Review: The Dragon's Son

The Dragon's Son The Dragon's Son 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 focused on both the book and audiobook. At the end of “Mistress of Dragons”, listeners discovered that Melisande, the Mistress of Dragons, gave birth to twins; a normal-looking child and a child’s whose lower half shimmered with dragon scales and claws. Draconas, the dragon disguised as a human, gave the normal looking child to King Edward to take care of as his own. Belona, Melisande’s lover and former general of Seth’s army, received the other child to raise and protect.

Marcus was born to a privileged life of royalty while Ven (short for Vengeance) spent his life in hiding and solitude, seeking the comfort of a cave when escaping the monotony of the cottage that he shared with his foster mother, Belona. The audiobook starts out when the boys are at age six. While accompanying Belona to the town market, Ven’s scaled legs are revealed to onlookers after a dog attacks him. Before the crowd lynches him, Draconas rescues Ven and provides an introduction to the boy. Realizing that Ven (and Marcus) have some level of dragon magic, Draconas knows that he will have to keep a close eye on these two boys both to see where they go and to protect them from the evil dragon, Maristara, who wishes to overthrow the dragon council and rule the planet.

The story leapfrogs a decade to when the twins emerge into adolescence and begin to test the power inside them. Both twins have a strong skill for magic, but are hesitant to use it since their using it will beacon to dragonkind where they are. But as events unfold, Maristara’s partner, Grall (father to Ven) captures Ven and sets to training him as part of their army. At the same time, Marcus sets out about his true mother and his origins. The characters ultimately find themselves at Dragon’s Keep, a hidden city in the woods where the evil dragons reside. As the story works toward the climax, character’s true intentions are revealed and surprises await each one.
As the middle piece in a trilogy, Weis made sure that this end was certainly less conclusive and more intense than “The Mistress of Dragons.” However, until the end, the speed and excitement of this audiobook maintained a low level of energy. Things progressed at a slow pace and only really accelerated towards the end.

In recent publications by Audio Renaissance, they have attempted to dramatize or give better depth to their narrations by incorporating several narrators. Quite frankly, I wish they would stop it or drastically improve the manner in which they implement dual narrators. In “Dragon’s Son,” Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cur serve as the narrators, but rather than switching off chapter for chapter or one doing the voice and the other doing the narrative, they engineered a style that is more distracting than entertaining and reminds one of a poorly edited interview. As the story shifts from various viewpoints, so changes the narrator. This could work fine if it was a first person narrative or changing at each chapter, but Weis’s point of view changes quickly at times and within the course of several paragraphs, the voices will volley back and forth. The voices do not change with the dialogue, but with the sentences, so within two paragraphs, the voices could switch back and forth three or more times. Granted, the voices do not constantly change ever thirty seconds throughout entire audiobook. In fact, the earlier part of the story while the characters remain far apart, the dual voices works decently. But towards the end, the frequency increases and the quality decreases.

The narrators read decently. Gabrielle de Cur kept the story running smoothly and enraptured that storytelling essence that fantasy narrators need in order keep the listener’s focus. Stefan Rudnicki narrated some of the harder-edged characters like Draconas and Ven. While his cold tone worked particularly well for Draconas, who attempts a stoic disposition through much of this, the same voice did not bode well for Ven. Ven certainly embodies the troubled-teen persona, but the removed emotion in Rudnicki’s narration, takes away from those raging hormones that make those teenage years so much fun. But in comparison to “The Mistress of Dragons,” Gigi Marceau-Clarke delivered a much tighter performance.

Even with its flaws, “The Dragon’s Son” can keep a listener’s interest particularly since you receive answers left unaddressed in the first audiobook as well as look forward to the conclusion of this series. Like much of fantasy out there, it may not be great, but it’s fun and entertaining.

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