Legends of the Dragonrealms: Firedrake by Richard Knaak

The realm has long been controlled by the Dragon Kings. At one point, magic users known as the Dragon Masters, attempted to free mankind from their tyrannical rule, but though Nathan Bedlam, the strongest of the Masters, managed to kill one of the Dragon kings (the Purple Dragon), they were all wiped out, thanks to a betrayal by Nathan’s son Asran. But all is not lost for mankind, as Cabe, Asran’s son is discovered. He may be the strongest human magic user in history and he could change the future, if he isn’t killed first.

Of all the adult fantasy series I have read, this is probably one of my least favorite ones. The characters and their relationships feel undeveloped and unrealistic. Cabe is sort of personality-less (in part because he has a–literal–piece of his grandfather Nathan in him) and makes little to know decisions on his own. Who wants to follow a character who is passive and constantly being captured or lucking through his magic? And what good is a character who puts no effort into being an all-powerful magician? Lady Gwen is even more problematic for me. I want her to be a strong woman, but she doesn’t really do much of anything. I find her sudden feelings for Cabe (and his feelings for her) both uncomfortable and awkward. She had a relationship with his grandfather! I am fine with her caring about him in a parental way (he is her lover’s grandson), but do you really want to kiss the woman who kissed your grandfather? There is not development in their relationship either, they have barely a conversation before they are both suddenly in love with each other.

Events rush from one big thing to another without taking any time to dwell in the moment.

There is no subtlety or complexity. The one remotely complex character isn’t actually complex. Shade, a redemption character if there is any in the book, has ancient evil deeds to make up for, but there is no internal struggle. He is all good or all bad depending on his incarnation. (Think of Cara from Sword of Truth or Grianne of Sword of Shannara, who take an active role in becoming better people.)

This isn’t a terrible book, it simply doesn’t stand up to some of the others I have enjoyed.

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