Dragon Precinct (Keith RA DeCandido)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Dragon Precinct is a swords-and-sorcery fantasy police procedural murder mystery detective novel. I don’t regret reading Dragon Precinct by any means, but I can’t really recommend it either. The characters are fairly bland and uninteresting, the setting is standard swords-and-sorcery fantasy with almost no distinguishing unique touches, and the plot is standard “interview people until you discover the culprit” mystery. I didn’t have a bad time reading Dragon Precinct given that all the elements were so familiar, but I just can’t recommend something so forgettable.

Greater Detail:
When the great hero Gan Brightblade is found murdered before he can go on his heroic quest, it falls upon the dragon precinct to solve the case.

The book starts promisingly enough. There is a bit of self aware humor directed at the whole concept of heroic quests and adventuring parties that actually had quite a bit of promise. The idea of exploring the lives of ordinary people in a world where larger than life great heroes are constantly doing battle with the forces of darkness is intriguing. Unfortunately, that theme soon disappears completely and the narrative devolves into a routine police procedural with very little to distinguish it from anything else in the genre.

The characters are likewise bland beyond the concept of stereotypes, as at least those would have some defining characteristics. There just isn’t that much for the reader to identify with. Theres some backstory on most of the characters, but it doesn’t really logically lead to how they turned out at all, and the whole thing feels a bit forced as a method of enlivening something in the book.

Honestly, I was entertained enough, but I think it’s pretty difficult to get this combination of genres wrong. I thought the mystery was pretty weak, the characters were very forgettable, and the plot just sort of meanders along until it hits the mandatory page count, then ends. Having just read the book I remember it very well, but I can’t imagine that it will leave any lasting impression or that a year from now I will even remember that I read the book at all. This isn’t the worst thing I’ve read by any means, but I would suggest reading something a bit more interesting.

Comparisons to Other Authors:
Martin Scott’s Thraxis and the Sorcerers was a better swords-and-sorcery murder mystery book than this in pretty much every way I can think of. If you feel like a swords-and-sorcery novel with a mystery twist, definitely give it a try over this.

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Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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