When the Royal Wizard of Westland poisons the king so that his puppet prince can take the throne and start a continental war, a young squire is forced to run for his life carrying the powerful sword that his dying monarch burdened him with from the death bedTwo brothers find a magic ring and start on paths to becoming the most powerful sort of enemies, while an evil young sorceress unwillingly falls in love with one of them when he agrees to help her steal a dragon's egg for her father Her father just happens to be the Royal Wizard, and despite his daughter's feelings, he would love nothing than to sacrifice the boy! All of these characters, along with the Wolf King of Wildermont, the Lion Lord of Westland, and a magical hawk named Talon, are on a collision course toward Willa the Witch Queen's palace in the distant kingdom of Highwander There the very bedrock is formed of the powerful magical substance called Wardstone Who are the heroes? And will they get there before the Royal Wizard and his evil hordes do? Whatever happens, the journey will be spectacular, and the confrontation will be cataclysmic I really wanted to like this book I wouldn’t have even glanced at it (yet another generic fantasy novel) if it wasn’t a selfpublished work, which says something about the author — that and the fact that he started writing in prison to escape insanity I mean, you gotta give this kind of determination a chance.There’s a lot of good things inside «The Sword and the Dragon»: the main characters are very likable andtridimensional than usual — their interaction *feels* real, something a lot of good authors struggle to do sometimes Moreover, some scenes and a lot of the action have a gritty quality I’ve never seen before — not necessarily realistic, but vivid.The trouble with this book is that it’s very kitsch Some of the characters take way too much space in the narrative only to be killed off or dismissed a couple pages later Too many characters got blurred in my mind sometimes, and some of the good guys — and almost all of the bad guys — are incredibly cliché I made as far as halfway through the book before I decided to put it away.I think Mathias is a raw diamond This was his very first novel, and he’s written manysince One day I’ll check back on his work, select arecent book, and see if he grew to the fullest extent of his obvious potential. FBC Review published for the original edition of this novel that launched Mr MathiasINTRODUCTION: Several weeks ago I wanted to find some new independent books to read I did some posts about the ones reviewed by me and Mihir in 2010 and I spent an hour or two checking Smashwords sff books: blurb, first page and then random pages from the excerpt if interested.Out of maybe 50 novels I looked at, The Sword and the Dragon was the only one that intrigued me since despite the traditional sounding blurb, the first page attracted me and then I liked what I read in the random pages I tried I downloaded the extensive excerpt linked above at about 100k words it is as long as a regular novel and I read it and then I bought the full book.The Sword and the Dragon is the debut of the author and the first novel in The Wardstone trilogy of which the second book is early next year, but it tells a pretty complete story in itself ending the main threads introduced here while planting the hooks for the next volumes.FORMAT/CLASSIFICATION: The Sword and the Dragon is available only electronically for now and it stands at about 235k words, so the equivalent of ~700 print pages There are 59 numbered chapters and an Epilogue, while the main POV's are the two Skyler brothers Hyden and Gerard, the squire Mikahl and to a lesser extent the wizard Pael and his daughter Shaella Several other secondary characters get interludelike segments that present the happenings in various places outside of the main characters' locations at the time A map of the novel's mainland kingdoms is available HERE, though there are hints of distant places and people.The Sword and the Dragon is true epic fantasy with all the tropes associated dragons, elves, wizards, giants, dwarves, fairies, trolls, lizard people, zombies, quests, destined heroes, dastardly villains, powerful demons that are ready to escape their containment and bring evil to the world, magical animals, people that can talk with animals, kings, lords, warriors, you name it, it is probably there that manages to be absolutely fresh and zany with some great twists I want to emphasize again that while there will be a sequel soon, The Sword and the Dragon ends its main arc so it is a standalone part of a greater tapestry.OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Gerard Skyler used his free arm to wipe the sweat from his brow before it had a chance to drip into his eyes Scaling the towering, nesting cliff for the second time was far harder than he had expected it to be No one had attempted the climb two days in a row before His body was still sore and raw from yesterday’s climb, but he could not afford to stop and rest He wasthan three hundred feet above a rocky canyon floor A fall would undoubtedly be fatal The last thing he needed, at the moment, was burning eyes and blurred vision.So the novel starts and I liked the above paragraph so I kept reading and got hooked on the story In essence The Sword and the Dragon is set to be the replay in the present of the novel of events of long ago, when escaped demons brought darkness to the world until a king with a magic sword made by dwarves, giants and elves working together races that tend to dislike each other and humanity to boot and a sorcerer that could talk with animals, united all the living things to defeat evil and imprison the nasty demons with a powerful dragon guarding the Seal.But the dragon was smart enough not to want to be trapped for ever in guarding the portal to the underworld, so