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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.

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Mind Games (Carolyn Crane, The Disillusionists Trilogy #1)

3 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
In Mind Games, a group of people afflicted by various psychoses finds a way to project their maladies onto others and use their powers to reform criminals.  I had a very difficult time reviewing Mind Games and an even harder time rating it.  It’s a bit less what I would traditionally call fantasy and more a romance with fantasy trappings, and the novel suffers from many of the common shortcomings that plague that genre.  The two main issues are that the protagonist is an unlikable, unrealistic author avatar with whom, for no discernable reason, everyone in the universe instantly falls in love, even though her behavior is consistently horrible, and endless paragraphs are squandered on completely superfluous descriptions of what everyone is wearing or eating, which bored me to tears.  To my utter shock, all this horribleness is largely countered by a very imaginative setting and a largely unpredictable story.  I felt strangely compelled to, by the thinnest of margins, recommend this book based on the fact that despite it’s very glaring shortcomings, it really succeeds more admirably in what makes the fantasy genre great: imagination and telling a unique story.  However, I still don’t think I’ll be picking up the other books in this series.
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