9 Mar 2022

Review: Hatch, the Dragons of Laton #1


Buy link

The best way to describe this book is using a metaphor. It’s a crude, unpolished natural diamond. Scratch the surface of the amateurish writing, and you find an epic tale where villains are villains and heroes are heroes. The world that the author imagines feels rich and engrossing, taking me on a nostalgic trip back to my favourite fantasy novels: Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom, Trudi Canavan’s Magician, and especially, Paolini’s Eragon.

But I can’t pretend this is a great book, as it has too many flaws to overlook. Firstly, the writing is riddled with mistakes. There are sections where nearly every page has a mistake: the wrong word is used, a grammatical error is made, a sentence is incomplete, etc. The author should go over the text with a fine-toothed comb, or get a proofreader to do it. Because as a reader, it was painful. As a fellow author, I winced; this is exactly the kind of text that gives self-publishing a bad name.

The problems don’t end with the prose. The characterisation leaves something to be desired as well. In short, it’s missing depth. Most of the characters feel like clichés: the old king, the valiant elder knight, and so on. The only character that actually felt fleshed out was Fulgid, the golden dragon. (By the way, Fulgid is a horrible name for a dragon.) Writing deep, meaningful characters takes experience that the author clearly lacks. But I would suggest that he come up with a sketch of each main character’s back story and motivations.

I did enjoy Tirate and Liah as the villains. Tirate in particular showed cunning, forward thinking and intelligence, which made him an effective villain. One thing I would say: I found it difficult to believe that Tirate couldn’t get a single dragon knight to back him, given how important they are both militarily and politically. It would have made the conflict more interesting. As for Liah, she provided a certain comic relief to the story.

Aside from characterisation, what annoyed me was how Ammon, the protagonist, lacked a certain amount of intelligence. He constantly got himself into bad situations and would have died several times if not for the intervention of Fulgid, the little dragon. Frankly, the dragon seemed far more intelligent than he was. It almost came to the point where Fulgid became the deus in the machina: if Ammon was stuck in an impossible situation, Fulgid would come to rescue him, as surely as night follows the day. What the author really needs to do is make Ammon think his way out of a problem.

Another thing: there are too many instances where the plot hands Ammon and his allies an advantage on a silver platter. His dragon is more special than anybody else’s. His dragon finds a huge calentar deposit. His blood line is so special that everyone recognises him as king. Life is rarely this easy! He needs to face actual challenges—it’s what makes him grow as a character.

So what’s my final verdict? Objectively, this book is badly written, filled with typos, and stuffed to the brim with clichés and deus-ex-machina. But my heart wants to keep reading. Because there is great potential in this story.

Rating: 3/5

 Note: there is no sequel to this story! The author has yet to write one after a good couple of years. Be aware.

No comments:

Post a Comment