#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.

#SPFBO – My Next Steps

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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.

So, this is slightly new territory for me in that this year I’ve left all my possible books to the final month to read and review and I’ve decided to leave things fairly loose.  To be honest I’d like to read all 10 books before choosing semi-finalists but I’m also conscious that time is moving on and I need to keep on top of things and not leave everything to the last few days.  With that in mind I’m going to provide an update after I’ve completed the first five books, 

And, the following (not listed in any particular order) are the books that I will be reading (slight spoiler alert, in case you’re thinking this seems like a lot to get through I can say I’ve already completed three of these so hopefully my first update will come on swift wings

  1. Tuyo by Rachel Neumeier
  2. Voice of War by Zack Argyle
  3. The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick
  4. The Child of Silence (The Burning Orbit Book 1) by Joseph O. Doran
  5. Trial of Thorns (Wicked Fae #1) by Stacey Trombley
  6. Calico Thunder Rides Again by T.A. Hernandez
  7. The Usurper (Brutal Saga #0.50) by James Alderdice
  8. The Hammer Of The Gods: So You Want To Be A Star (The Druid Trilogy #1) by Andrew Marc Rowe
  9. Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall
  10. Incursion by Mitchell Hogan

On a final note – if any of my authors have audio versions available and would like me to check those out then just leave me a comment.

Good luck to everyone.