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Author's Revised Edition
Donovan DeChance is a collector of ancient manuscripts and books, a practicing mage, and a private investigator. Over the span of a long life, he has gathered and archived the largest occult library in the world.
When a local houngan begins meddling with powers she may not be able to control, a turf war breaks out between the Dragons motorcycle club and the Los Escorpiones street gang - a war that threatens to open portals between worlds and destroy the city in the process.
With his lover, Amethyst, his familiar, Cleo - an Egyptian Mau the size of a small bobcat - the dubious aid of a Mexican sorcerer named Martinez and the budding gifts of a young artist named Salvatore, DeChance begins a race against time, magic, and almost certain death.
The fate of the city rests on his success, and on the rare talent of a boy who walks in two worlds, and dreams of dragons.
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- Natalie @ ABookLoversLife
I listened to this a while ago and took a bit of time to think over what to say, and I'm still unsure. The plot felt like I'd stepped into the middle of a series and missed the character building. I have so many, many questions that I feel like were left unanswered.
So from what I got, there is a turf war between two rival gangs that seems to be coming to a head, but one of the gangs seem stronger and faster than the other. Someone sends for help and Donovan DeChance comes. Now this is where things got muddy for me. I felt like while the world building was good, it didn't do a great job of explaining everything. As I said, I have so many questions and not enough answers. I also felt like the characters were a little stagnant. They weren't as developed as I like and I found it hard to connect to any of them.
Now, I did like enough of it to finish it and I found the world and the idea of the dragons to be fascinating, but I feel like the world building either needs to be expanded on or a prequel of sorts needs to be brought out. I might read the second one in the hopes of understanding everything better, and may even relisten to this to see if I can grasp things better, but I'll have to see.
I also felt like Corey M. Snow didn't perform the book like it needed to be performed. He read the parts well, and had a few tones and voices, but he needed to put more inflections behind the words to better bring the atmosphere to life.
I was given this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.
4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile
Captured Me From The Very Beginning
On of the first things I noticed about Heart of a Dragon was its length. I'm a fan of fantasy but I'm not a fan of the epic 600-800 page epic fantasy novels though I honestly haven't given one try in a long time. But, reading the description of Wilson's work had me skeptical that he was going to be able to pull off the things written in the synopsis. Well, I love to be proven wrong because boy was I. Wilson packed everything he wrote about and, a lot more into this novel. He was able to write detailed descriptions of people, places, and things without going overboard. His writing specifically around the mage was top notch - making me feel like I knew him as a person and not just a character in a book.
Having not known anything about Wilson, DeChance, or really anything related to this story other than reading the synopsis - I thought that it was written in such a way that makes it a stand-alone novel. I don't know if that was his plan - but being a complete newbie to this series and author - I felt like I was at an understanding with Wilson almost immediately. That's not easy to do, especially in the fantasy genre, so kudos!
The overall vibe of this book is reminiscent of some of the books I've read by C.T. Phipps (I know this was written before those stories were, but the vibe was similar). Not in the completely over the top and funny ways, but this book, even in the first few minutes had me laughing. Wilson's descriptors had me smiling throughout and the character building and overall fantasy world-building was also top notch.
This is the first (and hopefully not the last) novel by Wilson that I've read. I honestly liked everything about this book - I can't really find anything to complain about so I'm not going to dig. It was action-packed and a definite page-turner.
Corey Snow's narration was also top notch. I had absolutely no issues and thought that he allowed the story to fly off of the pages and into my ears. He gave each character a fair shake without being overly-dramatic.
3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile
Gentleman Wizard vs. Magic Gangs
THE DECHANCE CHRONICLES follow the adventures of Donovan Dechance, a gentleman wizard who is the most powerful wizard in the West Coast city of San Valencez. He's more or less the opposite of Harry Dresden, being a cultured gentleman scholar that is more like Doctor Strange or Titus Crow than a rough and tumble street mage. Which is ironic because the first plot is about the man attempting to stop a gang war from destroying two feuding gangs.
HEART OF A DRAGON is technically a prequel to the original novel written for White Wolf Publishing's World of Darkness line before David Niall Wilson decided to release the book himself. It doesn't feel like a prequel, though, and more or less jumps you into the story with Dovonan being already a respected member of the mage community. We don't find out his origins and this sense of mystery carries throughout the book.
The Dragons and Los Escorpiones have long feuded over the Latin district of San Valencez but have previously fought with chains as well as fists versus guns. This changes as they actually move to magic instead of pistols. A bokor, Anya Cabrera, has begun summoning spirits into the bodies of Los Escorpiones in order to turn them into inhumanly fast superhuman killing machines. The gang isn't entirely happy about this but this is their opportunity to finally defeat their rivals for good.
Donovan doesn't have much stake in this game but is brought in by the local hedge wizard, Martinez, to help resolve the issue before it becomes apocalyptic. Martinez has a backup plan, though, and that is to use the power of a young painter to summon the strength of dragons to aid their namesake gang. In a way, Martinez and his student Salvatore are the real protagonists of the book as it is their "brothers" who run the risk of being killed.
I really enjoyed this book despite, or perhaps because, of the low stakes. This is a war being fought between criminals but their lives are something that Donovan values and doesn't want to see ended any more than "innocent" civilians. I also appreciated Donovan's equal relationship with the local sorceress Amethyst who he partners with and doesn't need to define his romance with. There's no love triangle or 'will they or won't they', they're together and comfortable with a bit of space between them.
The magic in this world is overt and spectacular but not really "throwing fireballs and lightning." Instead, it's more like curses, teleportating rooms, and invoking the power of spirits as well as dreams. I don't think the book gets the terminology right for its Voodoo character very well but it is mitigated somewhat by Donovan being incorrect that Anya Cabrera is a priestess invoking the loa (its significantly more complicated).
In conclusion, I was very entertained by this book and will be picking up further books in the Dechance Chronicles. The books could have had higher emotional stakes for Donovan, who remains aloof from the story but this is compensated by Martinez's role as the secondary protagonist. I recommend the audiobook version over the ebook as the narration by Corey Snow is great. I wonder what Tradition Donovan would have been if this book had been in the World of Darkness.
Great voice narration as well.
2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile
- Thomas Dailey
Why was DeChance even there?
This book felt like I had started in the middle of a series rather than the first book -- and maybe this is a spin-off series or something similar, but I couldn’t find any information on specifics. Anyway, this book is really odd. There’s a really interesting story and the world-building is quite fascinating. The lore of the world and the magic system are intriguing. However, the “main character,” Donovan DeChance, felt more like a back seat passenger to the main plot concerning two biker gangs and their arcane fueled turf war. His role could have easily been replaced with any other secondary character (or a combination of them) and the storyline would have pretty much remained the exact same from start to finish. And his character was flat and really interesting. He could have been killed off at any point in the book and I wouldn’t have felt anything at all.
The narration continued the oddness with Donovan. While the other characters felt alive and were given vivid and unique life through their voices, Donovan was monotone and spoke with almost no expression or emotion. I don’t understand the choice unless it was an attempt to capture the essence of being a “classy” wizard, but to me, the performance fell flat.
Overall, I liked the basic elements of the story, but not the overall implementation. In all fairness, I am not an urban fantasy fan but agreed to listen to and fairly review the novel. It may be that a listener really into the genre may be more forgiving of some missing details and odd characterization. In my opinion, the plot itself could easily have been a standalone novel, excluded DeChance, and been a pretty entertaining story set in a fascinating, fantasy world. However, the disjointed combination was confusing and hindered both the narrative and narration.
1 personne a trouvé cela utile