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Dragon Prince (Book 1) by Melanie Rawn
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Dragon Prince (Book 1) (original 1988; edition 1988)

by Melanie Rawn

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2,186255,862 (3.97)56
First in the bestselling Dragon Prince series, explore a lush epic fantasy world replete with winged beasts, power games of magical treachery, and a realm of princedoms hovering on the brink of war * "Marvelous!"--Anne McCaffrey When Rohan became the new prince of the Desert, ruler of the kingdom granted to his family for as long as the Long Sands spewed fire, he took the crown with two goals in mind. First and foremost, he sought to bring permanent peace to his world of divided princedoms. And, in a land where dragon-slaying was a proof of manhood, Rohan was the sole champion of the dragons, fighting desperately to preserve the last remaining lords of the sky and with them a secret which might be the salvation of his people....   Sioned, the Sunrunner witch who was fated by Fire to be Rohan's bride, had mastered the magic of sunlight and moonglow, catching hints of a yet to be formed pattern which could irrevocably affect the destinies of Sunrunners and ordinary mortals alike. Yet caught in the machinations of the Lady of Goddess Keep, and of Prince Rohan and his sworn enemy, the treacherously cunning High Prince, could Sioned alter this crucial pattern to protect her lord from the menace of a war that threatened to set the land ablaze?… (more)
Member:nocky
Title:Dragon Prince (Book 1)
Authors:Melanie Rawn
Info:DAW Books 1988 (1988), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library
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Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn (1988)

  1. 30
    Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (TheBooknerd)
    TheBooknerd: Both epic series feature a young but clever leader, his intrepid female "partner in crime", great world-building, and -- oh yeah! Dragons!
  2. 00
    Blue Moon Rising by Simon R. Green (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Virgin princes ftw.
  3. 00
    Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For barbarian, Machiavellian princes (and their dragons).
  4. 02
    Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Jewels, jewels, jewels.
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» See also 56 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
I really thought this was going somewhere. I was wrong. ( )
  jamestomasino | Sep 11, 2021 |
These books are a treat- written by not a trained writer but a trained historian, they combine several unique threads.

The basic setting is a early Medieval/Dark Age autocracy, where the central protagonist- Rohan- dreams of transitioning into what we would describe as a constitutional monarchy defined by the rule of law. He is the scion of generations of warlords and kingdom builders, interestingly heir to all of their ruthlessness and ambition, but with it turned toward building a stable tomorrow not dependent on the justice of the strongest ruler around.

Rawn, given her background, has a firm grasp of society and different cultures; the one major gripe I had reading these is her continent, in terms of travel distance, is just too small. The population sizes are correct for 5th-7th century cities, towns, and warfare- but the distances involved are just not there.

Roelstra, the main villain of the piece, is definitely informed by the villains of older literature or perhaps romance, but is a wonderful fit here- he is a sociopath and "native" psychologist; deftly manipulating those around him without their being aware he is doing so.

The magic system is also different. Sunrunners have the ability to instinctively weave light- sunlight, moonlight, and (spoiler) even starlight- and send their consciousness down it, to both observe distant items and communicate with other Sunrunners mind-to-mind. Training in a religious community, they have historically been strictly a-political, bound to silence regarding their communiques- and one is the romantic interest of Prince Rohan.

And in this world, there be dragons.

While the world is believable, this is a character-driven story. If characters with believable depth aren't something you enjoy, preferring riveting action, perhaps not the book for you. For myself, highly enjoyed. ( )
1 vote BrainFireBob | Jul 8, 2021 |
such delicious trashy trope-y fantasy; I love it as much now as I did when I was 20, tho its flaws are much more apparent ( )
  kickthebeat | Nov 1, 2020 |
'Dragon Prince', both Sunrunner's World trilogies in fact, was a real favorite in high school. This is probably my eighth time reading it - and the first time in 15 years. It had a broad range of characters (in name at least), epic politics and a unique form of hereditary magic. As a teenager I glossed over the romance aspects of the book, but now I can see how clever Rawn was to incorporate so many tropes from that genre into her fantasy series.

