Review: “Dragon Rising,” Linsey Hall

Pros: Great adventure and action
Cons: Formulaic; a few details
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Linsey Hall’s Dragon Rising (Dragon’s Gift: The Sorceress Book 4) continues the story of Aerdeca, a blood sorceress and Dragon Blood who lives in the magical city of Magic’s Bend. In the last volume, sisters Aerdeca and Mordaca became demon-cursed and had mere days in which to save their own lives. Now that they’ve been cured, they’re summoned to witness a vision of the future: Magic’s Bend will be destroyed by fallen angel Acius and the Great Serpent. In order to summon the serpent Acius needs to find three powerful gems–if Aeri and Declan and their allies can get to them first, they can keep him from summoning the serpent. Unfortunately the only being known to be powerful enough to fight the serpent–the Thunderbird–hasn’t been seen in ages. Meanwhile, Aeri’s magical signature is becoming too strong, causing others to begin to realize what she is. She has to learn to contain it if she doesn’t want to become a target.

The usual adventure and action angles are as good as always. There are plenty of cinematic fights using all sorts of powers and weapons. There are trials and traps. (For some reason, every single powerful being they deal with demands that they pass some sort of trial, which does eventually feel a bit contrived.) There’s a very blatant video-game-type puzzle that the group has to solve–there’s a door with gears on it, and the gears have to be connected correctly so that they’ll operate.

There’s a potion that Acius uses on Aeri that makes her slavishly devoted to him and just, ugh. I could have done without that–she’s a strong female character and the only reason this didn’t annoy me more is that it doesn’t last for too long. Also, it doesn’t 100 percent overpower her own thoughts.

I was a little disappointed with the steampunk town where the group has to find one of the gems. Sure, it’s neat, but it’s used strictly as a set of obstacles to overcome. We never really get to explore it as an actual town with interesting people and a remarkable way of life. All of that is relegated to a few details here and there.

This isn’t my favorite of the Dragon’s Gift books, but it’s still good. I enjoyed reading about Aeri and Declan’s relationship, and as always I love the action and adventure.

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