The first book in a thrilling new epic fantasy saga, written exclusively for Audible by Jack Campbell, the New York Times best-selling author of "The Lost Fleet" series!
For centuries, the two Great Guilds have controlled the world of Dematr. The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a Storm approaches, one that could sweep away everything that humans have built. Only one person has any chance of uniting enough of the world behind her to stop the Storm, but the Great Guilds and many others will stop at nothing to defeat her.
Mari is a brilliant young Mechanic, just out of the Guild Halls where she has spent most of her life learning how to run the steam locomotives and other devices of her Guild. Alain is the youngest Mage ever to learn how to change the world he sees with the power of his mind. Each has been taught that the works of the other's Guild are frauds. But when their caravan is destroyed, they begin to discover how much has been kept from them.
As they survive danger after danger, Alain discovers what Mari doesn't know - that she was long ago prophesized as the only one who can save their world. When Mari reawakens emotions he had been taught to deny, Alain realizes he must sacrifice everything to save her. Mari, fighting her own feelings, discovers that only together can she and Alain hope to stay alive and overcome the Dragons of Dorcastle.
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This book was so unique in style & concept of kept me totally enthralled the whole way through even though not a lot happened really (it was setting up the world & the concept of the series more than it was doing anything else).
Intriguing, mysterious and unexpectedly romantic.
I find many of Alain's narrated segments of the book to be the most engaging, as his unusual perspective on the world around him make for a very interesting delve into his psyche.
I have a soft spot for about midway through the story when Alain is on his way to Dorcastle via train. His first time ever being aboard a train, he's suitably baffled, and spends a good while trying to figure out what kind of beast could be pulling it.
(Slight spoiler alert)
Plus the all-too adorable scene near the very end where Mari and Alain finally hug. It was really heartwarming.
Andrews is a thoroughly brilliant narrator and throughout the book does a consistent good job, very easy on the ears. I particularly like the way he portrays Alain's voice, as it is suitably emotionless but isn't irritating; the ever-so-slight lisp that comes out in Alain's dialogue feels like a nice character touch. I'm not sure whether or not it was deliberate, but if so, job well done.
Mari is also very well done, though I did find her voice slightly jarring at first. Andrews effectively made her voice sound feminine by using tones I believe are predominant in american ladies, and though this does differentiate her voice nicely, I found most other characters to sound ambiguous and Mari to sound a little -too- american; at times, the tones initially sounded slightly out of place in the setting. But the distraction was really only momentary; she's very well voice acted overall.
I got a good few chuckles aloud out of it and a lot of smiles, plus I'm glad no one was around to see my absolutely gutted expression when I realised it had finished!
The story was not what I had expected upon picking this audio book; as some other people have said, "The Dragons of Dorcastle" isn't really about dragons. But what I found was a very pleasantly surprising and heartwarming story, so I don't regret grabbing this in the slightest, and when book 2 comes out I'll buy it in a heartbeat.
Very big audible fan.
Why didn't I find this series before now. This is a very interesting listen and I have enjoyed every minute of it. So much so I have already purchased books 2 and 3. I have Hurd this narator before and this was how I managed to find this series. I'm pleased to see that the final 2 books in the series are set to be out by the beginning of August so I don't have to wait long to find out what's happens at the end of the series. If you would like a good read then this is something you should try.
No not this book as a standalone, but the series a whole. This book is mediocre, and it's sequel is the same. However, books 3 onward are better, with 4 being the best of the series and 5 and 6 being good too.
Yes but warily. He has pros and cons. The overall story is good and satisfying but with few surprises and constant repetition, as if assuming the reader wasn't paying attention the first ten times we were told the mages guild and mechanics guild hate each other. He probably just needs a better editor.
MacLeod Andrews is great. He also narrated The Reckoners series where I knew him from.
Yes, they would cut out all the fluff.
If you find this book to be slow and full of poor dialog like I did then be prepared for more of it in book 2, but things improve considerably after that as the dialog is replaced much more by action and plot. Other characters other than the main two take a bigger role.
