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The Sleeping Dragon by Joel Rosenberg
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The Sleeping Dragon

by Joel Rosenberg

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Guardians of the Flame (1)

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577817,144 (3.85)1 / 10
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
On GoodReads Five Stars means "amazing" and I usually reserve it for undying classics, works that changed my thinking, that have beautiful prose styles that give me writer's envy, that make me cry, or laugh out loud, not merely smile. I can't really say those things of the book (except I might have gotten teary-eyed at one point--I read it ages ago.) At first impression this book might seem routine. Seven college students from modern-day America playing a game reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons are transported to the fantasy world of the game as their role-playing alter egos. So one of them becomes a powerful dwarf warrior, another a thief/assassin type, another a sorceress and so on. So what makes this different? Well, because it's the anti-high fantasy.

I do often love sword and sorcery because it's the last bastion of adventure and heroism. At the same time, part of me is resistant, because hell, I'm a believer in democracies and republics, not a fan of monarchies and aristocracies, of reason, not magic. It's practically the definition of high fantasy that they're set in quasi-medieval worlds. And you know what? They suck. They have slavery (or at least serfdom) treat women like dirt, and lives are nasty, brutish and short. So hell yeah, I did adore the idea of kids from contemporary America messing with that world, not just taking it for granted. And I liked the characters--Karl, Walter, Lou, James (Ahira), Andrea--and oh, yeah, that Sleeping Dragon they don't let lie--Ellegon. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Oct 25, 2012 |
Fantastic: This is the book that got me back into reading. It is a wonderful tale of a group of college role-players who are transported into the world and bodies of the very game they were playing. The story has many twists and unexpected surprises. I would recommend the entire trilogy. The stories that appear later on in the series are hit or miss for me, but the original three are the best.
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
A rather dark take on the typical "Mundane transported to Fantasy World" theme. The characters are thrust into a dark and dirty world in which they must use what little they have at hand to survive.

An enjoyable read because it wasn't all warm and fuzzy... there weren't any of the cute gnomes or talking unicorns that plague other stories of this genre. ( )
  Emidawg | Aug 7, 2009 |
By now, there are many fantasy books that begin with the concept of a real world person taken to a fantasy world. In this case, a group of gamers becomes their characters in the game world, sent there by their game master. There they have to stay alive and try to return to Earth. For some of them, tolerating the local custom of slavery is impossible, and that causes all sorts of problems. I really enjoyed this book and the rest of the series. ( )
  Karlstar | Jul 19, 2009 |
At one of their weekly sessions, a college group of role-players find themselves transported into the world of their game and inhabiting the bodies of their characters. For some, such as the disabled James Michael, this is an unlooked-for boon. For others, like first-time gamer Andrea, a nightmare. Soon, however, the dangers of their new world are impressed upon them - a slight mistake, hesitation, or even falling back into their 20th century way of thinking for an instant can lead to torture and death. And the only way of escaping is to complete the quest and to work their way to the fabled Gate Between Worlds.

This was an okay read for the escapism, I guess, but there were just too many things that rubbed me the wrong way. The attempts at character development meant that every character (except for Andy who was 'accidentally' drawn in) has to have a deep underlying reason for wanting to role-play - nobody does it just because it's fun.

For a fast-paced quest book, there's barely any action. They talk about how there were battles, there were fights, but aside from a glimpse at the fights in the Games, most of it is second-hand tales of the battles they go through or the horrors they've seen, and almost all of it is merely hinted at rather than expressed. Where are my REAL action scenes?

I thought the ending was rather weak, myself, and awfully self-help-y, but the main problem I had with the book was the way the characters treated the girls. Doria had a terrible past which is used to excuse her (supposed) promiscuity which makes everyone treat her like dirt. All the while Walter skips about merrily between the girls in the party, serving girls; all he can seem to talk about is when he's going to get laid next - and that's treated as if it's completely and utterly normal, unworthy of even mentioning. Talk about your double standards.

(GREATER SPOILER)
And that's not even starting on the brutal gang rapes that befall the female characters, are mentioned in hints. But it turns out they were just a plot device so that there's something to wake the dragon? The problem is never actually dealt with other than from the men's "we feel guilty, we don't know what to do with you, why can't you just get over it, we're exasperated at your inability to function after fifteen men raped you repeatedly for several hours". HONESTLY? I know this wasn't meant to be feminist or anything. I know it was the 80s. I know it's been hailed as 'realism' - what would actually happen in a world like this. But they get no revenge, we get no description of their tormentors painful deaths, and it comes off seeming like nothing more than a plot device - and an offensive one at that. Ew. Just ew.

Also posted at my blog. ( )
2 vote Caramellunacy | May 5, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rosenberg, Joelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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An amiable group of college role-playing gamers enters an alternate world, the land of Pandathaway, where the treachery of their philosophy professor, Arthur Simpson Deighton, launches them on a deadly quest for a magical talisman that would give Deighton almost unlimited power.
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