Bitterwood (Dragon Age, #1)
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Bitterwood (Dragon Age #1)

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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  522 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Bitterwood has spent the past twenty years hunting down dragons, one at a time. But he is getting old and the hate that he has carried in his heart since a group of dragon-soldiers killed his family is beginning to fade. When he kills the royal prince dragon, the king decides the only retribution is genocide of the human race. Bitterwood is forced to enter the Free City, t...more
Mass Market Paperback, 482 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Solaris
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,427)
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Greg
Dragons, dragons, dragons. Sky-dragons, sun-dragons, and earth-dragons. Wizard dragons that (view spoiler) and can turn invisible. Ninja-assassin dragons. Philosopher librarian dragons. Wandering, robed dragon cults. A dragon dubbed the "Murder God."

Then there're little girls who have strange powers over animals. Gigantic (view spoiler) prophets of Jesus Christ. Green-skinned immortal humans. Genetic tinkering. People don't really ride...more
Loren
From ISawLightningFall.com

New-weird writer China Mieville has gained fame not only for his surreal stories, but for calling the inimitable J.R.R. Tolkien "the wen on the arse of fantasy literature." Not exactly a charitable statement. But while most of Mieville's attacks could be attributed to differences in personal preference or philosophical conviction -- one could answer condemnations of John Ronald Reuel's "cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded an...more
Jason Garman
What It’s About

In the distant future, a race of intelligent dragons dominates the Earth. They have subjugated humanity as slaves and pets, disdaining them as inferior beings. Bant Bitterwood is one of those subjugated humans, but when dragons kill his family and burn his hometown, he dedicates the rest of his life to killing as many dragons as he can. He kills so many that he becomes a folk hero to the humans and a terrifying legend among the dragons. When Bitterwood kills the dragon king’s favo...more
Kristy
This book sounded like it was going to be a Robin Hood style dragon-slayer story, and I thought "Oh, cool!" Unfortunately, it was just plain weird. While our main character, Bant Bitterwood, does indeed have a bow and arrows with which he slays dragons, any interest factor stops there. The rest is pointless. The dragons themselves seem more like dinosaurs, or just really large iguannas. There's this "prophet" (more to be said on that, but it would definitely be a spoiler) who spouts out scriptur...more
Jennifer

Bitterwood was a fun surprise. In my endless quest to find more books to read at night (when my husband is at work), in my parked car (waiting for my oldest to get out of school) and of course the endless waiting in the accurately named waiting rooms; I sometimes take a leap of faith and try new stuff from lists. This book came from a list of authors who attended Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp. http://www.hatrack.com/

I didn't realize that Bitterwood was about dragons until I went to orde...more
John Marco
First read this when it came out back in 2007. Very enjoyable take on the whole "dragon" thing that fantasy authors love to cover.
Hillary
James Maxey spins a wonderful tale. This second of the Bitterwood trilogy picks up where the first left off, and takes on a non-stop ride. The main characters from Bitterwood continue their stories, well, some of them, and we are introduced to new and compelling characters. Some of them could go on to spin off their own trilogies - how about it James?

