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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 2 star ratings
2 reviews
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3.5 out of 5
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    An episode in a grander tale

    This novel certainly feels like there is more to explain -- how did we get here, where are we going to end up? This single encounter is neither the start nor finish of a greater story. But that's not the point here. This is about this encounter. How do you deal with individual drives, military power in the extreme, weird poorly-understood alien science and - basically - all out war? Condensing the experience into a novel is tough. On the downside, no one ends up having much depth. I had little sympathy for why the situation existed, so understanding motives should have been given more attention, rather than focusing purely on the action scenes. Overall it felt like the kind of computer game I'm not drawn to - first person shooters.
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    No-frills fun

    A cracking book, full of all the fire and excitement you'd want and none of the rubbish you wouldn't. you could describe it as Battlestar with dragons, but without all the ham-fisted nonsense that ruined potentially the best SF series ever. Barclay doesn't make the mistake of trying to do anything other than an entertaining story with proper humans at the heart of it (or go off on a jargon-fest that some unusual SF can't help but indulge in) and HoG is all the richer as a result. He focuses on the here and now, with a tight story about the star of one drake squadron who becomes too good for his own good. Maybe I'd have liked to see a bit more of the backstory and the world at large but it's possible that would have then taken away from the glorious moments of drakes dog-fighting, so I'll just wait to see things open up as the series progresses. Max is a bit of an idiot but not in an unbelievable or annoying way, he's taken the sentence imposed by being a drake pilot and chosen to squeeze every minute of fun from life as a result. So we're left with great camaraderie within his flight, a conspiracy that runs to the heart of their whole military setup, and a whole lot of dragons doing what they do in glorious technicolour (but mostly red). Sign me up for book 2!
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