Dragon Mage- FIRST REVIEW~~!!!!
Dragon Mage my M.L. Spencer. (Rivenworld #1)
Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn't know it yet.
Aram thinks he's nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he’s never known.
But Aram is more. Much, much more.
Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders.
Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn’t existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.
There have been multiple extremely positive reviews on Dragon Mage by M.L. Spencer, so naturally, I took the bait and decided to read it, especially since it was included in Kindle Unlimited. At first, I tended to agree with all the positive reviews but the more I read the more I had issues with what I was reading, and became disappointed with this book. Looking back on the extremely positive reviews I can see that they don't do this book justice nor will it help the author improve in her future books.
To me characterization is key. A book can slack in many ways, but if it has great characters chances are I'm going to enjoy it. So If the plot and/or world-building are subpar but the characterization is great, then I tend to not worry about the plot or world-building in my review. Now is a good time to get to the characters. The characters in this book felt so forced and predictable that it was almost painful. The friendship between Aram and Marcus could have been set up much better than it was, but instead, all we get is: Marcus saves Aram from bullies, now Aram and Marcus are instant best friends. This is cringe. The entire book revolves around their friendship and that's fine as long as it has a strong basis. It doesn’t. So much that every time it’s mentioned how strong their friendship is, I go back to the beginning and think of how poorly that relationship was written. A bit aggravating. In addition to the non organic friendship that is the basis for the entire book I developed nearly zero emotions or attachments to any of the characters. They all seem very black and white and without depth. This is what separates a majority of Self Published authors from Traditionally published authors. They don’t have that feedback, those people saying, hey look these characters need better history and development. I found myself not caring if Aram or Marcus died in the book, and without going back to the story I can’t even think of any other characters offhand besides Aram’s dad. I don’t necessarily enjoy doing reviews like these but these absurdly abundant positive reviews are becoming nauseating. The world-building could have been fleshed out better, especially for such a long, long, long book, but it wasn’t bad.
Besides the relationship between characters the other significant downfall of this book was its length. It didn’t need to be 900+ pages. I've read the published Stormlight Archives, I've read the Wheel of Time, and I'm currently reading Malazan. I rarely pick up a book under 600 pages. On top of that I rarely have an issue with the length as long as it is put to good use. This one wasn't, unfortunately. Condense these 900 pages to about 600 and it would feel much better intertwined and less sloggy. It was just way too long without enough substance. There were a few original ideas but It felt more like a mashup of every other fantasy book I’ve read, it never really got that original feeling for me. I would be very hard pressed to recommend this book to fans of Epic Fantasy, because it didn't do much for me. Yikes, this was a rough one. With some work, this author can be in contention with other top authors, but I just don’t see it with this.