Flint's Reviews > The Dragon's Nine Sons

The Dragon's Nine Sons by Chris Roberson
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's review
Feb 15, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: alternatehistory, fiction, sciencefiction

The Dirty Dozen, except there are only nine; and they serve imperial China, in space between Earth and Mars. The Mexica are depicted as wholly villainous, while imperial China is honorable, mostly good and sometimes ruthlessly utilitarian.

Lots of soliloquies where the protagonists tell you their life story in two pages or less. The characters lack depth. I had trouble keeping track of the characters because there was so little to really distinguish them from each other beyond "that one is a gambler, that one is a prankster, that one is big and prone to violent outbursts, that was is a coward, that is a cowboy gunslinger, that one is pious"; did I make it to nine yet?

I like the setting, but don't care so much for what the writer does with it. I like the method of an alternate history in the past being projected into the future; but some clever ideas and historical research don't seem to make up for the rather pedestrian writing. The perspective of author's view shifted wildly the entire time, and characters presented knowing information they possibly couldn't know about the inner thinking or motivation of other characters. There often wasn't much transition between character perspectives at all, except a period.
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Matt Kelland Thanks - that saved me writing an almost identical review!

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