she put in an escape clause that will trigger when humans start doing some bad things; enter evil wizard Pael who is set to use dark magic, nasty tricks and the wiles of his daughter Shaella to put in motion events that will lead to the breaking of the sealWell, so it goes but what if Shaella actually falls in love with the sacrifice boy that Pael needs at a crucial moment, or what if the story as retold is not quite complete missing some ingredients, or what if a key magic artifact goes to the wrong brother and the magic sword loses its magic and goes to the wrong heir? Read the novel and you will find out some answersHoping that the above will give you an inkling why I found The Sword and the Dragon so much fun, I want to talk a bit about the actual execution of the storyline above The first thing I noticed about The Sword and the Dragon is that it's a true work of love from the author The world of the novel is described in quite a lot of detail, while the characters have a lot of pages that allow us to get to know them However the book mixes well descriptions with action, so I never felt the narrative flow stalling.The Sword and the Dragon starts with essentially two threads, one following the life of two of the secretive Skyler clan youngsters: brothers Gerard and Hyden and one following the squire Mikahl trying to fulfill the last wishes of his protector plus some behind the scenes action from Pael that sets the scene so to speak, but at some point it manages to skilfully switch the threads into thefamiliar ones quest to stop the bad guys though not without introducing some twists in the narrative The Sword and the Dragon manages to keep the balance between the threads and when as expected things start converging, the tension ratchets up and the book becomes impossible to put down till the end.I was pleasantly surprised to see a high level of editing for a quite long independent novel there are some little mistakes here and there and occasionally character names are misspelled a little but no typo stands out While a traditional fantasy in many respects, The Sword and the Dragon does not shy from explicit language when appropriate and characters, even ones readers may get to like may die or be transformed in unexpected ways.Overall The Sword and the Dragon (A) is an impressive debut a traditional fantasy that manages to be fresh and a novel that while it is the start of a series, it succeeds in offering a complete reading experience I suggest to try the extended sample linked above and if you love it as I did, get and read it! suggested this based on a Dalglish book I downloaded Gave it a try, got a few chapters in, and got bored Just really kind of meh Nothing grabbed my attention, nothing really stood out Despite the stellar reviews, I'd file this one with Eragon Same treatment of standard fantasy tropes Don't know if I'd call it bad, but it definitely bored me to the point of not wanting to read farther, so take that as you will.The opening scene is lackluster, at best, and just kind of jumps around, constantly keeping us at the periphery even though we are inside the characters' heads Farm boys (or tribesmen, actually, but eh, same difference) are climbing cliffs to harvest eggs that they sell The eggs provide such a significant portion of their income (clearly they rely on consistent egg harvests) that I begin to wonder why none of the tribe at all have thought to, I don't know, build some scaffolding, or permanent handholds, or something to maybe make the whole enterprise less dangerous Maybe some guardrails The reader is left wondering if the danger is perhaps due to the climb posing some barbaric rite of passage, but unfortunately the reason seems to simply be because artificially contrived tension, that's why! so we're never enlightened, and are forced to assume that this society is comprised of nothing but idiot manchildren A ring is found, an egg hatches, and the most boring prophecy ever is rattled off like it ain't no thang Also elves are mentioned It reminded me so much of Eragon, in fact, that I felt that if I was going to read a trite knockoff of Eragon, I might as well just read Eragon.Tl;dr: just read Eragon Paolini's a lot of things, but he's not boring. I found this book to be highly entertaining and engaging MR Mathias’s The Sword and the Dragon, the first in the Wardstone trilogy delivers action, adventure, and an exciting world of dragons, elves, wizards, mystical creatures, kings, battles, ancient pacts, and quests… the story unfolds in a familiar plot of villains and heroes, yet is so full of twists and turns that it kept my attention and pulled me into the characters and the story The action starts immediately and doesn’t let up I really liked that Mathias didn’t try to describe the fantasy world first and then build the story He just drew me in with the action and I was able to see the world through the characters’ eyes Mathias makes this world believable Mathias creates exciting battles and yet the characters are able to find moments of shared humor and compassion for each other throughout the book There is no shortage of new experiences for the multiple characters The story includes characters that you love and characters that you love to hate Qualities of bravery, loyalty, friendship, and love abound Yet the main characters also experience the real emotions of fear and selfdoubt as they are challenged beyond anything they ever imagined.One of my favorite aspects about this book is how the two brothers grow and change throughout the story The evil wizard is a formidable opponent for the heroes of the story The conflict kept me reading and not wanting to put the book down When I read fiction, I want to relate to the characters and I felt an immediate connection to Hyden, Gerard, and Mik as well as other characters Overall, this book is a terrific read.