THE DRAGONCROWN WAR CYCLE by Michael A. Stackpole
I enjoyed The Dark Glory War, the prequel to The Dragoncrown War Cycle trilogy, a fair amount. That being said, the story took a steady downhill slide from there.
It is pure fanboy fantasy, and at its very worst. These heroes have all the personality of mud. The men are all “humble” and act completely shocked to find themselves in the roles of heroes. And the women are downright offensive. These strong, proud, independent women, who turn into docile, eager-to-please slaves when their men look at them. They fall in love with the male protagonists, even though they hardly know them, and the males have few qualities worth falling in love with as it is.
The “heroes” of the books are always going on in the vein of “We’re heroes, because…” as though they’re trying to reassure the reader that they really are heroic. Unfortunately, their actions are only heroic through use of something known as Deus Ex Machina. Absolutely nothing they attempt ever fails. With the exception of Fortress Draconis and one small scene in When Dragons Rage, no one ever dies because the heroes made bad choices.
In fact, no one ever dies. At least, no one important, and the important ones never stay dead. Oh, a building collapsed on your head? Well, you’re still alive! Severely poisoned? Well, not only do you come back to life, but we’ve conveniently burned off those extra three hundred pounds that make you less attractive to the women!
The “love scenes” make you wonder if Michael Stackpole has even seen a woman. Even romance novelists no longer use the old “their tongues entwined” crap. It was one of these disgustingly gratuitous scenes that made me shut the third book without even finishing it. The whole trilogy reads as the ultimate fantasy of a guy who could never get a girlfriend. And now he’s suddenly the hero, with a hot blonde warrior woman who turns into a vapid nothing when he’s around.
Go read Lynn Flewelling, Carol Berg, or Mercedes Lackey. THEIR characters won’t spend the whole book insisting that they’re heroes.
The Dragoncrown War Cycle — (2001-2003) Publisher: In the sacred season of the Moon Month, four young men don the masks that herald their coming-of-age celebration, a time of testing, ritual, festival, and romance. But for Tarrant Hawkins and his friends Leigh, Rounce, and Nay, their first test becomes a desperate struggle for survival. For they will encounter the vanguard of an invasion force poised to overrun their homeland of Oriosa, and all four will find their lives changed forever when they encounter a legendary weapon that brings its wielder invincibility. Yet the magic sword may prove more curse than blessing, signaling the arrival of a cataclysmic battle with ancient foes. And in the face of dire sorceries and terrible battles, these youths will come to manhood… or to death.
Letting your pathetic neo feminism get in the way of what are amazing pieces of fantasy. You’re a sad individual