by Ian Conner
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Fantasy genre lovers will appreciate having many of their favorite creatures not only in the same story but cooperating toward the same goals. Strong female characters that make a true difference and without whom there would be no story. Mermaids, Pixies, Dragons, Wizards, Elves, and assorted other fantastical characters fill the pages.
Imagine the Mageborn series, with a scoop of Paolini’s Eragon, a dash of Tolkien’s creative mastery and a sprinkling of Matthew Reilly’s action sequences, plus a little corny humour and romance thrown in for good measure. The story is UNPREDICTABLE and full of twists.
Conner is a master of world building. He shows great craftsmanship, and the reader becomes easily enveloped within the environments. The combination of diverse characters, unique mythical cities and complex plot lines have created a tale that is highly original, as well as memorable. Action sequences are fast-paced, yet clear, showing skill that is reminiscent of authors such as Matthew Reilly.
Characters are a work of art, exciting and intriguing, and the storyline is a masterpiece. It has depth and mystery with every page you turn; it is smooth and well written. Capture is another word that fits and is what will happen to you as you involve yourself in the book.
Not since the Dragon Riders of Pern has the bond between rider and beast played such an important role. This new twist on Griffins and the Delphens allowed for a much-needed change of pace, as does the lack of reliance on human characters to save the day.
Julia Hugh’s Griffin Rider Chronicles (Talon Press 2013) used Griffins, but these griffins are unlike anything Julia Hugh imagined. False Dragons employs a much more action-laden approach. This action and, more importantly, depth and diversity of characters will keep readers engaged and turning the pages.
False Dragons is certain to attract a large following of fans unquestioningly hungry for a new approach to fantasy
This epic fantasy is like all good epic fantasies where the world building is impressive. The only completely original species created are the Delphens, and Conner does a great job of creating their biology, social structure, and characteristics while making them individuals. Delphens were once a mostly farming community, but dragons and griffins transformed some into a corps of warriors. The Griffin Corps can use their physical strength, hardiness, and closeness to nature to bond with and ride the griffins. They treat the griffins like more than just dumb steeds. They share consciousness, mind links, and emotions. The Delphens' relationships with their griffins are that of friends, companions, and siblings in arms.
Two of the best Delphens are Shala and Flinch. Flinch is a quick-witted sometimes comic relief who has a running gag of dismounting badly. However, he also has inherited precognitive abilities, which requires him to have some dark visions. For him, this quest is one of maturity, as he has to shed his childlike impetuosity.
Even with characters that are common in other fantasies, Conner does different things with them. Pixies are present with their mischievous and naughtiness. One of the more humorous characters is Glow, a sweet, energetic pixy who will give any information if you provide enough sugary snacks for a bribe. However, what we see is that their sense of mischief has harmful long-term implications, plus they, Glow in particular, suffered a tremendous loss in the past.
The Merfolk are described here as they often are in legends: attractive, but stand offish and prone to emotion. However, they are capable of assisting others and looking at the big picture that what affects everyone else will affect them.
Of course there are the various romances, interspecies friendships and allies, and tremendous loss that develops during these struggles.
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Denrael had stewarded the forest for a very long time. He had one final task to perform before he could rest. He continued to stare out over the vast areas of green and the huge blackened scar across the area under his care. For nearly three eons he served as nature's guardian.
Throughout the war he also protected, trained and fought alongside the Delphens. Fearless, they made excellent companions for Griffins. Their caring nature, drive to protect both their own and willingness to look after other creatures made them
friends to all. Their honor and willingness to battle evil drew the Griffins to them-as friends and soldiers together fighting the darkness that, at that time, spread across the land.
Denrael stepped back from the precipice and climbed aboard Glory’s back in front of her huge wings. It took a bit of finesse for Denrael to get up there. Glory stood sixteen feet tall at the shoulder. She had a fifty-foot wingspan and weighing in at nearly 3 tons. Glory was a force that few could compare with. There were only two Griffins larger. Havoc, Shala’s white Stonehenge, eighteen feet at the shoulder and six tons. Her wingspan reached an amazing seventy-five feet. The other was Savage, another white female Stonehenge almost as large as Havoc but with an ill temper for anyone but Shala and her rider Flinch.
“Glory, I’m much too old for those kind of hi-jinx.”Denrael shouted over the rushing wind into the griffin’s ear.
Glory emitted a low growl that Denrael came to identify as a Griffin’s version of laughter. Glory used the momentum to rise up and a few flaps of her massive wings put her high enough to land on a ledge outside the Elder’s council chambers. The council chambers also doubled as a headquarters of sorts for the Griffin Corps. Denrael slid down Glory’s neck.