"Huh....Well there are dragons. Kinda."
Full honesty here. I picked up "The Dragons of Dorcastle" because it had the word "dragon" in the name.
Stupid? Oh yeah. And If you pick this book expecting an epic tale about dragons, that's...not going to happen. Sorry.
But you will get a rather absorbing tale of two disparate people coming together in a way that has a surprising amount of payoff. The description of this book doesn't quite do the story justice, although it does give you a much better idea what the book is about than the title does. Kinda wish I had read it before I piked it up, but I'm not a big fan of romance in general. Even in stories where they're not the focus, I find them to be almost physically painful to read, and even worse to listen to because you can't "skim" sound. But the author managed to pull it off in such a way that it was believable, sweet, and really fascinating to watch unfold.
The story has a very well developed world, characters, and lore, and a lot of things are being set up here for the rest of the series,
If I had known that I was going to like this book as much as I did I wouldn't have picked it up. I know how that sounds, but I like to "binge read" series I enjoy. So when I devoured this audiobook in just over a day, (and it only took me that long because I've got finals and that means "shit I need my full attention to do") I wanted to throw my phone at the wall, because it will be at least another year before I can read the next part.
So now I'm off to start a different series by Jack Campbell so I can fill the void. Until at least 2015.
"This is YA. Adjust expectations accordingly."
I'm a fan of Jack Campbell, having listened to or read all of his "Lost Fleet" series, so I was excited to learn that he was trying his hand at fantasy. Some great authors have been writing across genres or even multi-genre, combining sci fi and fantasy. This one is more like a combination of fantasy and steampunk.
I'm not sure if it's just me missing something, but I didn't realize this was a YA novel going in. However, within a few minutes of listening I could tell that it was. There's nothing wrong with that, just realize that there's a lot of time spent on teens sorting through their feelings and wondering about relationships and talking about relationships. I haven't been out of my teens for so long that I forgot what it was like - and I don't remember worrying about these things as much as these kids seem to. But that could be just from Campbell's first time writing not only YA but a fantasy as well.
As for the book, I would say that it's a satisfying and somewhat refreshing tale. However it is highly character focused, which Campbell mostly does anyway (the "Lost Fleet" series really just has one viewpoint character, where this one has two). However unlike a lot of fantasy we don't get tons of worldbuilding, and we really don't know anything about this world's history or why there are mages or mechanics and WHY they don't like each other. That is one of the novel's biggest weaknesses.
So in closing this is definitely not epic fantasy, because I believe one of the definitions of that is a larger scope, as well as a larger amount of viewpoint characters. Still, it's an enjoyable tale in and of itself, with some interestingly original concepts as far as the mages and mechanics go. However I'm not sure if I would continue this series as it just doesn't have the depth and complexity that I've grown used to.
"A fabulous mix of modern and magic"
A Mage and a Magician, their kind have always been at odds
The Dragons of Dorcastle centers around 2 characters, Mari (the mechanic) and Alain (the mage) who are thrown together when the caravan they are traveling in is attacked with them the only survivors. As Alain was hired to protect the caravan he deems it his responsibility to see Mari safely to her destination even though their guilds are enemies. Both are the youngest in their respective guilds to reach the titles of Mechanic and Mage and also constantly struggle against the bias their own people have against them because of it.
What happens when two young people of opposing factions come together...
Sparks and Chemistry! At least that's the case here with Mari and Alain. They've been told their whole lives to hate people of the opposing guild and yet when circumstances force them to work together they develop a quickly growing respect for each other that then grows into feelings of companionship and perhaps more. It was a delight to read this relationship between the two progress. Even more so because all mages are taught to ignore their emotions and it was such fun watching how Alain's interactions with Mari begin to change him and make him remember what it is to feel. Mari on the other hand is a firework, full of bull headed stubbornness at times and its nice to see how she butts up against Alain who is always so cool and level headed.
