In Dragons: Rise of Berk, author Bruce Sterling does a fine job of creating an enjoyable read. This book is the third in the Dragonlance series, and although the second, this book still gathers steam. If you are a fan of this type of fantasy role playing with dragons, this might be worth a read. However, if this isn’t your type of book, don’t worry – there’s still plenty of great fantasy out there that I’ve read. For instance, Edith Nesbit’s “The Princess of mars” series is another great example of high fantasy with a little romance thrown in.
In The Princess of Mars, several characters from the original “Harry Potter” series appear. Professor Rowling obviously was inspired by J.K. Rowling’s own childhood fascination with space, and this book includes many planets from the “HP” series and beyond. It’s clear that Prof. Rowling was trying to help young readers understand what it’s like to live on other worlds; in this case, Mars. Sterling, who also wrote the first novel in this series, is clearly a fan of this sort of writing. He gives it a good deal of his own personality in the novel, and it comes across well.
Of course, one of the main reasons this story worked so well is because of the secondary characters. Takegy, a half-vampire human female, is the central character. While not quite a full vampire, she certainly looks the part. Also along the lines of “starving yourself to be a better person,” she eats very little while remaining incredibly thin. While she initially seems like a spiteful character, we learn that she is actually one of the main characters, and the novel ends happily ever after.
In addition to the two main characters, there are several other minor players in the tale of Dragons: Rise of Berk. Chief Brommel, a loyal and trusted leader, is captured and held prisoner deep in the ice of the Northlands. There, a frost giant giantess releases him from his captivity. In doing so, he reveals the identity of the woman he’s been keeping as a mate for the last few years. The giants are, of course, relentless enemies of humanity, but the story provides Brommel with some companionship and another opportunity to learn more about himself and about the people he deals with on a daily basis.
A major part of the story involves Torgon, an escaped slave of the Dragons. He is arrogant and violent, and he quickly identifies with the other men in the Dragonlance group. Although his circumstances are rather dire, he manages to rise up through the ranks of the society of Riders and is seen as a highly capable fighter. His relationship with Brommel is complicated, to say the least, but the book also gives us some background on the history between these two men. It shows us where their conflicting loyalties begin and how they eventually come to terms with each other.
In the sequel, Dragons: Rise of Berk, Torgon returns as an important participant in the story. While he doesn’t have quite the same story as Brommel and company, he still has his own set of struggles. The novel isn’t quite as action-packed as the first novel, and there isn’t quite as much of a struggle for survival. Still, the story is excellent. It presents the reader with the fantasy world of Jotunheim and it gives the reader a look into the mind of a great warrior.
The Dragonlance series is written as a series of novels, each featuring one main character. Dragons: Rise of Berk is book #1, featuring Brommel, Torgon, and Grishtaj. The first few chapters of the book are devoted to introducing the characters. We get a little bit of background on each of them, and some background on the world of Jotunheim. Then, we jump right into the action, following the characters as they’re forced to deal with the perils of their land and work together to save it from the Dragonlords.
This first book in the series is fast-moving and exciting. I loved it, and the first chapter made me want to read more about the world and the mythology that inspired it. Dragons: Rise of Berk is the first book in the Stormlight Chronicles, and the first book in the new fantasy line called the Dragonwrack. If you love dragons, this story may be just what you’re looking for.