Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell (3 stars)

I saw a couple of friends giving good reviews to this book, which was written especially for audio, a while back. So when an e-book version showed up on NetGalley, I was happy to give it a try. Unfortunately, that meant no audio experience, which I'm now very curious to hear, but it's still an entertaining fantasy adventure, good for adult and YA readers.

This e-book was provided through NetGalley for review.
The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell
Genres: YA/Adult, Fantasy
Published on April 3, 2015 (orig. Dec 2, 2014)
Published by Jabberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Final Rating: 3 stars
For centuries, the two Great Guilds have controlled the world of Dematr. The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a Storm approaches, one that could sweep away everything that humans have built. Only one person has any chance of uniting enough of the world behind her to stop the Storm, but the Great Guilds and many others will stop at nothing to defeat her.

Mari is a brilliant young Mechanic, just out of the Guild Halls where she has spent most of her life learning how to run the steam locomotives and other devices of her Guild. Alain is the youngest Mage ever to learn how to change the world he sees with the power of his mind. Each has been taught that the works of the other’s Guild are frauds. But when their caravan is destroyed, they begin to discover how much has been kept from them.

As they survive danger after danger, Alain discovers what Mari doesn’t know—that she was long ago prophesized as the only one who can save their world. When Mari reawakens emotions he had been taught to deny, Alain realizes he must sacrifice everything to save her. Mari, fighting her own feelings, discovers that only together can she and Alain hope to stay alive and overcome the Dragons of Dorcastle.

The Dragons of Dorcastle is a fantasy mash-up of Mages, Mechanics, Guilds and dragons facing conspiracies, change, and conflict on all sides. Before your thinking veers too far into "Dungeons & Dragons," there are very, very few dragons and only two Guilds--but they're whoppers holding influence and dominion over the whole world. This makes them necessary and powerful, but not the best of friends, and not exactly beloved by the general public. The dichotomy between Mages and Mechanics provides conflict right off the bat.

Our two protagonists in this magical, steampunk-ish adventure are Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain, who are both pretty likable and easy to relate to. They have a lot in common, including huge promotions at young ages, being treated like children by their elders, and slowly realizing that their Guilds haven't been completely honest about each other, or commons' resentment toward them, which is slowly but surely coming to a boil.

I really enjoyed the results of Alain's Mage training; he's been taught to operate on logic, ignore emotion and treat everything as an "illusion." Alain comes at everything with a completely different set of foundational beliefs. Watching others' bewilderment and his struggles to reconcile what he learns with what he knows is fun. I also loved hearing him explain how Mages do "magic." It sounds crazy. :) I was disappointed we didn't get similar explanations from Mari, especially since she's a Master Mechanic.

I didn't like the quick progression of romance. It delved too deeply into insta-love territory and, I think, would have been better slowly stretched over several books. The growing focus on feelings also led to the repetition of certain thoughts/phrases throughout the story. It's understandable to an extent; thoughts/feelings are changing and the characters must constantly remind themselves to stand firm, but it's still repetitive. I wonder if I would notice it as much in the audiobook.

Conspiracies? Cover ups? Attempted kidnappings and assassinations for unknown purposes? Yes! At the end, (minor spoiler) I almost wished we were staying in Dorcastle. I really liked the Minis Tirith-on-the-sea feel. Regardless, I'm interested in the world and like the questions raised regarding its origins and other symptoms of entropy and will likely return to the series for Book 2.


  1. 3 stars is high praise from you ;) I am looking for a good audio book so this just may be my next pick!

    1. Yep, it made it past "okay" territory and into the realm of "like." ;)

  2. I always love a good slow-burn romance. I definitely think that makes the book downgrade a rating quickly!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. Yes, while the romance wasn't as instantaneous as some, it still felt too fast for the characters.