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Review of The Dragon Hunter and the Mage by V.R. Cardoso

Review of The Dragon Hunter and the Mage by V.R. CardosoThe Dragon Hunter and the Mage by V.R. Cardoso
Series: Wounds in the Sky #1
on April 30th 2016
Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 497


Magic can make you invincible, if it doesn’t get you killed first.

Aric and Fadan are half-brothers. Both sons of the Empress, but only one of them the son of the Emperor. A decade ago, Fadan's powerful father tore the Empire in two by outlawing the use and practice of magic. Forbidden from seeing each other, Aric and Fadan defy the Emperor and wander the vast Imperial Citadel until one night, they stumble upon an ancient Manual of Magic. They are faced with a choice: take the book straight to the Emperor or see if one of them has the forbidden magical Talent. Their world is turned upside down and the half-brothers find themselves swept away as tragedy and conspiracy separate them, sending each to either end of the Empire. In a world of dark mages, massive creatures, and vengeful gods, one will train as a Dragon Hunter while the other taps into magical powers that could spell his execution.
Dark forces are moving in the shadows and no one in the Empire is ready for what’s to come. Will Aric and Fadan survive to ever see each other again?

This is the second book I’ve read by Cardoso, and I must say I enjoyed this one more than the last. With the dialog formatted correctly, it read smoothly and the story was enjoyable.

Basically I’d consider this a coming of age story. It revolves around two half brothers, Fadan (the prince) and Aric (born of a different father than the emperor) as they each come into their own power/skill. I love stories that center around sibling relationships but sadly this only happened for the first quarter, and then the brothers were split. Beneath the brothers’ development is a rebellion and some nasty mages.

I must say that the characters kinda blended together for me. I liked them all, even the not-so-nice ones, but none stood out far from the others. There’s a wide cast, but if you like the good guy stuck in a bad situation character, you’ll like all of them. If you’re looking for heavily flawed good guys, I’d not recommend this. As for our two main characters, I was more attached to Fadan because his care toward Aric was much more pronounced—shown to me more. If I read right, Aric is the older, but it definitely seemed Fadan was more mature. There’s a few supporting characters I’m interested in spending more time with. They did some things that showed genuine good, and one in particular had a great calm about him that drew me in, much like Fadan did. Aric sometimes came across with a tiny bit too much self-pity for me in the beginning. However, he shaped up toward the end.

Which brings me to my second thought. The beginning was rough for me. It felt very young, which I generally don’t enjoy. I like my characters a little more brooding, a little more tormented, a little more deep. I don’t want them to whine, which is what I felt toward Aric. It kinda soured it for me, but then the tone changed and I found it much more enjoyable. Fadan’s story saved it for me, and by the end I found myself equally invested in the brothers. The sub stories of rebellion and mages really took hold toward the last quarter of the book, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

As for the pacing, it was slow in the beginning, and personally I found the training sections just a little long. However, once the other subplots took hold the pacing picked up and whisked me away.

The world is quite interesting. Dragons once ruled the world, and after the Dragon Hunters squashed their numbers people came into power. There’s a good amount of history woven in, and thankfully I never felt like I got a huge dose of info dumping backstory. Definitely a bonus for me. Descriptions were enough for me to develop the scenes, and I appreciated the lack of page long set ups. The magic system was nice and clean.

So overall, I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys young adult, or to those who like a book to have a lot of good guys looking to make things right. I’m definitely curious about the second installment in the series.

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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