Nick Reys's Reviews > De draken

De draken by Julia Conrad
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Dec 16, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: read-2012
Read from January 02 to 23, 2012 — I own a copy

I guess it’s every booklover’s bad habit, the picking up of random books on a sale and forgetting about them until you come across them while dusting off the shelves. Julia Conrad’s The Dragons is one of those – I have this book in Dutch and since this is a translation for the original German one, I have no idea is there is an English edition and how that one is titled. I bought it for a few euros back in 2010, I believe, and went to the back of the bookcase until I needed a book about dragons for a monthly themed challenge. After reading it, I know why it was on sale and why it slipped to the back of my shelves. This was a very weird book and not in good way.

Dragons used to rule the world, but when the Sundragon Phuram claimed all power, he sent the world in a spiral towards destruction. Only a group of thirteen humans can free the dragons from ancient times and bring Phuram’s reign to an end.
Let’s start off by saying that I do like the basic premise of it all and the world is very imaginative. Crazy imaginative, really. There are things flying, crawling, walking around in this novel that you can’t imagine unless you’re tripping on some heavy stuff. So that’s definitely a big pro, cause I like it when authors stray from the beaten path and bring something a little bit different to the genre. I also like the idea of dragons ruling and them gliding through different dimensions. The thing is, though, when you have such a good idea, you have to make sure that you translate it well to paper or things can fall really flat really soon. That’s what happened here.
As far as the plot is concerned, there’s nothing interesting besides the imaginative world in its inhabitants. The story just goes on and I never really had a good grasp of what was actually happening or where things were going. Things just weren’t really happening until the end and then it all happened too fast for my likes. The characters just stumble along knowing jack and then suddenly, when the book is running out of pages, they know what to do. That was really disappointing and on top of that there was a plot twist which came dropping out of the sky, without any ground to base that twist on.
The characters weren’t much to speak of either. There isn’t really a main character cause the POV keeps switching really fast and characters don’t have a tendency to stay with you. I believe some just disappeared without being mentioned further in the book, but I could be mistaken. It’s easy making mistakes when it comes to the characters, cause they’re everything but distinctive. They’re just flat and common, they don’t develop and even one dragon who’s present for the entire book – a novelty, really – is just so plain and boring, I couldn’t find myself to care. Also, they all have really difficult names to pronounce, which makes it hard to remember them, their non-existent personalities weren’t helping their case either.
I can’t really comment on the writing since I read a translation, but I was bothered by several language errors. A thing I do want to mention is the inconsistencies. According to the prophecy, only thirteen humans can restore the balance. Now, (view spoiler). That’s either a great inconsistency, or some really dodgy prophecy.

This book is proof that a good idea and rich imagination isn’t nearly enough to write a good book. In fact, if you can’t back your world and idea up with some good storytelling, things tend to go awry. I completely understand why this book was on sale and I’m planning on donating it to a second hand bookshop cause I’ll never read this again, unfortunately.
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