A curious world with a mix of modern and magic
I really liked the subtle worldbuilding of their land, Dematr. I felt the information about it was delivered smoothly though at times I'd get a big chunk of it I was always fascinated. I'm guessing from the sound of things that it was/is a planet that was colonized by our world sometime hundreds of years ago because there is a reference a number of times from the two of them saying that the histories believe their people to have come from the stars. With the first cities not having any records of where the people lived before then. The technology is not modern as it would be in our time but instead how it would be in say the 1800's, with guns, trains, far-talkers (telephones) and other such devices in their earliest forms. But then you also have the magic that the mages posess. Such things as fireballs, creating magic construct creatures, invisibility and walking through walls. Mix these two things together and it was exactly my kind of book!
Don't be sad, but dragons are not what this book is about
So you saw that magic word Dragons in the title and you thought - oooo dragons, I love dragons! *snatch, grab, gimme* Yes, my dears so did I. But contrary to what the title will lead you to believe there is very little to do with dragons in this book. While they are mentioned and they are part of a mystery that takes place in the second half of the book - they are by no means what the book is about. Yes, they do make an appearance but it isn't until just about the end of the book. I think based on this books title and the title of the second book (The Hidden Masters of Marandur) that each book looks like it might be titled after some mystery that is featured in the book since the dragons of Dorcastle were a mystery that was plaguing the city of Dorcastle. But don't be disappointed it's still a great read even though dragons aren't a central theme behind the book.
Itchy twitchy to get my hands on more!
I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Dragons of Dorcastle. I didn't realize it would feature characters in a sort of coming of age tale (17/18) even with a very tiny splash of romance. I can already tell that Mari and Alain are going to be characters I'm going to have a good time following. It's interesting to note that this was written by the author specifically to be released in audiobook format only by Audible. I don't know if that will change in the future but I do have to say the narration was excellent. Alain has a suitably emotionless voice that doesn't sound like a drone and Mari's was blessedly full of the spit and fire her character depicts. I'm so eager to see where their story goes next!
"Yes this is YA, so what"
I do not normally listen to fantasy, not because I don’t like it, but because there is simply too much to listen to elsewhere. My main reason for purchasing this was to get in at the beginning of a new series by Jack Campbell. I really enjoyed the Lost Fleet, but I feel like it will take forever for me to catch up.
Campbell has created an interesting world, Dematr. That was settled by humans centuries ago. Now there are the two factions that control most everything. The Mechanics, just like you would think, are the ones in charge of creating, building and maintaining technology. The Mages, while I am unsure of what the control in the society, rule the world of magic and illusion. One thing is for sure Mages and Mechanics do not, under any circumstances, associate with one another in any way.
Think of The Dragons of Dorcastle as an extended revamp of the classic Romeo and Juliet. Here we have a young, youngest ever, male mage who has been given the duty of escorting a caravan, with known cargo, through the wastelands, where bandits run rampant. Of course the caravan is attacked and the secret cargo is revealed to be a young, brilliant, female mechanic. They try to keep from becoming friends, but after the death deifying the experience cannot seem to loose each other.
Quickly they learn that there is more going on they either of them thought and realize, along with there feelings for each other, that they are the keys to fixing what they see wrong in their world.
This is a young adult story, nothing wrong with that. Because of that there is the YA obligatory love story underneath everything. Campbell has created his characters in such a meticulous way, I could not help but develop my own feelings for both of them. I have already gotten the second book and will be listening with anticipation.
Once again Macleod Andrews show his diversification as an audiobook narrator. He his able to go from soft-spoken young adults to creepy overbearing adults with ease. I have been listening to him a lot as of late and do not regret a single moment. He is one to look for if you want to be guaranteed the story is told in one of the best possible ways.
Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.
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"Good book with some issues, still enjoyable read."
I have no idea, I didn't read the print version.
The moments where Mahri would show off being Genre Savvy for Young Adult romance stories, and debate in her head about the common tropes in romance novels. It was very amusing to hear that, and felt like the author was using her internal monologue to say to the reader "Yeah, I know this is sort of cliche, but it's a Young Adult Romance story, so I kind of have to do it. But I agree it's kind of silly."