A LOT of ground gets covered in this first novel. The young prince Rohan has high ambitions but is unwilling to rule by threat of war as his father had. He has no interest in the masculine sport of dragon-hunting either. He is clever, has studied many books, and wants a land united by peace. The High Prince Rolestra, however, looms on the horizon with his history of backstabbing politics and rule of fear. He has 17 daughters to marry off and he has his sights set on Prince Rohan.

The magic-users in this world are sunrunners, they can manipulate sun and moonlight into communications wherever the light shines, can conjure fire, images, and even have prophetic visions. They are bound to be neutral and loyal to Goddess Keep, but Lady Andrade, the chief sunrunner, wishes to breed them with ruling houses to create a ruling class beholden to her. She proposes Rohan marry Sioned, a pretty woman with distant royal lineage, as his bride. The book spans maybe 15 years.

I still love this book, but it is tinged with nostalgia now, as there are elements of the book that don't sit right with me. Rohan is Prince of the Desert, a princedom forged by his several-great grandfather and built up in recent generations by "driving" the Merida ever North. Many of Rohan's keeps were once the Merida, and though he disdains his forebears' violent ways, the enlightened Prince Rohan thinks nothing of scorn for the Merida and plans to wipe them out. It amounts to genocide, but it's okay, because the Merida are a race of assassins. Rohan beats himself up a lot of moral issues in this book, it sticks out that the problem of the Merida never factors in.

More typical of the genre are the gender roles. Women can practice trades, serve in the military, practice sunrunning, etc. and achieve success, but this often comes across as lip-service. The powerful characters, with the exception of Lady Andrade, are all men and any influence of a woman's is through her husband, be they Princess Tobin (Rohan's sister) to the scheming women of Rolestra's household. Notice, also, the proliferation of nobility. Again, typical, but its another dated element of the series.

The biggest problem is a bit of a spoiler, but to put it simply, there is an instance where character A is raped by a character B and, in revenge, B is raped by A. There's some debate about being under the influence, and intentions, but the language is pretty clear, and the book takes a really, really dark turn. This is a harsh and brutal world. I'm not ready to absolve anybody involved in the last act of the book and I don't believe that Rawn wishes the reader to. The books will go back to the rapes and their fallout time and again. It is a dark secret that turns the plot of future installments in many ways. This may be why the books are out of print.

Where the book really succeeds is the epic scope of the politics and the swoony love story of Rohan and Sioned, which weathers a great deal of suffering and hardship. Rawn is primarily concerned with these two, and most of the other characters aside from the villainous Rolestra and Ianthe, the scheming Andrade and Pandsala, and some other supporting roles, are merely one-dimensional and do little to enrich the story. That's okay, though, there was enough going on that involved character studies might have dragged down the already epic-length novel. In the days before 'A Song of Ice and Fire' there was little support for book bricks and most authors would have had to chop the book into pieces to get a story published.

Dragon Prince

Next: 'The Star Scroll' ( )
1 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Aug 11, 2020 |
A little slow in parts, but very good. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Melanie Rawnprimary authorall editionscalculated
Siegrist, MartyMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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to my mother,
Alma Lucile Rawn

and to the memory of my father

Robert Dawson Rawn
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Prince Zehava squinted into the sunlight and smiled his satisfaction.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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First in the bestselling Dragon Prince series, explore a lush epic fantasy world replete with winged beasts, power games of magical treachery, and a realm of princedoms hovering on the brink of war * "Marvelous!"--Anne McCaffrey When Rohan became the new prince of the Desert, ruler of the kingdom granted to his family for as long as the Long Sands spewed fire, he took the crown with two goals in mind. First and foremost, he sought to bring permanent peace to his world of divided princedoms. And, in a land where dragon-slaying was a proof of manhood, Rohan was the sole champion of the dragons, fighting desperately to preserve the last remaining lords of the sky and with them a secret which might be the salvation of his people....   Sioned, the Sunrunner witch who was fated by Fire to be Rohan's bride, had mastered the magic of sunlight and moonglow, catching hints of a yet to be formed pattern which could irrevocably affect the destinies of Sunrunners and ordinary mortals alike. Yet caught in the machinations of the Lady of Goddess Keep, and of Prince Rohan and his sworn enemy, the treacherously cunning High Prince, could Sioned alter this crucial pattern to protect her lord from the menace of a war that threatened to set the land ablaze?

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