When Rohan was crowned High Prince and his Sunrunner wife Sioned became High Princess, they swore to keep the peace of the lands and preserve the secret of the dragons, an inheritance they would one day pass on to their only child, Pol, heir to both princely and Sunrunner powers.
But the evil influence of the former High Prince Roelstra had not ended with his death at Rohan’s hands. And even as Pol grew to manhood, other young men were being trained in the ways of war, youths descended from Roelstra and claimed by Rohan’s enemies as willing pawns in what could become a bloody battle for succession.
Yet not all players in these games of power fought merely with words or swords. For now a foe vanquished by the Sunrunners ages ago was once again growing in strength, an enemy determined to desroy Sunrunners and High Prince alike. And the only hope of defeating these masters of dark sorcery lay in reclaiming the knowledge so carefully concealed in the long-lost- Star Scroll….
Melanie Rawn received a BA in history from Scripps College and worked as a teacher and editor before becoming a writer.
She has been nominated for a Locus award on three separate occasions: in 1989 for Dragon Prince (in the first novel category), in 1994 for Skybowl (in the fantasy novel category), and again in 1995 for Ruins of Ambrai (in the fantasy novel category).
Thoroughly enjoyed the reread, but found it very noticeable with this one just how black and white everything is (Rohan & Sioned's constant angsting notwithstanding). So I found myself gravitating heavily towards the few even slightly ambiguous characters (Pandsala, Andry, Andrade) and wishing most characters weren't so bloody rigid in their goodie/baddie structure. A major betrayal or redemption arc somewhere in there couldn't hurt! People don't just make one choice of loyalty and stick with it all their lives. (But then people don't usually have one soulmate bond that is exactly like all their friends' soulmate bonds either, lol).
Still, jolly good fun. Looking forward to Sunrunner's Fire!
There were a lot of pages in this book, but not very much actually happened. I think about 350 pages were spent at the Rialla and I was practically begging her to please MOVE ON. It was so boring recounting the events of every single day of a one week period. The resolution was almost exactly the same as the first book in the series, Dragon Prince, down to the use of magic, a duel, and something happening with dragons to make you all dragon happy. You could tell that she was a better writer by this book, so it does not have the hallmarks of a debut author anymore, but unfortunately it was just boring.
Definitely an improvement from her debut novel. A lot of the issues I mentioned in my review of Dragon Prince seems to be solved. 1. Villains are much more subtle and nuanced. There was morally grey characters that developed (ie Pandsala and Andrade) and the motivations of the villians and the grey characters are believable and realistic. A huge improvement from the first book. 2. Odd jumps in time largely disappeared. 3. Much more showing rather than telling. She sets up a nice uncompleted plot point that has me curious to read the concluding novel of the series to see that resolved.
I did note that the political structure that she devised for her world building was exactly the same as GRRM's Westeros. Dragon Prince world has a bunch of regions (13) all ruled by a ruling lord and has specific seat (house) that she/he rules from. These seats have memorable names such as Greypearl of Dorval or Castle Crag of Princemarch. The lords have vassals that owe their allegiance to them and not to the High Prince (equivalent to King or Queen of Westeros). The lords of these seats are peers to each other except to the High Prince. Marriages among the lords are politically motivated to foster trade and unify the houses/seats and children of these lords and more powerful vassals are fostered at other seats until they become of age. Given that she wrote this long before GRRM wrote A Game of Thrones, I wonder if he was inspired or just a coincidence?
The bad: The entire plot was too similar to the first book. It was a rehash down to the trial by combat to the death as the climax during a meeting of the regions.
I know people who can make very intelligent reviews. I'm not one of them. I just "feel" or don't. In this case, I felt a lot...especially at the end. Sioned and Elisel...that was beautiful.
On another note, I can't help but dread Pol's learning of all what happened at Feruche all those years ago. I don't know when that will happen. In book 3 or in Dragon Star trilogy ?
