Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

Looking ahead to 2014

Wow! I can hardly believe that it's nearly 2014 already. Where did 2013 go? It seems that year went by with a bang!

 

As we enter into the New Year, I thought I'd take this moment to look back over 2013 and how it was for me. Much like any years, it had it's ups and downs - and somewhat erratic weather here in the UK (snow for the first few months and then storms for the last couple of months!). But let's not dwell on the weather too much!

 

For me, my highlight of 2013 was releasing the sequel to Trapped on Draconica, Legacy of the Dragonkin - although it was an exhausting process! With delays for the artwork, artists leaving and also some IRL problems, it was a huge relief to finally be able to release it. And with all the positive stuff that people have been saying about it, it makes all the effort worth it! I didn't do as many conventions as I would have liked, but I aim to change that next year.

 

I also discovered some fantastic new authors through the reviews that I have been doing - and will be discovering a lot more in the future! Thanks for everyone for giving me a chance to read their work and hope my reviews have been helpful!

 

So anyway, looking ahead to 2014 - what do I have planned? The answer, you'll be pleased to hear, LOTS!

 

As some of you who have been reading my blog are aware, I will be releasing my next Draconica novel in 2014 - and we are already way ahead with the art work! I cannot give an exact date for it yet, but it I hope to have it out before summer of next year - if not before. So watch this space! Mostly, I will be working on the fourth book in the series. Which is turning out to be a bit of a bitch, but I'm sure I'll get there in the end!

 

I also plan to do a few more conventions next year as well. I already have plans to attend London Anime Con in Feburary and will be looking into other ones from there. Anything to get my name out there! In March I will also be a judge for a book competition at a local school - so that should be great fun!

 

As well as Draconica, I am also looking to work on a few other writing projects. I have a couple in mind that I think would be cool AND I'm thinking of ressurecting an old story that I had planned. Whether I get the time to do this or not is a different matter altogether, but we shall see what 2014 brings us.

 

Hopefully 2014 will be a good year, not just for me, but everyone. I wish all of you a Happy New Year for 2014 - hoping that it brings you all much happiness and joy. Once again, thanks to all my readers, authors, friends and family who have supported me. Much love to you all :)

 

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Happy Christmas!

Hey guys! As it's Christmas Eve, I thought I'd give you guys an early present for all the support you've shown me this year. So I managed to get fan favourites Finn Taurok and Zarracka Dragonkin to give you all a special treat!

 

 

Merry Christmas to all Draconica fans and readers. I wish you all a wonderful time of year! Stay safe and have fun.

 

 

Best always

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Reviews - Ennara and the Fallen Druid

Hey guys, I’m going to try and do something slightly different with the way I do reviews now – at least in the way I lay them out. Don’t worry, I’m still going to do them as concise and critical as I can, but I just wanted to try a different layout.

 

Anyway, my last Pandragon review of 2013 is a Young Adult Fantasy novel called Ennara and the Fallen Druid, written by Angela Myron. It’s a story that, whilst not entirely original, is definitely worth the read for all ages – as opposed to some of the more “adult” Fantasies out there. So let’s get to it.

 

 

About The Author

 

Angela is the author of the YA fantasy series Ennara and the keeper of a secret manuscript dungeon populated by science fiction and paranormal mysteries that long to see the light of day. Before fiction, she earned her living massacring prose in software manuals. She holds a degree in professional writing and lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and twins.

 

 

Cover

 

Here we see our heroes – Ennara and friends – surrounded by hideous shadow demons ready to pull them apart. But they stand strong, weapons in hand and ready to kick ass! Not much else to say. It’s a pretty good cover – and has some nice colours to it. It was a bit hard for me to see the shadow demons at first – but then they are shadow demons (duh!). Not sure how eye catching it is, but it definitely does the trick.

 

 

Synopsis

 

When a mysterious curse threatens to transform everyone into shadowy demons, a magical eleven year-old girl must travel to a sunken city ruin—fighting pirates, monsters, and an undead sorcerer along the way—to find a weapon that can save her world.

 

 

What I liked

 

The plot might not be one of the most original – and one that, if you’ve read Fantasy, will know is standard for the stories. But as the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.” I personally love these kind of stories – the idea of going on a quest to stop a great evil is always good to flame the imagination and bring out the hero in us all. And this time, that task falls to Ennard, a young girl that is seeking to learn magic and be a hero. Move aside, Potter!

