A swashbuckling adventure! Dragons! Ships! High fantasy! Sounds like the perfect recipe for a perfect book. Dragon Round by Stephen S. Power seemed like it’d be entering my Top Books of 2016 list. It even has a gorgeous cover to boot! Look at how pretty it is. Unfortunately, the cover and the summary hyped me up more than the actual story did.
A swashbuckling adventure with a dark side. When a ship captain is stranded on a deserted island by his mutinous crew, he finds a baby dragon that just might be the key to his salvation…and his revenge.
He only wanted justice. Instead he got revenge.
Jeryon has been the captain of the Comber for over a decade. He knows the rules. He likes the rules. But not everyone on his ship agrees. After a monstrous dragon attacks the galley, the surviving crewmembers decide to take the ship for themselves and give Jeryon and his self-righteous apothecary “the captain’s chance”: a small boat with no rudder, no sails, and nothing but the clothes on his back to survive on the open sea.
Fighting for their lives against the elements, Jeryon and his companion land on an island that isn’t as deserted as they originally thought. They find a baby dragon that, if trained, could be their way home. But as Jeryon and the dragon grow closer, the captain begins to realize that even if he makes it off the island, his old life won’t be waiting for him and in order get justice, he’ll have to take it for himself.
Everyone knows me as the person who loves dragons in my stories. There’s very little you have to do to make me love a book about dragons. But Dragon Round was everything I could have hated about a book with dragons in it.
It started off pretty well–the present tense was a bit odd for a high fantasy, but it worked for the opening scene, which involved Captain Jeryon, our main character, trying to steer his ship away from a potential dragon attack. When that plan fails and things start hitting the fan, Jeryon gets booted off his ship by his crew and is told he has the “captain’s chance” of survival: a dingy and the clothes on his back and nothing else. If he survives to tell the tale, he gets off scot-free.
He’s also got the ship’s healer, whom he mostly refers to as Poth (short for Apothecary, I presume), and things aren’t going well for them. A storm, starvation, dehydration and that’s before they land on the island full of flesh-eating blue crabs.
I was excited for the idea of two people trying to train a dragon and seek revenge, but I only got 25% of the way through the book before I had to put it down, for good. The present tense wasn’t working for me and it just kept bringing me out of the story. The narration, which often jumped from POV to POV within the same paragraph at times, was too full of jargon and I had to stop every line to look up the definition of half the words. It dragged on and there were so many times when I just wanted something, anything, to happen.
It never did.
I hate to do it, but I have to slot Dragon Round as a DNF. But I give it at least two stars for the stellar opening, the awesome premise and the gorgeous cover. I’d print it and hang it on my wall if I could.