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The Ring of Five Dragons

(Pearl Saga #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  833 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A towering multi-volume fantasy, The Pearl, is launched by Eric Van Lustbader in The Ring of Five Dragons. Lustbader, one of the most famous and popular writers of the last three decades, returns to the fantasy genre with his most ambitious work yet. Filled with action, color, and the myriad details of another world, The Pearl is the first great new fantasy series of the n ...more
Published (first published May 11th 2001)
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  833 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Oct 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far this book has exceeded my expectations. It blends science and sorcery in an interesting way. It is full of bizarre science-fictiony cliches and pseudo geek-speak, but it also has interesting characters. It, surprisingly, involves some critiques of gender assignments, freedom of choice politics, racism and classism that I was not expecting from a pulp sci-fi-fantasy novel.
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Fans
Recommended to MadMaxx by: A friend that worked at Tower Books
I love this idea, sci-fi meets fantasy, aliens meet mystical. My only problem with it was that it is on the wordy side for me, but that's me. I grew up with comics and picture books. The reason i read and loved the Hobbit was i had the old picture book with the 45 that would read it to me. Back to Ring of Five Dragons. It starts off interesting with the son the alien leader being put into the body of a female local who is now on the run. She or he(still the boy inside) finds friends and aids on ...more
Perhaps I wasn't quite up to such an epic struggle, but all in all, a pretty decent book.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh man... this book was... interesting.

I really did try with this one. I gave it as much of a chance as I could. It just... kept doing all the wrong things. Lots of potential, really not so great on execution. The world-building is INCREDIBLY clumsy, first of all. This book suffers a lot from not knowing how to convey all of the information it needs to without using exposition... there's just too much. And there's too much going on in the plot too for one book, in my opinion. It's confusing and
Leodel Barrio
A good fantasy novel, a bit slow and dragging at start, but slowly it piques interest.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's got the makings of a good fantasy novel, but something is missing. It lacks intensity. The scenes just seem overly languid, like a PBS special. The names are a bit distracting as well, as he gives them triple K's and K's and the like, which makes it impossible to tell how they're supposed to be pronounced without the pronunciation guide in the back of the book. I get how he wants the invaders to seem alien with the odd spelling, but I got a little frustrated with it, and just plain bored wi ...more
Mrs. Watermelon
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing book! All of the major characters are strong, well-developed and well-written. Though it's a bit tricky to get past the first 100 pages, all the worldbuilding is worth it. Characters often question their own moralities, so it's not your typical good vs. evil fantasy tale. Not to mention there are ALIENS in this book! It's a breath of fresh air to see some sci-fi stuff too. The traditional idea of the "chosen one" tale is handled in a very interesting way, too. I had an absolute b ...more
Honestly I know we are not to judge a book by its cover. But when I see dragons in the title and a girl sporting medieval clothes.. Well.. The last thing I expect is aliens. I was not given a nice summary to understand what the book is about. When I saw the typical reviews on the back I saw this book had technology. I thought technology meeting medieval times would be neat. I really did not expect aliens. And weird aliens at that. I wouldn't say it was awful, but definitely offputting and not fo ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was hooked by page 60--my new benchmark, having just turned that venerable age. However, by page 460 I had lost interest. The characters start out interesting but plod into predictability. The idea of space-faring aliens mixing with, and doing battle with, more "typical" fantasy figures was intriguing, but became confusing due to lack of in-depth explanation of cultural mores of both sides. When two characters stop to do some shock-sword training in the midst of being immediately hunted by har ...more
This is a brilliant book, so different from the rest of the fantasy/sci-fi canon. The premise - a highly sophisticated alien race conquering a comparatively primitive human planet - means that it intersects both genres and is really a refreshing change.
Benjamin Kirkegaard
I found The Ring of Five Dragons a little slow for me to get into. However, once I got into the book, it was worth the read. The characters were interesting, if a little rushed in their development. The story was good and unique. I look forward to the next book.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really, struggle beyond the first 300 pages. The first 300 pages are really tough and boring, but thereafter this book is a great pleasure!
I'm looking for the next two parts...
Conan Tigard
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Ring of Five Dragons was my first novel by Eric Van Lustbader and I found myself quite pleased. This is not a novel that you can sit down with and polish off in a day or two, as it is quite large. The story moves along at a constant pace and there is plenty going on in all the different storylines to keep the reader engaged.

