Dragonhaze is an epic Fantasy by Mirren Hogan. It’s the first in her Reasoner Trilogy.
The story opens with the first of our four protagonists, Daven, caught in the bombing of a tavern just after he orders a mug of ale. He witnesses the dead of a librarian right beside him, and as a healer feels compelled to save her, but is too afraid to help her because of the bombers. The guilt from this incident haunts him for the rest of the story, because not all is as it seems with both Daven and the bombing itself.
The next chapter introduces us to his mother, Kaida, a draakin (dragon rider) and her enigmatic dragon mount Risper. Dragons in Dargyn (a mouthful I know) are psychic and can only survive when bonded to a rider. We soon learn Daven’s father Del left the two of them when she took on the bond with Risper to save his life (a bond both her grandfather and grandmother held before her) and she’s still pretty sore about it.
When Daven goes to visit her, we discover the draakin had participated in the aptly named Dragonwar to stop a group of magic users known as magin from destroying Dargyn, but the current government sees them as little more than sapsuckers looking for handouts for their mounts. Kaida has been barred from advancing in her career due to this government pressure, and most citizens regard the draakin with suspicion.
We meet our next protagonist in Chapter Four. Dashka, who happens to be an undercover magin, as she has the ability to use magic when she sings. We also meet her Aunt Mabyl, who took her in after her mother abandoned Dashka upon discovery of this terrible power. They’re visiting the massive city of Paryos on vacation following the death of Dashka’s cheating husband. She tours the ruins of Paryos and banters with their guide, discovering quickly just how far the government has gone to suppress any knowledge of or reference to magic even in the ancient ruins beneath the city.
Our fourth protagonist is Brish, a young apprentice bard who overhears a conversation he shouldn’t between his guild master and a mysterious third party threatening to harm people if the government doesn’t change its policies. The word “yaraz” puzzles him, but his superiors refuse to explain it to him. He stalks the guild master in an effort to learn more, but it takes some time before he makes the connection.
I can’t speak more about the plot without spoilers, but I will say the direction this book went is intriguing. Most fantasy series involving magic, dragons, and the suppression thereof quickly escalate into all out war, and the politics and intrigue with the focus on ordinary people in this story piqued my interest. The characters were well developed by the end and the writing was decent, though there were a few typos and grammatical errors that were missed during the editing phase. They weren’t pervasive or overly distracting.
Hogan’s descriptions were a bit more minimalist than is my usual style, but those I did get to enjoy were well written on the line level and interesting. The plot moves along at a steady clip, though the point of view switching between chapters doesn’t seem to have a steady rhythm, so it felt a little erratic at times.
If I had one complaint, it would be all of the D names in the book getting a bit overwhelming. Dashka, Daven, Dargyn, dragons, draakin, Del, etc. It’s a minor spat, but it did get a little internally grating in the passages were multiple concepts/characters above were referenced.
Still, it was an interesting world populated by intriguing characters, and I’m interested to see where the series goes next.
4/5, a solid Kindle Unlimited read. I’d pick up the next one.