The sooner, the better.
Oh, and why is it that there's something about Rohan (which happened to him at Feruche in book 1) that I still find difficult to forgive ? 1st time ? ok. But what follows...ouch ! He has not forgiven himself too though and probably never will.
What I Liked: Rawn's specialty is on display in this middle book of the Dragon Prince trilogy, with her interweaving of so many different characters, all with personality quirks, motivations, and opinions. She somehow manages to make each of the characters interesting, and seems to enjoy pointing out that two people rarely see the same event in the same way. In this manner, Rawn creates very real characters.
The other strength of this book is that it doesn't get anywhere close to just being a middle book in a trilogy. This book could easily be picked up and read as a stand alone novel, with its own overreaching arc of the imposter son of Roelstra and of the sorcerer Segev (who make two great villains). Both have narrative arcs that are completely contained within this book. The book, however, still adds to the Dragon Prince mythos as a whole, and as such, never suffers from that dreaded boring middle section of the book.
As a writer, I have to commend Rawn for her ability to move the narrative around to exactly where it needs to be. She can change place, time, and the point of view character without ever skipping a beat, keeping the narrative moving from scene to scene without confusion. She builds her conflict and tension very slowly, but does it by finding the scene and characters with the most interesting point of view. This book could easily stand a dissection of its narrative arcs, one that could teach many lesser writers how it should be done.
What I Didn't Like: Once again, you have a great plot, amazing characters, and lots of witty banter, but beyond that, the writing, the actual sentence construction type writing, is pretty bad. The descriptions of each keep seem to meld together, and Rawn is at her best when moving her characters around a chessboard and not focusing on trying to write pretty lines. Luckily, she does have some strength in dialogue, so the interplay there is solid, if not good.
Adding to that first problem is that someone needed to edit this book again. There are typos and missed punctuation and even simply wrong words. I do know that the book was reissued in 2005, so I hope that somebody took the time to correct the original book's mistakes.
Loved the book, loved the series. The characters come alive, and add a depth to the book that is amazing. Rawn effortlessly brings in a new generation, and you can't help but know them instantly.
Notice ~ for all the people out there who complained about the sexual content of the series, I'd just like to say that you can stop whining. Rawn goes into less detail than your average romance writer, and isn't exactly crude about it. Yes, within this series there are examples of the negative side of human nature. However, the books wouldn't be real without them. Rawn masterfully shows this negative side in ALL of her characters, especially her "heroes." I applaud this author for her ability to do so.
I don't think I would go on to read the last book of the trilogy. I do have to say that each book stands alone quite well, with a distinct climax and issue. The writing and storytelling is still solid, though.
I note that this book deals with dark themes (death, sexual assault), but what really irritated me was that Rohan kept referring to Pol's conception as
I didn't care much for the characters, but I do have to say that the political intrigue was well thought out and the characters had distinct personalities.
Melanie Rawn continues to paint a wonderful canvas of her unique world. The conflicts and challenges in the first book have given way to new challenges and conflicts arising from past actions, both recent and long ago. A new hidden threat arises from the shadows that threatens to tear apart the lives of the main characters. Again, the author brings the characters, both old and new, to life, endearing the reader to them all. If you've read the first book, there's no reason not to read on.
This one was a little slower than the first and it took me a little longer to get into it. There didn't seem to be a single main character, or even couple, that was central to this novel, but rather it felt more like a weaving of story lines that held equal importance, without which there would have been left an incomplete story. I both like and dislike that. All in all, this felt like a true 'middle' book--a mere vehicle to get to the next installment.
After reading the first book of the series I had to find my old cache of books as I knew I still had the six somewhere. Then I found it under a mountain of brick'a'brack. I am now in the process of retreading and i'm half through enjoying every page
Melanie Rawn's second book in the Dragon Prince saga is just as strong, if not stronger in some ways, than Dragon Prince. This is much more on the side of political fantasy, though it still has plenty of more traditional fantasy elements to keep it solidly in the genre. Even now, after all the years and multiple times I have read the series, this is probably one of my favorites in the series.