The blending of dragons as equals (or are they superior to humans, hmmm?), and earth as an alien world, and technology is reminiscent of Anne McCa...more
Marcus
Is this a book about a vengeful human fighting dragon tyranny or a rebel dragon wizard & his human protégé fighting a mad king? Personally, I feel it’s the latter. Although the story starts out with the titular Bitterwood as a teenager, after the first chapter we see little of him until 1/3 of the way into the book. Bitterwood is just a shadowy figure throughout most of the book. Even after he’s reintroduced, his character sees very little development – most of the story seems to center on t...more
Artemis Grey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Arispe
I liked this one. I didn't really know what to expect when I started it. Dragons ruling the world and humans as their slaves and pets. One man standing against an empire. I feel the author should have given more description in the way the dragons looked and moved. I had a hard time visualizing it. in my head, the majority of them looked like the guardians of Wyrmrest Temple from World of Warcraft. As the beginning of a trilogy, it was pretty good. We are introduced to some great characters, and...more
Elondel
As is the case with most things in life, it’s the oddball that captures our attention. Whether it is the sheep in a pack of wolves or the cactus amidst tulips, our attention will be aimed towards that what doesn’t seem to belong. When it comes to books, it’s not that different. Not me for, at least. When I come across a book with quite a different premise in comparison to what I’m used to, I’m tempted to give it a try. A good example of this is James Maxey’s Bitterwood, cause its premise is quit...more
Garrett
I was going to wait to write this review until I finished the second book in the series, but the list of to-reads is piling up and James' next book is slipping down in the pile (not because I don't want to read it but because of gifts I've received lately that I feel obligated to read so those people know how awesome they are for getting a book for me (thanks JoDee and Judy) - it's always important to keep family happy.

Anyway, I do want to review this GREAT book. It was a fun read, and a quick o...more
Brian Hodges
This book was my first foray into the world of pure fantasy since Lord of the Rings. So I have no idea how well this guy did sticking to or breaking from conventions within the genre. All I know is that it was a mesmerizing story. Taking place on Earth in the far future, dragons have become the dominant lifeform on the planet and have all but enslaved the human race. One man, Bant Bitterwood has made it his life's mission to kill as many dragons as possible. But after he kills the king's son, an...more
James Marsh
Would you consider the audio edition of Bitterwood to be better than the print version?

I have enjoyed both the print and audio versions of Bitterwood. I would gladly experience either, but audio books are so convenient and bring the action to life.

What other book might you compare Bitterwood to and why?

I got back into epic fantasy with James Maxey's Bitterwood, Storm Front by Jim Butcher and Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I enjoyed each of them, but just comparing each volume on it's own bitterw...more
Andrew
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie
This book is a traditional fantasy in theme, but it's set in a somewhat apocalyptic future on Earth. The story is fast-paced with complex, interesting characters. Each character has his/her own priorities and values which adds complexity to the conflict. The story is told from many viewpoints, but the story is clear and easy to follow despite the strange names and many characters.

The world-building is excellent overall, but some small details remained unexplained. (For example, Jandra's unendin...more
Claire
I really enjoyed this - it has quite a unique idea and was a real change. In this, the dragons rule the kingdom, and they have their own culture, ideas, language, and emotions. They even wield swords and spears (though I couldn't quite imagine this!) and use magic. This was just a totally different way of looking at dragons! It was interesting to see them portrayed like people, with lots of conversations, different personalities with their own stories to tell and reasons behind their actions. It...more
Jeff
Recommended highly.

I wrote to my friends:

"...a thoroughly entertaining fantasy.... Finally, a novel that is actually better than the stuff Ted's been writing. This novel was (cliche, but true) difficult to put down. It was suspenseful and often not predictable, yet at the same time the author was able to inject humorous scenes and was able to playfully bend the rules of the genre. It was a blast. Highly recommended."

Elements of Robin Hood with attitude from The Princess Bride, in a world somewha...more
zjakkelien
I'm not sure why I'm not enthusiastic about this book. It's a nice story, with a few twists that are rather surprising. Well, until you've read the hints that is. The book tends to lift the veil a bit, and afterwards to explain the entire thing. Unfortunately, after the veil has been lifted, the idea is pretty much clear. Perhaps the problem is that the goal of the book is to assemble the puzzle, and that the characters feel as pieces of the puzzle because of that. As a result, I can't really ca...more
Daniel Shellenbarger
Bitterwood is one of those books that I liked better before it explained what was going on. On face value we have tyrannical dragons, magic, immortal prophets, all circling around a man's quest for vengeance. However, by the end most of it has been exposed as mere facade, just a kind of theme park reality made up of the detritus of a civilization that moved on to other things long ago. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the reality Maxey delivers isn't as interesting as the larger-than-life...more
Jamie
I have absolutely loved all of Maxey's books, up until this one. Each of his books have been superbly written, with a high focus on characters that really carried the stories. Bitterwood was incredibly stale, with a boring plot, paper thin characters who often did nothing of any real importance. One of my big problems was that the dragons (who can speak and act like humans) were written the same as the human characters. I often couldn't remember if the character in question was a dragon or a hum...more
Kati
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M—
DNF — Barely begun in all honesty. The opening scene introduces our fifteen-year-old protagonist in a secretive fertility ritual with a fourteen-year-old girl, until the seventeen-year-old local bully comes in and takes her instead. I lasted all of three sentences past the introduction of the bully, stopping approximately mid-way through page 13.

