“Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs
The first of the Hurog duology, this book is a coming-of-age adventure of a youth called Wardwick who is declared unfit to rule Hurog, his family’s lands, after his father’s death. To regain his birthright from his well meaning uncle and persuade the king to rescind his writ, Ward and a group of strays head south to prove he is ableminded by helping drive back the Vorsag raiders.
Okay, the idea really isn’t that original – but Mrs Briggs makes up for that by having some very amazing characters: Ward, intelligent and manipulative, his whole life focused on Hurog in a rather crippling obsession; Oreg, a diminutive and somewhat sullen ghost, he holds more power than any living wizard and is plagued with PTSD; Garranon, the child of one of the king’s dead enemies and his lover, he uses politics to protect his brother while he plans revenge… The faults of the characters are so real, they balance it all beautifully.
There is just something about Mrs Briggs’ style that just sings. Everything I’ve read of hers seems to leap so willingly from the page. The words have such a lovely flow to them, I think I could read her forever and never tire. This isn’t the first time I’ve read this book and it won’t be the last.
However, it isn’t without its faults. Most is a very messy editing job and a couple of very blatant mistakes I’m shocked got through the author/agent/editor net – I think two full scenes or at least two very important conversations are missing from the novel. Not just missing I-think-this-should-have-been-included sense but missing what-are-they-talking-about-I-think-I-need-to-read-that-chapter-again sense. Oreg’s backstory deserves a lot better that such a shoddy mess it got.
Other than that, it is a truly lovely thing and one of my favourite books. I finally have the second half of the series, Dragon Blood, and will be leaping into it right away. Please don't be put off by the atrocious typography on the cover!