and further tightening the dragon’s power in Seth. They flee from the kingdom only to be pursued by Belona, a female warrior from Seth and Melisande’s lover. Brimming with high adventure, our four heroes and heroines (Belona, Draconas, Edward, and Melisande) forge together, in some cases unwantingly, to try to stop Maristara and her cohorts.

If you’re looking for a fun adventure that may have its cliches and weaknesses but is still easy and exciting to listen to, then by all means give this audiobook a try. The character dynamics worked well for the first book in the series. Unfortunately by the end, the listener realizes these dynamics won’t be repeated in the next book but there seems to be some promise of an interesting “The Prince and the Pauper” premise for book two.

Gigi Marceau-Clarke delivered a prim and proper performance. With the main characters having a highborn element to them, she reads quite eloquently and elegantly. Her gentle but strong voice illustrates Belona’s strength, maintains Edward’s princely demeanor, reveals Melisande’s hidden strength, and reminds the listener that Draconas is much more than he appears to be. During the intense sequences, she wields the story like the proverbial sharpened sword, slicing right into the action with amazing ease.

Like many of her series, it's not innovative writing, but it is really enjoyable storytelling, which of course, would lend itself to the audio format. She paints a fantastic world filled with interesting and marvelous beings and lets the listener ride on through to enjoy the view. With two very different but strong female characters, this book is inviting to women unlike many fantasy series are. While so many fantasy series either shun women from the center of action or masculinizes them beyond redemption, Weis portrays these two different women with a whole range of believable emotions such as strength, love, anger, fear, and sadness.

With likable characters, an entertaining plot, proper use and explanation of magic, believable dragons (insomuch as dragons can be believable), and of course, those scantily clad women, “Mistress of Dragons” proves to be an exciting tale where a listener will lose himself for a couple hours. As her first series, Weis has definitely delivered a great package.

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