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The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham
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The Dragon's Path (edition 2011)

by Daniel Abraham

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5793917,082 (3.77)22
Member:black9wolf
Title:The Dragon's Path
Authors:Daniel Abraham
Info:Orbit (2011), Edition: 1, Paperback, 592 pages
Collections:Your library, Own
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Epic Fantasy, Ebook

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The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham

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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I’ve been looking forward to reading this series ever since I learned it was being published, because I really enjoyed the author’s Long Price Quartet which begins with A Shadow in Summer. Although this book seemed pretty different in style and tone from his previous series, I still really enjoyed it.

This book had all of the things that I typically expect from a good epic fantasy series: multiple cultures, distinctive geographical regions, complex politics, wars or rumors of wars, noble characters, despicable characters, etc. There was a lot of setup in this book. There wasn’t much exposition, and the story was interesting, but it did meander around a bit as we slowly learned about the world and its inhabitants. I rarely felt like I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next, and I could see somebody reading this and getting frustrated wondering, “where is all of this leading?”.

The prologue interested me from the start though, and I think (hope) gave a good indication of where the story is going. We start off reading from the point of view of an unnamed character just known as “the apostate”. He’s learned something terrible about the cult he was a part of, and he’s fleeing over the mountains to try to escape them. We learn that he and his fellow cult members have spiders living in their blood, that they can tell whether people are lying or not, and that they have the ability to persuade others that what they say is true. A lot of questions are left open at the end of the prologue, but it was a very intriguing opening and I was especially anxious to learn more about what led the apostate to the situation he was in.

There isn’t a particularly huge cast of characters. There were only four main point-of-view characters, not counting the apostate whose point of view we only read from in the prologue and the “Entr’acte”, and not counting a fifth character who served as a point-of-view character in a couple chapters near the end. Here's a brief bit about each main character to maybe help give people an idea what the story is like:

* Marcus is a former hero with a tragedy in his past that caused him to turn away from serving kings in battle and turn toward mercenary work. Marcus was the character I liked best and, although he definitely didn’t always do the right thing, he was the most noble of the four characters.

* Cithrin is a seventeen-year-old orphan who has been raised by the branch owner of a major banking company. When war comes to her city, her guardian charges her with smuggling most of the bank’s wealth out of the city. Cithrin was a somewhat sympathetic character, and sometimes I liked her, but I also got exasperated with how easily she fell to pieces. She didn’t handle stress or obstacles very well, but maybe I didn't give enough consideration to how young she was.

* Geder is a soldier that nobody respects and even his superiors play mean tricks on him. At first I liked him and thought he was a sympathetic character, but I soon grew to dislike him. He caused a lot of his own problems, and he reacted to things badly. His choices were (almost?) always made for selfish reasons, and he made some absolutely horrible decisions.

* Dawson is an older noble whose sections of the book were especially political and filled with scheming. I disliked him from the start because he was arrogant, looking down on anybody of a lower station, and seeing everybody in terms of whether they were his enemy or his ally. It was difficult to tell who around him was truly a bad person and who was actually a good person who just saw things differently than he did.

Even though I didn’t like all of the characters, I still enjoyed reading their stories. Marcus and Cithrin’s stories overlapped throughout most of the book, and I enjoyed their story the most. A large part of that was because they were both around another character who I was very interested in although we didn’t see him nearly often enough. The other two characters’ stories became more interesting as the book progressed, especially Geder’s.

In the Kindle version I read, there was an “Entr’acte” (French word meaning “between the acts”) that should have gone after the last chapter, but was instead buried after an author interview and a preview of the next book. I wonder how many people missed that altogether, thinking the book was over. I really enjoyed it too, because it went back to the character I was so interested in from the prologue and it confirmed something I had been pretty certain of since chapter one but which had never been stated explicitly.

In general, events grew increasingly interesting toward the end of the book. I’m really looking forward to reading the next book to see where things go next. ( )
  YouKneeK | Apr 3, 2016 |
Un peu classique, écrit avec serieux, des personnages attachants, plutot bien traités psychologiquement, pas de batailles ou de magie trop mis en avant; au contaire un climat qqui invite a examiner les protagonistes sans vraiment prendre partie!
J'ai envie de connaitre la suite sans avoir de frissons comme pour les tres grandes oeuvres. ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 1, 2016 |
Please read the full review on Weighing A Pig...

