Sunday, October 9, 2016

Down the Dragon Hole

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After the heavy mythic fare of Thune's Vision, Make Death Proud to Take Us serves as a light chaser - at least the stories I've read from it so far.

Down The Dragon Hole, by Morgon Newquist, is a fun romp of a fantasy tale featuring...well, just what it says on the tin.  A bookish wizard teams up with a burly and clever soldier to kill a dragon.  That one sentence description dorsn't do the book justice, but the tale features enough little surprises and twists that saying anymore would do you a disservice.

There's nothing particularly groundbreaking or profound about Down the Dragon Hole, and that is no slight.  Not every story needs to be a grinding statement about the tragedy of life on this mortal coil or an epic tale of the clash of civilizations and the rise of dark lords thwarted by small people.  Sometimes a jaunt through a smaller adventure with a few gratuitous explosions, clever twists, and lighthearted settings is just what the book doctor ordered, and this story definitely fits that mold. 

This is a fun read with compelling characters who start shallow but display a slowly revealed depth that is a delight to read.  One of the characters performs a neat little heel-face turn - or face-heel, depending on your point of view - about half way through.  They might be heroes, they might be regular people thrust into a dangerous situation, and they might be the best of both, if Morgon's blog is to be believed, their adventures aren't over.  The ending certainly leaves that door open in a very natural way.

One thing I would like to highlight is that the point-of-view character is a woman.  She is not a badass chick with only one tragic flaw - that no one understands how truly wonderful she it.  She's a real, three-dimensional character, a bookish type with some moderate level of ability forced to push herself in ways that she never though possible.  She strives against the odds, possesses deeper reserves than she knew, and yet retains the feminine characteristics that allow her to be a fully realized woman rather than another cookie-cutter flawless and boring don't-need-no-man kind of hero.  It's a refreshing change from the usual fare.

On the downside, the story does contain a couple of minor anachronisms that jangle against the medieval fantasy backdrop, giving the setting the midwest-American feel that one sees in most fantasy literature these days.  I prefer a more historical feudal-with-magic, and if the language isn't high medieval English, it should at least avoid modern phrasing.  But this criticism is a personal taste and again, no slight against the author.

So if you're in the mood for a good dragon hunting adventure with a fun pair of heroes, then give Down the Dragon Hole a look.  This is the second story I've reviewed from the series - look for the rest here sometime in the near future.

And if you liked Down the Dragon Hole, you might like my own dragon-hunting novella, The King's Dragon, available at

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