Like Dragon Prince, The Star Scroll holds up compared to a lot of titles hitting the shelf in this day and age. Usually some of the themes are subtly approached, but sometimes they're a little heavy handed. The protagonists are fairly believable as real people, as are the villains, without falling too heavily into standard tropes verging on cliche.
I still read this about once a year.
Things I Like:
- Rohan and Sioned, the two main protagonists, actually read like a believable couple. They have their arguments and disagreements, but their cute moments as well. It's a solid romance, even if it has a magical element. - The book gives a lot more lore for the world, giving it a solid history which supports not only the events but the politics being described. It's an incredibly rich world with great work done on character. - Decent action. In addition to managing to capture the emotional roughness of different characters in various situations, the physical violence scenes Rawn puts to paper are appropriately located, and actually work in terms of physical movement. They're well-paced and thought out, adding a good flavor to the story without become the focus of the story.
Things I Dislike:
- The newly introduced protagonist, Pol, is a little too precocious for my tastes, but not enough to make me want to slap him. He's obviously the product of stratospheric wealth, power, and privilege, and though he tries to shrug it off, it comes across as humblebragging with a touch of entitlement. - If Melanie Rawn has any major issues with characters that I find troubling, it's her villains. It's probably a result of the time in which the books were written, but for all their complexity their motivations are surprisingly one-note. Specifically, the villains' motivations are they want power over everything because it's owed to them and dammit, they deserve it. - One other area where Rawn starts falling victim to trope is the magical way love strikes like lightning at first sight. It was a cool device in Dragon Prince, but gets a little heavy-handed in The Star Scroll. - The last major gripe I had with Rawn's overall work is that every protagonist is stunningly handsome or gorgeous, and even the ones who are somewhat ill-favored still have that one feature that makes them truly drool-worthy. While not the biggest shortcoming a writer could have, it can still be eyeroll inducing.
Pretty good second book of Rawn's first trilogy (Dragon Prince). There's a lot of drama about princes and princesses hooking up, and lots of angst over what's gonna happen when the next generation of princes and sunrunners (wizards) takes over.
The story moves along pretty well, but it's mostly a setup for the next installment. We learn more about dragons, something about the folks who came before the sunrunners, and how Rohan plans to shape the continent and islands he rules. Pol turns out to be a bit of an entitled brat "Princemarch is MINE!" he says, more than once, and only because daddy conquered it for him.
The son (is he?) of Roelstra is interesting, but doesn't really get much to do. Pandsala, one of my favorite characters (boy, has she been up to some stuff) is always good for a few chapters and some tension whenever she's around. Rohan and Sioned are perfect because they are, which gets annoying, but there are enough flawed characters around who aren't treated as if they are perfect despite their flaws (sometimes too many characters) that things stay lively.
Rawn's a bit corny when it comes to romance, with adults making lame innuendo the way a 14 year old might (pandering to her audience, or just her style? not sure) and boy, SPOILER ALERT ON A 40 YEAR OLD BOOK: everybody sure forgets about poor Maarken's broken heart in a hurry, don't they?
This series is a fun read (most of the time) but there's better fantasy out there. What I wouldn't give for a troll or an ogre. Maybe a couple of bumbling goblins, but no, just people and dragons. (And dragons who remain friendly despite a holiday that was nothing but murdering baby dragons all over the place! These certainly are forgiving dragons!)
The Sunrunners -- the good sorcerors in "The Star Scroll" -- identify people by their psychic colors; Melanie Rawn, however, needed only black and white to portray her characters, which turned "The Star Scroll" into a long slog to a predictable ending.
Granted, Rawn forces the white hats into some tough moral choices (and indeed one major protagonist committed rape at one point), but the good guys agonize over what they are forced to do, and break personal commitments only for the good of the people. And, while not busy torturing their almost-perfect selves about these decisions, they are very happily married, raising near-perfect children and having sex (good sex, though not explicit) whenever possible.