The characters are well-written and the story is intriguing. I found that I most enjoyed reading the storylines about Annon and Giyan, while my least favorite was about
Jan 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: 2012
It is my opinion that a science-fiction book should not be more difficult to read than it is to understand. The invented language of the author distracts the reader on every single page, its pronunciation not at all intuitive or even logical, with tripled vowels always amounting to "w" at the end of the vowel they follow. (e.g., A prominent character, at least in as far as I managed to read, was named Wennn Stogggul. This was pronounced, according to the provided guide at the end of the book, "W ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"The Ring of Five Dragons" was, simply put, not very good, which is a shame considering I thought the initial premise had great promise. Here, a "primitive", faith and sorcery based people have been conquered by a "civilized", science and technology based people. This is an interesting dynamic. Unfortunately, however, the novel soon becomes far too confusing and nonsensical. There are vague prophesies, unexplained mystical objects, strange travel to other dimensions, "technomancy" whatever the h ...more
Carl Alves
The first thing about this novel is that it could be cut in half at a minimum. There was so much unnecessary, extraneous information. The characters did not fell real. The story was convoluted. In the world of the story, the Vornn are the invaders who have taken over the planet inhabited by the Kundalan. Despite this, the Vornn male seem to have no interest in the females of their species, but are overly enthralled with every Kundalan female on the planet. The story line is so convoluted that I ...more
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw this series many years ago and was intrigued by the lovely covers, but never managed to get far into the first book. Finally began it last year and found myself thoroughly engaged by the rich worldbuilding and language, the melding of fantasy and science fiction, and the likeable cast of characters, whom I came to care about and who go through many trials and ordeals. I like the author's writing style and the positive way he depicts women characters; they are strong and have their own agen ...more
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a strange book. Perhaps I should use the word unique instead of strange. Nah, it is both strange and unique.

This book everything that you are NOT looking for in a fantasy series, and that is why it is so great. No other fantasy/scienc fiction book that I have read has this many complicated and impposible to fully understand themes intertwined into a truly unusual story.

I like how weird it was. I enjoyed the not so subtle punctuations about gender, good and evil, love, sex, and rape. Good b
The Ring Of Five Dragons
A compelling read. Lots of interesting twists on the classic fantasy formula. The ending wasn't as big as it had been built up to. I was a little let down. Even for a book with sequels, it should've been better, I thought. There was an overwhelming amount of female characters for me personally. I don't mind violence, but it was overdone to the point of being boring. I know it doesn't sound like I liked the book, but I really did. I just don't know if I'll pursue the seque
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lemmed
I... Wow. I haven't the words. Three best I can offer is that I was younger and more naive when I first read this. the bones of a good story are there, but to find them you have to dig deeply: they're buried beneath a thick layer of incredibly bad writing. If I didn't know better, I might believe the author hit up with a dictionary in hand whenever he needed a proper name.

Honestly I can't recommend this book to anyone.
I am quite torn about this book (I want to give it a 3.5). The world the author created is very well crafted. The story had subtle (and not so subtle) social commentary that is interestingly relevant in the context of present day gender discussions.

The challenge I had was with a few scenes that felt overly predictable and others that felt disjointed (a 'wait what just happened' moment).

I will likely finish the series as it came highly recommended.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad story but it definitely doesn't live up to its potential. Also, there was a rape scene in it in which I felt the perpetrator was being perfunctory... as in, "Well, I wasn't in the mood but you're here and you're a woman of a race we're subjugating, so I guess I have to. You understand." I could never get into the second book, either.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
On the first page of the Prolog (sic) I encountered sixteen made-up nouns/names, none of them well explained. I tried to plow through the tale further, hoping it would get better, but I gave up by chapter two. Unfortunately, I just did not care what happened to any of these characters. The book did not engage me. Tastes differ. For me, this was a book I could not chew, let alone swallow.
Apr 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book. I couldn't put it down. Lustbader paints beautiful universes with realistic characters. The one thing I disliked was that some of the content felt too much like a coming of age story to me. It felt a bit less applicable to my current stage of life.
Moe Austin
Just read this series of again very enjoyable read. Wished Mr. Lustbader would have continued this saga. I understand the Bourne series is important but this was one his best book series for me. If anyone knows of this series being completed please let me know!!!
Tanya Renolds
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The idea of aliens in a fantasy book is what grabbed me. I liked the story of switching places, the alien becomes the native. The only problem was there was far too much story telling that didn't need to be there. Just trim some of that fat and this book would be great.
Andrew Herbert
Way too wordy in places for no purpose. Stop telling me stuff all the time! I gave this almost 200 pages. This guy needs an editor! Some good ideas buried in repetitive explanation.
Apr 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It's a slow starter, but it's improving now that I'm about a third of the way through it. There is large amount of fictional language and culture and it's rather distracting.
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Eric Van Lustbader was born and raised in Greenwich Village. He is the author of more than twenty-five best-selling novels, including The Ninja, in which he introduced Nicholas Linnear, one of modern fiction's most beloved and enduring heroes. The Ninja was sold to 20th CenturyFox, to be made into a major motion picture. His novels have been translated into over twenty languages.

Mr. Lustbader is

Other books in the series

Pearl Saga (3 books)
  • The Veil of a Thousand Tears (The Pearl Saga, #2)
  • Mistress of the Pearl (The Pearl Saga, #3)