 

Joining her is a master wizard, a giant sea cat, a cabin boy and an old friend. Most of them around the same age as Ennara (with the exception of the wizard), so it should come as no surprise that the kids are the ones that come to the rescue in this one! It was a pretty good team and I liked the fact that all of them did their part in the story and Ennara wasn’t the main problem solver. Nothing irritates me more than having that one team member that solves EVERYTHING and the others are there just to either look pretty or be a foil, so it was nice that they all did their part in this quest.

 

The world that Ennara is set in is nicely done and one that I could believe. It didn’t have any overly fantastic set up or a vastly complex magic system that made it too good to be true. I always think that the best way to create a fantasy world is to make it as believable as possible as opposed to fantastical – and this does a good job. The monsters and creatures that are encountered are nicely done as well. All in all, the book did a good job of setting up the world and magic system.

 

Whilst there are some fighting and minor bloody moments, the content is pretty tame for the most part – so younger readers would be able to enjoy this story. The fact that the main characters are children themselves will also appeal to them – making this a fun read for all ages.

 

 

What I didn’t like

 

My biggest problem with this novel was the length – in that it was too short. I do believe that a book is as long as it needs to be, but I do feel that this novel could have been a little bit longer (but not too long). I easily could have read through another 100 pages or so.

 

The problem that I had with the length mainly is that I didn’t feel the story had enough space to really expand or breathe properly. The main bad guy is the titular “Fallen Druid” – but I didn’t really feel like the threat of him was really built up enough. I am of the opinion that if you introduce a high powered monster or dark lord, you need to build him/her/it up enough so that the reader knows he is a real threat that must be defeated.

 

For example, take Sauron from Lord of the Rings. He never really appears in the whole trilogy – but his threat is ever present. He has a vast army at his disposal and his presence is always felt by the heroes as they traverse towards Mount Doom. Because of what we’ve been told of his backstory, and the fact that his influence pretty much covers Middle-Earth, we know that he is a really powerful enemy and one that must be stopped if the world of Men is to survive. The same goes for the Others (White Walkers) in A Song of Ice and Fire. They’ve yet to make a move against Westeros, but their threat is ever present and very real, even if the rest of the world doesn’t know it yet. So even though they haven't made a move yet, the reader knows that they are building up to something - and no doubt the whole world will suffer when it happens.

 

Here though, it felt more like “This is the bad guy – go get him!” It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the piece, but I do feel that more needed to be made of the villain. Also, the book ended a little too abruptly for my liking – though it does set it up nicely for the next book.

 

 

PROS (Magical):

  • Good characters and each of them has a part to play in the story.
  • Nicely thought out world and magic system.
  • Content would be suitable for younger readers.

 

CONS (Demonical):

  • Maybe too short, which means the story doesn’t really have a chance to breathe.
  • Main villain and overall threat never really built up as much as it could be.

 

 

Summary

 

If you’re looking for a good Fantasy story to introduce to your children, or if you just want a nice, safe Fantasy tale to read, then this one I recommend. If you prefer your Fantasy a bit more “adult”, then you probably won’t enjoy this as much. But if you just want to read a good Fantasy, regardless of content, check this one out. It’s a fun read for all the family.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Draconica: The Complete Series now available!

Great news guys! I have recently released my first Ebook boxed set on Amazon!

 

Draconica: The Complete Series is, as the title suggests, a collection of all my Draconica novels to date - so if you're yet to be introduced to this series, and not sure where to start, this is perfect for you as you get ALL the Draconica novels in one volume! And all for around $3,00!

 

The boxed set contains the novels Trapped on Draconica, Legacy of the Dragonkin and the prequel novels All Hail Emperor Gothon and Taurok's War. All presented in chronological order, so that you can read the series from the very beginning and witness the events as they unfold! Not only that, but you get a extra SPECIAL short story bonus exclusive to this boxed set only! So that's FIVE stories that you're getting for a super low price.

 

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Amazon link and grab yourself a copy now!

 

 
But - I know that Christmas is right around the corner - and I'm feeling super generous! So therefore, all of next week, I will be giving away one copy of Draconica: The Complete Series EVERY DAY to one lucky Facebook follower. Yup, from Monday to Sunday next week (9th-15th December) you have the chance to get yourself a free copy of this book! Interested? Well it couldn't be simpler.
 