Now the bad guys ... oh, they are bad. They are cruel (for no good reason), arrogant (for no good reason) and bad rulers (for no good reason). They lie, kill, connive and deceive with no remorse whatsoever, and when caught out, whine and cry like the curs they are. They even look evil, despite being handsome or beautiful, and of course, they get their just desserts -- but only after 582 pages. And, by the way, a reader with an IQ above room temperature could see the ending coming after about 80 of those pages.
Rawn is a competent writer, but her characterizations are so slapdash, and some of her matchmaking -- a major portion of the book's politics center around marriages -- is so contrived that whatever satisfaction might be gotten from what appears to be a good combination is lacking. (And all the princesses are beautiful, by the way, and the princes handsome. And so are their parents ...)
All in all, "The Star Scroll" was a major disappointment, and I was very glad to have finished it -- though I confess I sometimes wondered why I was doing so.
Set in a medieval world of the author's own making, the main character is one of the most powerful men on the continent-and fears the power. He fears the warring magics on the continent- those of the faradh'im and the diarmadh'im- which threaten his son's life, and which he is powerless against.
Great read. Love the dynamics between the characters- not the "constantly respectful" and "perfect" kids, nor the "always humbled" servants/subjects. The characters have real relationships with playful banter and teasing. The author also tries to make the characters more real-they have strengths and weaknesses, odd, silly fears, and will do stupid things. Another thing I like (though you may not) is that the book makes no bones about death, or war, or general barbarism which is so prevalent in the world. The main character's worst fear, the thing that keeps him up at night is that despite all his plans for progress and peace, and learning and the like, he is a barbarian too. In defeating his worst enemy, he thinks himself a barbarian for killing him. He knows it is necessary, but still can't condone the killing.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The Star Scroll is one of those second installments that actually surpasses the first book. There's no middle book syndrome here where stories sometimes come off as just a bridge between the beginning and the conclusion. While Dragon Prince felt like two (or even three) books squeezed into one, The Star Scroll delivered a solid, unified narrative that continued the stories of the characters in the first novel and seemed to set up potential stories for the next, but in a way that stood on its own as well. I was also impressed with the way all the different character arcs were balanced. Rohan and Sioned remained the primary focuses, but they now shared that spotlight with their son, nephews, and their love interests. So what was good about Dragon Prince was still here while new blood was being introduced as well. I liked that this was very much a generational story. Seeing Rohan and Sioned in their 40s as skilled rulers still dealing with the baggage of their pasts while training their son was very satisfying. It also makes the book very unique among fantasy works where the primary characters are usually younger.
In some ways this book is reminiscent, to me that is, of McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern. Similar but not the same. Rawn is weaving the political fractions of this world. The Princes and Lords, the sunrunners and the stoneburners. Is it really hood or bad to be born one or another. I think it's how each character decides to use that power. Unbeknownst to the all, Pol is all three. Maybe he can bring all the fractions together, maybe not. He doesn't know yet. No one does except his parents and Mireva. I'm not sure what to make of Andry of being the new Lord of Goddess Keep. Too much pride, head strong and wants to control everything that has to do with sunrunners. Not sure if that's a good combination. My favorite parts are with Sioned communicating with Elisel, the young female dragon. It's a good start and I wonder what it will bring to the humans and what will change for the dragons and humans. As in anything new change can bring out the best and worst of others. I look forward to the next book.
I kept flicking ahead on this one hoping something would happen. I spent the first part of the book pretty confused about who everyone was plus the plot was a little on the dull side. Then the Rialla got more interesting, but as someone else pointed out was essentially the finale of the Rialla of Dragon Prince with different characters.
