Phoenixfalls's Reviews > In the Hall of the Dragon King

In the Hall of the Dragon King by Stephen R. Lawhead
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's review
Apr 17, 10

bookshelves: england, fantasy, heroic-fantasy, male-author, quest, young-adult
Read in April, 2010

I will admit right off the bat that I am not the target audience for this novel -- I don't generally read YA (though I'm not convinced this was originally conceived as a YA novel); I don't like quest fantasy OR Arthurian fantasy OR Christian fiction; and a coming-of-age story has to be pretty potent for me to be at all interested. Still, I like to keep my opinions of these genres honest, so I occasionally sample them (well, except for the Christian fiction part, but I didn't know this was so Christian when I bought it).

I gave it a hundred pages, or about a quarter of the way through, and then I was done. WAY too much telling instead of showing (actually, I can't think of a single scene -- the story was all exposition), and the part that really bugged me was that the whole world-view was far too simplistic -- the evil characters were evil because they were evil, and (reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons) they even seem to think of themselves as evil. This would not be a problem if they were off-screen (in other words, if it was only the "good" characters thinking of the bad guys as evil); but their machinations are shown every couple pages, and I just had to roll my eyes as they cackled maniacally.

Lawhead probably isn't the worst writer I've ever read -- which is why I've given him two stars instead of one -- but in addition to the storytelling through exposition limitation he also demonstrated to me that he doesn't really grasp the mechanics of viewpoint and how to manipulate it. So all in all, I was happy to give this one up and move on to something better.
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