Recurring readers of Weighing A Pig won’t be surprised that I hold Daniel Abraham’s exceptional debut series, The Long Price quartet in very high regard. It was the most emotional story I’ve read last year. The series is secondary world fantasy, but it’s very much its own thing, with a subdued use of a highly original and poetic idea for a magic system.

That’s tough to beat. I was underwhelmed by Leviathan Wakes, the first entry in a space opera series Abraham co-wrote with Ty Franck as James S.A. Corey. And I’m sad to report that I’m also a bit underwhelmed by this first book in the epic high fantasy series The Dagger And The Coin, albeit less so: I don’t think I will continue The Expanse SF-series, but I’ll probably give the second book of TDATC, The King’s Blood, a real chance.

The Dragon’s Path is the first of 5 books, and it suffers from having to set things up. That’s a much read remark in reviews of fantasy series. Still, a first book doesn’t have to suffer from having to set-up things at all, as Abraham proved himself with the stunning A Shadow In Summer.

Of note is this part of an interesting interview with Abraham:

(...) ( )
  bormgans | Feb 19, 2016 |
Another book I bought on a whim. This sat on my shelves for ages. It was damn good. ( )
  FourOfFiveWits | Oct 26, 2015 |
Full Review at Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2015/04/24/backlist-burndown-review-the-dragons-p...

The book is reminiscent of a historical fantasy. There are references to dragons and different races of humans, but really there is not much “fantastical” (creatures or magic) in this book. Which is honestly fine by me as I most of my favorite books are low fantasy. There are four main characters that are really two sets of two, meaning Cithrin and Marcus’s storylines intersect and Geder and Dawson’s storylines intersect. Though I feel it was really about Cithrin and Geder more than their companion perspectives. Or maybe I just favored those two enough that they overshadowed the others. I don’t say that because any of them were bad. I just definitely had preferences for Cithrin and Geder. I will also mention, none of these characters are perfect people. All storylines have some moral ambiguity and shades of grey. This is something I love as I find it much more relatable and exponentially more interesting than black and white good versus evil.

I do have a confession to make in this review. I am a complete sucker for the girl dressed as a boy trope. I just love it for some reason, so I was thrilled when I realized that the one female perspective in this fell into that. Maybe it shouldn’t amuse me as much as it does, but hey, we all have personal preferences/weaknesses/quirks/tropes we love. This is mine. Cithrin is an orphan who was taken in by a banking house. Being intelligent and raised in a bank, she has a serious head for money and business. By a strange turn of events, she finds herself alone on the road with an incredible amount of wealth (the bank’s treasury). Cithrin is a young woman, and there is a bit of coming of age for her, but it’s not an overwhelming part of the story. She’s young, she’s placed in extraordinary circumstances and she has to grow, adjust and learn to survive.

Being the first in five book series, there is a lot of set up in this book. When I think back, there were definitely some big events, but for the length of the book I feel like more of it was getting familiar with everything and set up for future books. I am not complaining! I love epic series and there was not once in this book that I felt the pace was slow or that I was sludging through world building info dumps. It all just flowed, and suddenly the book was done.

Overall this was an enjoyable read, I do plan to continue the series and just hope it won’t take me years to get to the next one! ( )
  tenaciousreader | Oct 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
... [T]his is a subtle intelligent fantasy novel about a world with a long history and fascinating economics, with war, peril, and adventure, and great characters of both genders. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the author of the Long Price Quartet (post) if he’s been asked to produce something a bit more European, a bit more mainstream, a bit more Martinesque.
added by lquilter | editTor.com, Jo Walton (Sep 15, 2011)
 
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The apostate pressed himself into the shadows of the rock and prayed to nothing in particular that things riding mules in the pass below would not look up.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316080683, Paperback)

All paths lead to war...

Marcus' hero days are behind him. He knows too well that even the smallest war still means somebody's death. When his men are impressed into a doomed army, staying out of a battle he wants no part of requires some unorthodox steps.

Cithrin is an orphan, ward of a banking house. Her job is to smuggle a nation's wealth across a war zone, hiding the gold from both sides. She knows the secret life of commerce like a second language, but the strategies of trade will not defend her from swords.

Geder, sole scion of a noble house, has more interest in philosophy than in swordplay. A poor excuse for a soldier, he is a pawn in these games. No one can predict what he will become.

Falling pebbles can start a landslide. A spat between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne is spiraling out of control. A new player rises from the depths of history, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon's Path-the path to war.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:15 -0400)

Marcus, Cithrin, and Geder ponder their destinies as they are drawn into a war where dark forces are at work.

(summary from another edition)

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