The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham – Review [Bane of Kings]
“A jaw-dropping, epic fantasy novel. Abraham is probably one of the best writers in today’s genre. Not to be missed.” ~The Founding Fields
The Dragon’s Path revolves around four main characters, each from various backgrounds, and to help get used to who is who, whilst not including a Dramatis Personae, Abraham has replaced the usual chapter titles with names of the people who are featured in this novel, which I found to be a handy feature, as you know whom the next chapter is going to be about before you even read it.
Although with the four main characters often being in different places at once, if you find yourself wanting to find out more about one particular character, you may find yourself skipping through the pages until you can read about that character. But I must say that I didn’t have that problem. In fact, I had very little problems with The Dragon’s Path at all.
Abraham has created a world that was once run by dragons, but now humanity is back in control, and it is the season of summer, where war breaks out in the free cities. (If you’re curious as to what these free cities are, Abraham has provided a map at the beginning of the novel, which you will find yourself flicking back to every now and again to get a sense of where the action is taking place).
But now, back to the characters, which the story, in almost every way, revolves around. You won’t find a more character driven novel than this.
First of the four is Marcus Wester, whose days of glory and heroics are behind him, and as war approaches, guarding the last caravan out of the city seems like the best option to him.
Second is Dawson Kalliam, a Baron and friend of King Simeon. Like America styled themselves as the protectors of democracy in the Cold War, Kalliam styles himself as a protector of the kingdom. His aim is to see the realm survive and improve, and despite whatever others do – his main goal is to do the right thing.
The main female star in this novel is Cithrin, who under a disguise at the start of the novel, has a tremendous amount of responsibility on her shoulders, and it is her duty to smuggle the riches of a realm through a war zone.
Last but not least, is a writer of speculative essays, constantly mocked by other soldiers and a reluctant one himself, Geder Palliako.
Each play crucial roles in the story, and it would be a whole different beast without them. My favourite out of the four in particular was Marcus, although they all had their moments – but you’re going to have to read the novel to find out why.
Abraham writes brilliantly, his prose is well constructed and, much to my relief, there is no page after page of info-dumping. In the novel, what Abraham gives us deems to be enough, and I found in this case – that it was. Although I was a little confused at the start, I quickly settled into the novel and really, really enjoyed it…
After reading a few reviews before embarking on this novel, I have to agree with what they say when you should take your time, which Is why, despite starting it right after finishing The Age of Odin, I didn’t finish it until earlier today.
This looks to be a promising start to a fantasy series, and I eagerly await the next novel that Abraham has to offer for us. I would compare it with The Long Price Quartet, Abraham’s other work, but sadly I haven’t read it yet, as much as I want to after reading this novel.
A theme not normally explored in epic fantasy novels is economics. Normally the author just delves straight into the action without bogging the pace down. Not to say that the pace isn’t bogged down when Abraham delves into this, oh no. He tells the reader what the costs and difficulties involved in a coup, as well as several other such elements in The Dragon’s Path.
Pacing is done well in this novel, as is the action. The world is, as mentioned above, clearly engaging, and in conclusion, this is probably one of the better works that fantasy has to offer you. If you get a chance to read this book, by all means, take it.