I've enjoyed other stuff by MacLeod Andrews. He's a really fun narrator, and he is really good at conveying the emotion behind the words. If you like his work, you should check out Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. That is the first place I heard Mr. Andrews, and it's a REALLY fun read. It's a Young Adult book series too, but still a very entertaining read.
It made me laugh at several points, there was some definite humor in it, and Mr. Andrews brought it across to the reader very well.
The book is good, but it has a few problems. Nothing really major, but there was definitely room for improvement. The level of hostile obstructiveness from the Guild Elders on both sides got a little overdone. I mean I get it that it's a Young Adult story, so you have to explain away why the adults aren't actually doing anything so the kids can go save the day, but man, they are so pigheaded and stubborn it's amazing anything gets done.
It felt VERY much like a magical Romeo and Juliet, with the guilds being the Montegue's and the Capulet's. In fact I frequently thought of it in my head as Mageo and Mechliet.
The author used a few literary tropes that I find tiresome, like the "I'm trying to tell you about something important, but you think I'm talking about something else, and don't let me actually say what I need to say, because you keep interrupting me with "Yeah yeah, I know what you are thinking" kind of stuff" Or the "I have to tell you something important, but before I can finish my sentence something...." *someone interrupts them from offscreen* I find those types of tropes annoying. I can understand them in minor discussions between people, as they happen to me all the time. But when the subject is as important as the ones in question in the book, I'm sorry but you don't let yourself get interrupted. You tell them anyway!
I also wasn't too fond of the mindset of the mage guild. It's an entire collection of magical Solipsists, and that mindset is so mind numbingly stupid to me personally, that it was hard listening to them debate things. Also they were hypocrites. They teach that everything is an illusion, nothing is real, and then they turn around and say certain things are facts, and must be obeyed. It takes like 3 seconds to tear down any form of argument they might have, by pointing out that none of it matters.
Overall though, it was an enjoyable story, I found it engaging and it held my attention while I did my daily activities. I'm waiting for the next book to come out, as I plan on picking it up.
"Interesting if somewhat stereotypical"
While overall I enjoyed this book I couldn't help but shake the "future young adult film franchise" feeling that runs throughout. Many of the tropes associated with that type of novel are present and permeate the book. From the late teenage protagonists who know better than their elders and fight against the status-quo, to the fatefilled meeting of star crossed lovers, it's all there and what you would expect from a story written to appeal to the audience that has made series like The Hunger Games so popular. While it does hurt the story for me overall the world is interesting and I plan to stick with it in the future to see where it goes.
Jack Campbell is probably one of my 5 favorite Science Fiction authors writing today and I absolutely adore his Lost Fleet universe. For his fans I will warn you that this is very little like his previous works. If you like Stark's War and Lost Fleet but hate D&D and similar Jack Campbell may not be enough to keep you with this book or series.
For anyone looking to fill the void left by Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or similar in their life than this might be the one you are looking for. The steampunk world is interesting and the larger conflict has some real potential to make for a great book series
"Good YA Fiction. Average Epic Fantasy."
I should start by admitting that I'm sick of YA Fiction. I was jonesing for some great epic fantasy a la Abercrombie, Sanderson, etc. when I saw that this was rated well. Yes, I did see that it was YA, but I gave it a chance in the hopes that it would stand above its brethren. It didn't, but it wasn't bad, either. Just not memorable or noteworthy. I'd say, it was solidly mediocre.
The narrator because he really understood Alain and brought across his emotionless state really well.
It's a tie between Mari and Alain. Both were such special and unique characters.
No but Ill definitely check out more from him. He did an amazing job on this.
The world is controlled by 2 great guilds, The Mechanics and The Mages. Neither of these mix and they are forbidden to associate together. But when a Mage and a Mechanic are thrown together, they need to get over their differences and work together to stay alive.