All you have to do is like the Facebook pages below, if you haven't already. Every day I will be posting a picture from my forthcoming Final Ragnarok novel - and all you have to do is caption it (post a comment below) and I will choose the best one each day. It can be any comment you like - the humourous the better (but let's not make it TOO rude guys!) Also, to make it fair, only ONE copy per person that enters - I will choose the winner every day and contact them to let them know that they won.
 
 
 
All the best guys! Thanks for reading and have a great week!
 
 

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PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Reviews - Twinned Universes

To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer the Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep no more; and by a sleep, to say we end The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks that Flesh is heir to?

 

You may be wondering why I’m quoting from Hamlet by William Shakespeare here – but that’s kinda the main theme in this book I’m about review. Try to imagine Shakespeare, mix in a little bit of Doctor Who style time travel and add in elements of John Lennon’s assassination and what do you get? Twinned Universes by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan.

 

 

About The Author

 

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. She is a founding member of BroadUniverse and a long-time member of the Online Writing Workshop for Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her current day job is in the laboratory of an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! And taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.

 

Sandra can be found online at her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

 

 

 

Cover

 

Here we see our hero Paul and the two Universes (hence the title of course). I kinda like this – it’s almost symbolic of the fact that Paul is not just carrying the weight of the world – but TWO worlds! Or maybe I’m just reading too much into that. Either way it’s a decent enough cover and captures the feel of the book.

 

Overview

 

Paul is an actor on 21st Century Earth and his biggest ambition is to play Hamlet in the play – well, Hamlet. But the death of his mother sparks off a chain of events that leads Paul to discover that a) his death may have been orchestrated by his great uncle Jack (or Jackass as he’s referred to in this book), b) he is not a relative of Sean (a TwenCen musician) but rather his clone, and c) his uncle is a giant p****! The only way he’s gonna get any answers is by heading towards 20th Century Earth and trying to save Sean – and find out more details about his mother’s death in the process. Oh, and did I mention that there is a wormhole between the two Universes that could cause a serious kerfuffle if this all goes wrong?

 

So that’s the set up of the book, and I must admit that it’s a pretty decent one. I’ve always liked the idea of time travel and the cool science that goes with it (even though I am not a science geek). The problem is that sometimes these sorts of stories tend to be bogged down in all sorts of technobabble and timey-wimey sort of plot points, making the story needlessly convoluted and hard to follow. Fortunately that doesn’t happen here, and the plot is for the most part easy to keep up with. There were a couple of times where I got lost and had to re-read it again, but otherwise it was great.

 

Secondly, I do like the John Lennon inspiration behind the character of Sean. Indeed, it would be an interesting thing to wonder what could have happened if someone stopped the shooting of John Lennon and this is an interesting concept. Not only that, but the idea of Paul being a clone does raise a lot of moral and ethical questions – are clones human? Should they have the same rights as people? That was an interesting mortal dilemma that we have seen plenty of times before, but it works just as well here as it does anywhere else.

 

The one thing I did find a little bit strange was when Paul seemed to gather some strange powers – possibly as a result of the time travel. This I’m not sure what really added or detracted from the story and it probably would have worked just as well without it – or it could just be that I missed something the first time round. Also, I felt that there was a little too much faffing around at the beginning before Paul went to TwenCen (that’s a cool word by the way) Earth and that it could have got to that part a little quicker for my tastes.

 

The book is supposed to be aimed at YA audiences, but there are a few cases of F-bombs being dropped here and there. They are totally justified within the story, but this does mean the book will not be suitable to younger readers.

 

Finally, although this is a sequel, it is in itself a self contained story – so you do not have to have read the first book to understand what is going on, which is a bonus.

 

 

PROS (To be or not to be):

  • Interesting concepts.
  • Not overly complicated like some sci-fi, making it easy to read.
  • Great science fiction mixed in with some real life themes.
  • A self contained story, so you do not need to read the first book to understand it.

 

CONS (Get thee to a nunnery):

  • Plot a little slow in places.
  • Strong language means it is unsuitable for younger readers.

 

 

Summary

 

On the whole, Twinned Universes a pretty good story. It’s easy to follow, doesn’t bog you down in technobabble and it introduces you to some Shakespeare as well – which can only be a good thing. If you don’t mind the odd f-bomb here and there, and enjoy a nice, easy to read novel, then please give this one a read.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

 

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PANDRAGON

 

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