REVIEW: The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham

REVIEW SUMMARY: Highly acclaimed author delivers a strong and promising start to an epic fantasy series. Fans of George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie take note.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The action revolves around the politics within and without the Firstblood Kingdom of Antea. The kingdom is burdened by a weak king and the possibility of civil war. Court intrigues and skirmishes abound.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Good blend of developing characters, setting, and intrigue; great potential for the series.

CONS: “Hero-less” epic could be a turn-off.

BOTTOM LINE: Daniel Abraham is on the right path with great expectations for this series.


Fans of George R.R. Martin or Joe Abercrombie will certainly be interested in Daniel Abraham’s new fantasy series. While not quite as dark or complex as the Martin’s works, Abraham’s The Dragon’s Path definitely fits the same epic fantasy genre mold with its many kingdoms and all-too-human characters carving out their own paths in a land formerly ruled by Dragons. The story itself revolves around the politics within and around the Kingdom of Antea, a kingdom burdened by a weak king and the possibility of civil war. Plenty of court intrigues and skirmishes abound.

Abraham weaves several characters into the story, each with their own flaws and ghosts that haunt them. Character development is quite deft and the author provides believable, fallible, and interesting players on his stage. It’s hard to put one’s finger on the actual hero or heroes of this tale, as each character seems to be their own hero, working out their own epic path under the surface without the normal outward heroic bracings of other fantasy novels. Interesting background characters fill in the cracks and one can envision some of them elevated to their own chapters in future books.

Abraham avoids the overbearing darkness and grittiness that pervades Joe Abercrombie’s recent novels and while The Dragon’s Path may not match the tour-de-force of Martin’s first three Game of Thrones novels, one can expect that this series at least won’t end up becoming such a disaster. The Dragon’s Path is an enjoyable read that holds great expectations for the series.

5 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham”

  1. George R.R. Martins series ended up becoming a disaster? Really? A Feast for Crows, while admittedly the weakest of the series, is still superior to 99% of the trash thats released in the fantasy genre.

  2. The oblique comment about Feast for Crows is not central to your book review, but I am curious as to what you mean, Darren.

     

    On the other hand, thank you for the review.

     

    Have you read any of Abraham’s Long Price Quartet? I was curious as to how this compared to those books.

  3. My main aggravation with the Martin series stems from the fact that it was so brilliant for its first 3 books, the last of which (Storm of Swords) was published more than 11 years ago.  Since then, we’ve gotten one very mediocre, at best, installment (Feast of Crows) and a continual tease of expected release dates.   The wheels came off the car in my opinion and I have very little hope of them being put back on the epic with the upcoming Dance with Dragons

  4. Given we are only about 100 days from the release of ADWD, it seems odd to start writing the series off as ‘a disaster’ at this point.

     

    Going back on-topic, this is a superior fantasy novel. Abraham lays down the foundations for a long-running series whilst telling an engaging story about each of the major characters. If I had a problem it was that the 13 semihuman races are not really delineated much; they’re mostly just different names at this stage. THE DRAGON’S PATH oddly reminded me of Sanderson’s THE WAY OF KINGS, but far more concise, punchy and to the point with greatly superior characterisation.

    Abraham’s co-written SF novel, LEVIATHAN WAKES, due in two months or so, may even be better :)

  5. I liked AFFC quite a bit, and I have a very serious epic fantasy fan friend who likes it the best of the four. Maybe it is different if you read them once they were all out and didn’t have to wait for AFFC to be published only to discover it was half a book.

    I have confidence that ADWD will “right the ship” for a lot of fans.

    As for Daniel Abraham, I have already purchased both this book and Leviathan Wakes, based on the strength of his short fiction alone. I really want to read The Long Price Quartet, but I have to get over my annoyance that the last book won’t be coming out in paperback to match the other three.

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