Swords of the Six - Scott Appleton Originally posted at The BiblioSanctum:

I wanted a good old fashioned sword and sorcery and dragons fantasy novel and was immediately drawn to this, the first in The Sword of the Dragon series. I was intrigued by the idea of a dragon fathering six daughters in human form to avenge the innocent blood spilled a thousand years ago by the dragon's chosen. I was instantly swept up in the opening battle where mighty warriors clashed with sword and soul. I was impressed by the depth of emotion the original Six showed, even daring to shed heavy tears on the battle field over those lost and those betrayed.

I tend to be lenient on epic tales like this one because I know a lot goes into threading together the world, characters and lore. It's not easy to pull it all together and sometimes, the first book in the series can be overwhelmed by the amount of information it has to cover. Unfortunately, after the birth of the six daughters of the dragon, the story began to wane, mainly because, I felt, not enough went into the development of these elements.

I didn't quite grasp the realm this story takes place in or its history and mythology or religion. A few details were dropped here and there, but nothing to formulate a comprehensive sketch. God and the Creator were mentioned, but the theology was never touched on beyond characters occasionally calling out to it. I assumed a monotheistic society, but then, about two thirds through the book, the sun started to be referenced as Yimshi in a distinctly divine manner.

A few interesting characters appeared, including Specter of the mysterious past. But since his mysterious past was quickly made obvious, I soon lost interest in his purpose as an agent of the great white dragon.

Speaking of purpose, the whole idea of the daughters was that the dragon needed them to cleanse the Swords of the Six by hunting down the three remaining traitors. The sisters found one of them, but we never get a clear indication of his motivations in the original betrayal, his current situation, and his ultimate act of redemption. I'm not sure if the swords are or ever will be cleansed, especially when a new prophetic sword is later introduced, while the big bad, Letrias, is only spoken of here and there, but never makes a menacing appearance. Not that I needed him to appear. But I would have liked to feel that he actually was menacing and could have appeared at any time.

The daughters themselves were the biggest disappointment. Six was clearly too many when only one was meant to be important. Singled out by her father's choosing, various events and greater dragon blood powers, Dantress left her sisters well behind, not only in ability and face time, but in personality. The other five characters were given no opportunity to define themselves beyond Caritha occasionally stepping up to fulfill her role as the leader of the group, though she often deferred to Dantress' greater skill and insight. On their first mission, half the girls were removed from battle and I thought it would give at least Caritha and Rose'el some time to define themselves, but I was wrong. Not to mention the other sisters showed up part way through the battle, only to be quickly knocked out, leaving me to wonder why they even bother to show up at all.

I expected the sisters to end up turning against Dantress because of her differences, but hoped to be pleasantly surprised, but there really wasn't much to the sisters until the end when the provided one brief moment of conflict and a promise to hopefully serve greater purpose in the sequel.

imageThe last part of the book involved the prophecy of Dantress' love life. This was where Dantress laid down her sword and took up the role of a Disney princess who fell in love with a handsome dream prince. This section came complete with talking animals and flowery fields and trickling brooks, but sadly, no one broke into song and dance.

I really wanted to like this book. I loved the idea of the dragon as a main character and did enjoy the author's descriptions of him, but, I just didn't feel the book lived up to its promise. Or rather, by the end of the book, I'm not sure what its promise actually was. I will give it an A for effort though. As I said, pulling together an epic fantasy world is no easy feat. Hopefully the future books in the series learn a little something along the way.