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Review of Dragon Dodgers by V.R. Cardoso

Review of Dragon Dodgers by V.R. CardosoDragon Dodgers by V.R. Cardoso
Series: Wounds in the Sky
on October 24th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 78


"When there is life on ground, there is death in the sky"

Dragons rule the land and mankind hides underground. Only a brave few dare to cross the great outdoors - Surface Runners.

Captain Targon of the Dragon Dodgers has Ran the Surface for far too many years, but he has finally found the mother of all jobs. In the hope of becoming rich beyond his wildest dreams, he has dragged his men all the way across the continent, to a land they’ve never been. But the men are tired of their Captain’s secrecy and exhausted by the long and dangerous journey. There are whispers within the Company and some believe that a change of leadership is required.

Has Targon finally found the job that will allow him to leave his Surface Running days behind? Or is he taking the Dragon Dodgers to their doom?

Dragon Dodgers is the first in a series of novellas leading up to the Wounds in Sky Fantasy series. Release of the first novel length book in the series is scheduled for Q1 2015.

I’m straddling the I’m Indifferent rating and the I Really Liked It rating. I’d say the first half of the book was a bit rough, but after the middle it smoothed out some and I really liked it. I rounded up because I enjoyed the premise of the story. Had a few things been different, it might have even moved up to my I Loved It rating.

First, the dialog formatting. Now, this could very well be a cultural difference in styling, but, for me, it was highly bothersome while reading. First, the dialog tags were as follows:
“You have to take me.” Enrig Said.
Or: “You want excuses,” He told Merriqh. “fine.”
When you’re so accustomed to reading dialog formatted a certain way, any variance becomes distracting. And there was a lot of dialog. I couldn’t ease into my reading trance because it didn’t flow right and my brain kept pausing to say “What? Oh, okay. Continue.” Another issue was that the paragraphs were not indented. This made reading short dialog sections difficult. It jumbled together and sometimes you had to go back because you got off from who was talking. These things are simple fixes that would ease the flow of reading dramatically and would have easily solidified this as a I Really Liked It. Again, this could be a cultural difference, but I’ve never read a book that had it formatted like this one. And as I said, when you read tons of books, it’s going to throw you a bit.

Second, it felt rushed, especially in the beginning. The initial dialog felt a tad bit forced in order to get things moving. I wish there had been more setting and slower scenes. This does not mean I wanted more description, but would have liked everything to unroll a bit slower so I could adjust to this new world. It’s an incredibly short book so it had room for it. It would have helped developed the story more in the beginning and had me concerned for the characters from the get go. That said, the middle smoothed out a bit and the scenes were more detailed, especially toward the end.

Which brings me to the all things I enjoyed about this book.

First, the entire story idea was brilliant. Dragons rule the land and people live in caves. Dragon Dodgers is a group of Runners that carry messages across the “surface” for cash, also sometimes venturing into trinkets or goods. Since not a lot of people travel—because of the hungry dragons—Runners are basically badasses. The Dragon Dodgers are a motley group led by the Captain. Fun so far? You bet! Then it gets better. He’s not loved by all his people, so there’s some dissension in the ranks. It keeps you on your toes. Of course you’re rooting for the Captain, but the people disagreeing with him had some valid points. So it makes Captain a likable, flawed character. Half way through this book I was definitely a fan of the story. Again, if those distracting errors hadn’t been there and the book slowed down and flowed a bit better, I would have been all over this.

Second, there were two characters whose backgrounds were explored, and I found each to have an engaging history, especially the Captain. What they’ve been through is heartbreaking, and Captain’s situation is understandable and I felt a huge swell of pity for him.

Lastly, I never, ever saw that ending coming. Never. So kudos for throwing me for a complete loop! Love that!

So overall, I recommend reading a sample on Amazon. If the dialog tags and formatting doesn’t bother you, give it a go. I can say that I will definitely be checking out the next book because the story was engaging and different.

About V.R. Cardoso

I remember writing short stories on my dad’s old Mac SE 30. He would then print a few copies at the office so I could distribute them to my class. This was in elementary school. I mostly ripped off everything that I read or watched. I remember having a hero that was suspiciously similar to Indiana Jones, except his name came from a book cover standing on the shelf behind the computer.

I grew up on a healthy diet of fantasy novels, video games and daydreaming. After graduating in business, I spent a few years cranking out headlines, scripts and silly ideas in an advertising agency in Lisbon. Having written about pretty much everything, from laxative pills to car insurance, I decided it was time to start writing about what I truly enjoy. So I’ve taken the plunge and I’m now self publishing my works of fiction.

I also eat a lot of crepes.

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