Dipped into the reviews to see if the book was worth getting back to, and: no. I'm so glad I abandoned this before the plot ushered the reemergence of C...more
Ann
Engaging fantasy/sf book set in a world where sapient dragons dominate over the subservient human race.

I suspect a lot of readers might be put off a bit by this one, since it has all the trappings of sword and sorcery fantasy, but the underpinnings are more science fictional in nature. The author puts some effort in extrapolating this world from our own, but not so much effort that the book really works as straight sf.

The characters are nicely drawn, especially the multi-faceted dragons. I thoug...more
Beth A.
Oct 12, 2008 Beth A. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Beth A. by: OSC
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
In Bitterwood's world the dragons rule, humans are slaves. Dragons have a well defined culture with different species forming different classes: rulers, scholars, and grunts. I enjoyed the social dynamics of the dragons. Some of them stick to the old traditions and myths, even when they know they are untrue. Some of them are seeking for new, more civilized ways to exist.

The hero is old, and loses his motivation, becoming apathetic. Jandra is a young woman growing into her strength. The magic is...more
Aroura
Definitely not your typical fantasy novel. Humans are slaves and second class citizens in a kingdom ruled by dragons. The dragons aren't magical (well, there is a "wizard", but his "magic" is not fantastical). It actually has a science fiction basis, which goes to show there isn't such a distinction between the two genres anymore. Not that anyone else cares about that rambling :) Pretty dark and realistic (as in characters that narrate parts of the story actually die, not every good character is...more
Cayenne
I almost want to read the sequel to this, which happens rarely for me. This book had a good plot, interesting characters, and a great world. I loved how the fantasy turned out to be science fiction and I wanted more details about that. The author tried to deal with serious issues like vengence vs. justice, forgiveness, etc, but it felt more like an after thought to me. I liked that part of it, but wanted more--and maybe less gore. I never really connected to any of the dragons. They all seemed t...more
Stefanie
Surprisingly good, if you like stories with weird plot twists. This is not a standard high-fantasy world novel, do not expect one of those.
Matthew
I don't know. Such an interesting premise, and such poor execution. The idea of humans rebelling against their Dragon overlords is ripe with promise, but the writing is really pedestrian, and outright cheesy at times. The dragons aren't realistic at all. (How do they read books and turn pages with talons? How do they manufacture tables, chairs, etc, etc?)
And some of the twists just seem like they came out of a 13 year old's mind "Wouldn't it be cool if...."

Another series I'll start, but won't li...more
Kevin
I really don't want to say much about the plot of this, because I'm not sure what I could say that wouldn't, in some fashion or another, be a spoiler. It takes place in a world ruled by highly intelligent dragons who enslave and/or eat humans. Bitterwood likes to kill dragons. I think that I can say that much. That is, just enough to make it sound really cheesy. But, it isn't. It's actually quite imaginative and good, though it falls into a common trap in the fantasy sci-fi genre that I really...more
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225692
I've been an avid reader since I first picked up a book. Luckily, I was within biking distance of three different libraries growing up. I was a skinny kid. If only I had maintained that link between biking and reading, I might be a skinny adult.

I'm also a writer. I wrote my first book as a kid, an adventure about pirates and ghosts. When I was a teenager, I used to write superhero adventures. The...more
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