Thursday, April 10, 2014

Broken Dreams - D.L. Moore

The sequel to Night of the Dragon. One of the things described in the first book was that dragons don't perceive time like humans, if they perceive time at all. I don't entirely get it, but imagine if you walked to a chair, sat down, and gazed blankly into space for an hour, then rose again. For the dragon, it would be as if that interval of inactivity didn't exist. I think. Anyway, this property of dragons can have disorienting and strange effects on everything around them, and that's partially why there's a Valley outside of time. But when Eric put on the ring, he kind of broke that, and now the Valley is gradually falling to pieces. The rings contain the relevant knowledge of the different Hideclans, but to access them is going to require creating more human-dragon hybrids. Eric's attempt to put the band together doesn't go quite right, the fact they don't get enough people to figure out how to fix the problem in time to save the Valley chief among them. Also, the first guy he picked decided he should be in charge and put two rings on, so now he's got two haughty dragons jockeying for position in his brain.

The detachment I described yesterday was less of a concern here. It hasn't entirely vanished, but Moore's dialogue has loosened up a bit, and that helps. The way people spoke in the first book was so stiff and unnatural, it was hard to think of the characters as people. Fighting that, there's still a scattershot element to the writing where he doesn't follow any on plot line or scene for very long. The book is constantly jumping to what someone else is doing somewhere else every few pages. It works against the reader's getting into the book because we've hardly started seeing what one character is up to before we're off again. The book is about 60 pages shorter than the first one, and frankly it probably could have used those extra pages to make the search for the rings, or the search for suitable candidates to wear them seem a little more important. The former especially is almost perfunctory. The dragons fly around and maybe they recognize a hillside or cave entrance, then they search for a page or so, maybe they find a ring, maybe they don't. It makes things seem so easy, there's little urgency to it.

I don't know if Eric had the best idea for selecting people, though. He tried to find notable people who appear to have a conscience and desire to help people. Environmentalists, activists, people like that. Still, that means cold approaching people about something kind of crazy. Helps if you can fall asleep and send the spirit-dragon to visit them, I guess. I would have just asked my friends, personally. I wouldn't have trust issues that way.

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