Well this book took me completely by surprise. First things first, I went into it thinking, great, Dragons but by 50% there was no sign of them and I was thinking, where are the dragons!!! The name is a bit misleading but as we approach the end you can see why it's called The Dragons Of Dorcastle, so I will say, don't go into this book expecting a book full of Dragons!! Saying that, in no way does the fact that there are very few Dragons (one in fact) detract from the story. This is such a complex and exciting book and one I highly highly recommend you listen to.
Let's get onto the absolutely amazing characters that are Mari and Alain. I think they are among my favourite characters ever!!
Mari is the youngest ever Master Mechanic but is considered to be nothing to her elders. They think that she should never have been made a Master because of her age and they constantly remind her of the fact. They treat her with derision and don't listen to her but she keeps her head high.
Then we have Alain who is a Mage. Mages are feared and not at all liked by even the common people. Mages are thought that emotion is your enemy so every Mage is basically emotionless. They are almost robotic in their thoughts and ways. They are thought that nothing and no one matters and that the world is all an illusion so how can anything matter if it's all fake.
Anyway, Alain is hired to protect a caravan which gets attacked by men that have Mechanic weapons, guns. Alain isn't able to protect the caravan but manages to rescue a girl who was in the last caravan, Mari. Alain thinks that it is his job now to get Mari to where she was going. Mari is hesitant to even talk to him because he is a Mage and everyone knows what Mages do. She has no choice though because the men are trying to find her.
One thing I adored about the book is Mari and Alains relationship. They go from hating each other to having a grudging respect for each other. I enjoyed seeing Alain respond to things Mari said. Mari can't understand how Mages can be so emotionless but to Alain, it's his life. He struggles to understand what is happening to him but he realises that Mari is awakening things in him that were locked away for a long time. It was such a pleasure to read their interactions and I often found myself laughing at Alains reactions.
Another thing I loved was the world. Mages and Mechanics rule the world of Dematr but the people are reaching their limit. Mages believe that the common folk dont exist and therefore are not worthy and the Mechanics believe themselves better than everyone else. Mechanics build and maintain things and Mages protect with their magic, yet the people are tired of being caged. We have a mix of both magic and mechanical things thrown together to create on heck of a book.
Anyway, The Dragons Of Dorcastle was a fantastic read. From the very first page I was drawn into a world filled with an almost steampunk feel but that's heavy in magic too. It was an action packed and exciting book and one I can't recommend highly enough. I loved everything about the book, from the magical world to the fantastic characters, and I can not wait for the next book to see what happens. It's an absolutely fantabulous story and one that I know I will read time and time again.
So far it's only available in Audio format but I have to say that listening to it was amazing. MacLeod Andrews did a fantastic job. When he was reading Alain, he was emotionless and you could feel how confused Alain was most of the time when it came to Maris feelings. He also did Mari perfectly, he showed her fiery and inquisitive spirit. Even if this was available in print, I'd still recommend the Audio! Amazing book!!!
"Wait, did I miss half the book somewhere..?"
The narration and the unique way jack Campbell turned this story into a thinly veiled examination of the dangers of disregarding new innovative ideas for old outdated methods, and how the consequences of disregarding younger, though skilled, people for the ingrained methodology and "wisdom" of social segregation.
How I could actually pull ideas from the novel and find the relevance of those ideas to modern day issues.
I felt that the story was not fleshed out to my personal satisfaction. I feel like, despite the fantastic elements I mentioned above, I felt that I had missed a good amount of the book somewhere. I wasn't fully satisfied with the abrupt conclusion. I would however listen to the sequel to see if I am as enthralled with the premise as I was with this first one.
"A fan of the author's, but..."
...But, I just couldn't get into Mr. Campbell's foray into the fantasy/steampunk genre. I gave it a good run. But now a little more than 50% of the way through it all, and with the two main characters still having internal monologues with themselves about "why...(this)?", "why...(that)?", "why...(this other thing)?", "(what's the meaning of life as I know it)...", I find myself now feeling like the story is still "getting ready to get ready to get going."
I'm still a fan of the author's. But I think I'll stick to the author's Lost Fleet / Lost Stars series, instead.
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