#SPFBO Review : The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1batch 2batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  links.

This week and next I will be posting reviews for the ten books I rolled forward to read fully.  Hopefully five reviews this week followed by an update and cuts and semi finalist announcements on Saturday.  I will then repeat this format the following week. I won’t be posting a rating for the books at this point.

FlightofThe Flight of the Darkstar Dragon has to have one of the most fascinating settings that I can recall reading for some time.  I had a really good time reading this, it’s incredibly creative and very well written.  The world building aspect almost puts me in mind of Pratchett where the number of possibilities feel infinite and there’s a certain charm about the story that creates a flavour of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland.  Plus, the unique world of the Darkstar Dimension and the number of prospects for exploration that it offers gave me Startrek vibes – simply because Min can, and will, boldly go (although, to be clear, there is no spaceship or space travel here).

As the story sets out we are thrown immediately into a bizarre situation.  The crew of the Melodious Narwhal, a skyship powered by magic, have been thrown to the deck (literally) and are all beginning to awaken from some sort of stupor and are all suffering from collective amnesia.  Min Choi, First Officer onboard, needs to pull herself together quickly and reassert command, especially as the skyship seems to have lost all power and is plummeting out of control.

Now, I’m not really going to elaborate too much on the plot.  I think it’s more important to give an outline of the world here and the characters that we spend time with.  This isn’t to say that the plot isn’t entertaining, because it is, but I think this has a first in series feel with plenty of elements being established which means certain elements feel a little more sketchy.  This isn’t a criticism I hasten to add.  I was totally immersed with this book and found myself really enjoying Min’s story.

So, to the setting  It’s difficult to pin this down and I have no doubt that my thoughts are going to be a mess.  The Darkstar Dimension is a world almost in reverse, or maybe more correctly a world that defies physics.  Everything here has a purple hue, the sun is encircled by a huge hungry dragon, fish can fly and a multitude of rifts can be seen that are constantly in motion.  The dragon I mentioned, due to its mammoth size, is continually hungry and sometimes steals magic from other realities creating rifts (and stranded people).  These rifts are perpetually in motion around the sun and the dragon which allows travel to different places as rifts become close enough to journey to.

There are a number of characters.  Min is the First Officer. She’s only recently graduated and so, although she’s been given command of the skyship she isn’t a captain – and this is a bone of contention with some of the crew who never miss an opportunity to snipe at her.  She seems to be constantly trying to win approval and yet in fairness, if not for her quick thinking, they’d all probably be long since dead.  We have a scholar on board called Abalendu, basically he’s the son of an Admiral in search of a mythical land.  His father gave the posting to Min thinking it would be good experience!  Zoya is a warrior taken on as a bodyguard to Abalendu.  She wears a magical artefact known as a Parasite Glove which gives her great strength and speed but comes at a cost (as the name implies).  Jedda is the Ship’s artificer, constantly relied upon to come up with impossible solutions.  FInally, we meet a new character called Brightest.  Brightest found himself similarly stranded in the Darkstar Dimension but seems to have made a home there.  Well, a mud tower constructed upon the back of a turtlemoth called Stickle.

There is drama, fascinating travel to some really crazy places and a general feel that there is so much more in the pipeline to look forward to.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, this is only fairly short and yet there’s a lot to fit in.  I think the setting steals the show in this instalment with the characters and plot playing second fiddle – but, I don’t think that’s a problem because the world building has me not only intrigued but hooked.

I can safely say that I would love to read more of Min’s adventures to infinity and beyond.  Sign me up.

I received a copy courtesy of the author, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


22 Responses to “#SPFBO Review : The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick”

  1. Tammy

    The world sounds fascinating. I’m so curious to see your final tally for all these books:-)

    • @lynnsbooks

      The world building here is so good and the author’s imagination is just amazing.
      Lynn 😀

  2. travelingcloak

    Great review. This book sounds really atmospheric and cool.

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This one sounds great! Adding it to my list.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I thought the world building was fantastic and it is a very quick read.
      Lynn 😀

  4. jessicabookworm

    I am so pleased to hear you enjoyed this one and that the wonderful setting didn’t let that gorgeous cover down! 😉

    • @lynnsbooks

      It really didn’t. Fantastic imagination on display here.
      Lynn 😀

  5. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    A fascinating background, an interesting crew dealing with interpersonal problems and a dragon around the sun (not to mention the alternate reality rifts!): this looks like a great recipe for an amazing story, indeed… 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think you should give it a shot and see what you think.
      Lynn 😀

  6. waytoofantasy

    Sounds like this is a good one! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  7. bkfrgr

    Ooo, I am intrigued! This sounds fabulously unusual! 😃

    • @lynnsbooks

      It really is very unusual. I enjoyed it very much.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Ola G

    This sounds really fascinating! I’ll keep this on my radar 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’d like to see what you make of it. The characters are probably the weakest link but the world building is excellent.
      Lynn 😀

  9. #SPFBO : Semi-Finalist and Cuts Announcement | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] I had such a good time reading Flight of the Darkstar Dragon.  The imagination and world building are absolutely fascinating.  This is a purple world where a dragon encircles the sun and rifts act as portals to other worlds.  A winning combination of super world building with the promise of many adventures yet to come.  My review is here. […]

  10. sjhigbee

    A fabulous review, Lynn! I have a lot of books stacked up at present – but I really like the sound of this one and am planning to try to get to it before the end of the year if I can… Thank you for sharing.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I look forward to reading your thoughts Sarah.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        I’ve promised to get this one with my Christmas book money:))

      • @lynnsbooks

        I hope you enjoy it – the setting is inspired.
        Lynn 😀

  11. #SPFBO : Finalist announcement | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon […]

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