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Dragon Aster: Book 1 (Dragon Aster Trilogy)…

Dragon Aster: Book 1 (Dragon Aster Trilogy)

by S. J. Wist

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Dragon Aster

I didn’t think this book was terrible, in fact I thought it had a lot of potential, I just don’t think it is ready to be published yet. Maybe another reader will understand the author’s wavelength a lot better than I did, but I honestly found myself itching to edit this all the way through. My review is more directed at the author than a possible buyer and although I might seem harsh, my initial intention was to help.

The best part of this novel was the overall creativity and originality. I can see a great story hiding in this book but I would say it is far from being a final draft. The way the character’s talked was fitting and the invented names were easy to read (unlike some books). There were obviously a lot of ideas and thought placed into the plot, but again, the way it was written held it back.

The character use psi to communicate telepathically, which although creative, it is formatted inconsistently. Sometime it is in speech marks and italics, whereas sometimes it is just in italics.

I often found myself confused who was talking from the lack of tag lines, especially when psi was being used. It was hard to guess who begins the chaining and therefore impossible to tell who is replying and what characters holds which opinion.
An example of this is in the opening dialogue. The reader has to guess which is Sybl and accept that there isn’t a reference to the other speaker. I think I could probably decipher this mystery character and take an educated guess, but withholding this information just makes it confusing.

The general flow of dialogue seemed awkward and unnatural at times. Sometimes a character will say something completely out of the blue or within some context kept from the reader, making the writing disjointed. This is also reflected in the general structure of the story although the way the character’s talked brought character to the novel. I got the general feeling that the author knew what they were talking about and assumed it was enough without considering an outside view.

Ideas weren’t explained in enough detail for me to work out what was happening, what the characters were aiming for, and why. Concepts are thrown in without context as if I’m already supposed to know what a dragoon is (when I thought it was a typo), and how the whole ‘human dragon’ thing works, what the limitations are etc. In reality, I have no idea, and found it increasingly difficult to hear these things being referred to when I knew nothing about them. Lots of concepts, new characters, and a general flood of information was how the novel started but there was too much for me to get familiar with so instead I stayed lost throughout the novel.

I get that it’s better to learn neologisms by reading, but these novel terms were in abundance. Some examples of the terminology used without any explanation – Regal, Ancient, Threads, Aragmoth, somn, dragoon, Atrum Lord, Awl, estus. I found an online glossary afterwards which kinda hints that people don’t naturally know what these things are and so would benefit from some explanation. Alongside the heaps of characters and lack of description, there were too many words without context for me to snuggle into this novel. I find it difficult to follow a book and lose myself in it when I’m constantly stopping in confusion or because there’s another word or phrase I don’t understand.

Character’s will pop up like daisies. A guy called Quinn started speaking for the first time as if he had been there years, and there was no further note about this randomer e.g. description, a line about who he is or why he’s there. I was so confused. No idea what his relationship to any of the characters
was but it’s fine because I think he pretty much got blanked anyway. This is only one example of many randomers.
Some of these problems could stem from the fact there wasn’t much description of the surroundings – the focus is always on dialogue and disjointed bits of action. At the beginning of each chapter, I had no idea who was present, where they were, and this rarely get’s elaborated on. All these problems could easily be fixed which makes it feel like an edited first draft rather than a revised novel.

It’s hard to remember all the characters too because names are dropped like leaves during autumn. There are way too many for each character to be meaningful, especially in the opening. Character description is extremely rare, making them harder to remember. I don’t know how the characters know each other / their relationships. I don’t know the characters. Throughout the novel you learn which ones are important and which you can ignore, and scanning back through there are so many names I barely recognise. This could also be because it was hard to work out who was saying what and where they are, what they are doing etc. It just wasn’t well written.

The sentence structure and grammar was also something that could do with sharpening. Vague language should be avoided more often to mop up some confusion (such as referring to ‘him’ when there are two male characters, possibly more, present).
‘Congrats[,] Kas[,]
Page 108 =Fevre[,] stop working for five minutes – Commas are needed for terms of address.
After reading the book, I feel the blurb is completely misleading. I didn’t know of Sybl’s lonely teenage years, I wasn’t aware Cirrus had lost a best friend, and the prophecy was new to me. All these features were slightly hinted at, but they weren’t big factors in the story line, nor were they stressed as integral to the plot which the blurb suggests. To be honest, Cirrus didn’t feel like one of the most important characters either. Just one of many.
The story seemed full of unnecessary back story and character info that could be deleted. This in turn could make room for the story to focus on just a few of the dragons as well as descriptions of places and characters; Loki’s castle is an easy example to pull out. Originally, I didn’t have a clue what it looks like but later on it was mentioned that it was possibly scary looking. I felt the author could have shown me this castle and then later mention this fact to accompany the image.

The part where Sybl is being blown around for not controlling psi was a particularly confusing part of the novel for me. It would highly benefit from description of surroundings; I’m not sure how this gets resolved either. But then I didn’t understand the problem and what would make it work, or how the chasm and psi connection works in the first place.

It would also be better to see Sybl on earth first, then to watch her get trapped in the dream, and then find out why she is important. Otherwise, she seems important for no reason and everyone knows of her significance just because they do. The dragons don’t seem to discover her as much as randomly begin to pull her into their world. Maybe I just didn’t understand these parts of the story because I was too confused to take on much more information, but even scanning back over the book didn’t really give me any answers. In fact, there is too much that I don’t understand I think the novel just needs the author to go back over it, delete what isn’t needed for book one and replace it with all the missing information needed for context.

The ending, however action filled and exciting, was so abrupt it felt like the cut off was midsentence. I prefer the first in a series to be able to stand as a completed novel on its own but make you want to carry on reading to the next. Even just summing up the book on the chapter before and making the next part an epilogue would have been better, but it still felt incomplete to me. I kept checking for extra pages because it didn’t feel right to end where it was.
Dragon Aster is not a boring book in my opinion, although sometimes I kept reading without understanding any of it in hopes I would pick the storyline back up at some point, which always happened eventually. It definitely has potential. I would suggest using the current version as a draft, work on it for a few months, and then consider publishing or finding a literacy agent. If not, I wouldn’t recommend it. I didn’t go into this novel with an axe to grind and I’m actually quite interested to read a revised draft but I have a feeling the author probably doesn’t want me near their precious life and joy again. ( )
  dreamybanana | Dec 23, 2011 |
Received through LibraryThing Member Give Away.

I wasn’t sure I would like this book when I first started it. I had a difficult time following the story to the point I thought I might have missed some pages. Wist’s language was easy enough to read, but some of the concepts were hard to grasp. I also had a hard time keeping some of the characters straight, which is unusual for me. By the middle, understanding began to dawn and I enjoyed the story, and I look forward to the next installment. This is one that I will likely have to read again to figure out all the stuff I missed the first time. ( )
1 vote LaRay | Nov 10, 2011 |
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