Day 18 – A book that disappointed you: Part 1
This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.
The thing that disappointed me most about Dragonmaster (the omnibus edition) was that I actually paid full price for this thing. Had I bought it second-hand, or got it out from the library, I would most probably been “meh” about it and moved on. Maybe I would not even have finished it, but since I paid (it was quite a tome which obviously reflected in the price) I stuck with it all the way through. Now I am disappointed, because it feels like a waste of money: it is only gathering dust on my shelves, for I will not read it again. I don’t even know anyone that I can give it to.
There were several things that bothered me about Dragonmaster. The first and probably most upfront was the sex. This is quite a graphic book. I guess I had better just say it straight now: I do not like sex scenes in the books that I read. Actually I prefer my books without sex of any kind, which probably means that I am safest sticking to things like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. However, I will accept sex in books as long as I don’t have to read all the little intricate details. Dragonmaster did exactly the opposite.
I really did not need to be inside the head of the [male] main character so that I could be part of his erotic fantasy concerning the woman in front of him. I really did not need to hear his thoughts on his wedding day – all about how chaste and innocent she was looking today, but boy did he know how she could get at night! I really don’t know what he was suddenly so excited about anyway, seeing that they had already been living together for ages and were only getting married, because… I forgot. I think someone disapproved of a high-up army commander like him hanging out with a courtesan.
The second issue that I had with the book links directly to the first. I wrote about this a couple of days ago and said that I will bring it up again. Well, here it is: I didn’t like how Hal Kailas (the guy with the erotic fantasies) turned the woman into simply a piece of flesh. She was only an object to him – something that he could undress (graphically described) and tie to the bed posts and do odd things to. And she was not the only woman or person that he thought about this way. I’m no feminist in the sense that I get upset with a book if there is not a strong female lead (Omigosh, LotR sux! There’s no girls in da Fellowship!!! Tolkien was da biggest sexist!!! Incidentally, I think Éowyn is one of the strongest feministic characters ever written, even though her role is not the biggest.), but I don’t like it if the women present are only channels for sex. I don’t like it if the women are not really persons. Actually, in Dragonmaster, it does not feel as if any of the characters are really persons, not even Hal Kailas. Everyone was so insignificant that I cannot remember any of the characters’ names. I even had to go look up “Hal Kailas”. Oh, and one of the dragons was called Storm, but that one had a very small role, really. And this brings me to my third issue with the book.
I did not like the characterisation. Like I said, no one seemed real, only objects. What is that name they use… is it Gary Stu? I think so. Well, that is what Hal Kailas was. Everything seemed to fall into his lap. He just became the best dragon rider. He just became the best at military tactics. He seemed to have all the luck, and whilst all this was happening to him, he still had no distinguishing personality. He was simply the perfect man, the empty channel… perhaps for the author’s own fantasy?
However, now that I have expressed all my criticism against Dragonmaster, I also have to admit that not everything about this book was bad. I notice that I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads, which means that I have read much worse books than this. The battle scenes were really well-written and I felt as if I really could experience the action, even though I could not experience any of the characters. Some of the descriptions were so epic that I came to the conclusion that Chris Bunch was a much better descriptive writer than a characterisator. Just a pity that it felt as if every battle scene was alternated with a sex scene, to spoil the effect.
So, all in all, Dragonmaster disappointed me, but I do not hate it. I’ve already dealt with the books that I hate and there is a big difference between them and this one. Meh.
Part 2 of this post will follow tomorrow.