Also, was it just me bothered by Rohan in this book? He spent his whole time angsting about how he wasn't above the law and then as soon as the pretender turns up (whom they have no way of really knowing if he is Roelstra's son or not) him and his are so certain it's a ruse and then as Marrken is losing in single combat, Rohan knives the pretender killing him and orders the other Princes to be fine with it despite him breaching the rules of single combat? What happened to not being above the law? And then everyone is cool again, even the princes who weren't on Rohan's side? That bit was super weird. Maybe it gets dealt with in the next book?
On the plus side, yay for Andry and more about the Sunrunners. Also, the Alasen sub plot was sweet.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
A mix of politics and action - I enjoyed it. It's not epic or groundbreaking, but this rather sweet (if occasionally dark and/or silly) romance-heavy fantasy is something of a guilty pleasure. It has problems - the size of the cast meant I had to refer to the glossary at the back of the book several times to remember who was who - but it's a relatively fast read and a pleasant enough break from heavier or darker fantasy tomes. And it has dragons and an unusual magic system, which are both positives as far as I'm concerned. Just don't read it as a standalone novel, or the confusing swirl of names may well overwhelm you!
I have really no other way to say this: this book is insultingly, embarrassingly, exhaustingly terrible.
It follows about fourteen years after the first novel: Pol is now a teenager and a Sunrunner apprentice, Andrade is now an old lady, and Rohan and Sioned are around sixty but are still High Prince and Princess. What follows this set-up is a sequence of events so bafflingly uninteresting and dull that I don't really feel the need to write it down.
To sum up as simply as I can, we have multiple disgustingly unsubtle insta-love, hundreds of pages of filler, and about one or two major events occurring, and all of that only occurs in about three chapters near the end of this book. Don't pick this up. Please do not read this. It is seriously one of the most insultingly godawful fantasy novels I've ever read.
I liked this way better than the first one. I think it's probably because there was a broader cast of characters to play with! The dragons are fascinating and the final scene with Sioned was powerful. The one thing I really didn't like happened toward the end too...
I'm eager to learn what will happen now that the balance shifted and things will change...
Have to say that I think this book is such an improvement on the first book in the series. I feel the pace was better and the plot more interesting and fleshed out that the original one, or maybe I just had a better grasp on who was who and more of an emotional investment in characters having already been introduced to them in the first book. There was the lack of overdramatic back and forth I love you, I hate you drama that went on in the first book which was refreshing. Overall I just found this book much more interesting and I found myself wanting to read it and being able to read big chunks at a time that I struggled to achieve consistently with the first one
Dragon Prince was Rohan's origin story, with his princely rule under attack, a play to win a wife, and a battle to oust the antagonist, so it's unfortunate that The Star Scroll is, when you stop to look at it, the exact same story. But instead of the focus and enchantment Rawn wove with a single protagonist, now it's everyone's story. Too many players following the same script muddle the tight pacing and originality of the first book.
But Rawn's writing style continues to excel, painting a vivid picture you can't help but be drawn into. Extra star for quality.
I truly loved this second novel in the Dragon Prince series. While the first book lulled in places due to having to introduce so much, this one was more fast paced. I am not sure how I feel about certain happenings and romances, but I can understand the author and characters point of view. It’s not out of left field, just not in my thoughts of where I would see the story going. The character development and plot in this kept me reading past my “bed time” multiple nights.
This is one of those books that you start and think it’s never going to end. Then you slip into the lives of every single one of the characters and suddenly you are at the end! This book gives us the next generation set up for book 3. You can’t help but get hooked and excited to see what becomes of the hatchlings as sioned likes to call them! We see great loses and some loses we craved, I now look forward to seeing a old magic revived!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
One of my all-time favorite series! I think this makes 6 or 7 times reading. The narrator grated on my nerves in the first book, but she was much better in this second book.
If you're interested in political machinations, romance, magic, and dragons, this book is for you. Melanie creates a vivid, complex world and life-like characters. You can't help but to become invested. I fall in love each time.