The Last Dragon Chronicles: A Spoiler-Free Series Review

The Last Dragon series by Chris D’Lacey is, in a word, absurd.  (Hey, that rhymes!)  There are things that happen in this book that sane authors wouldn’t think of doing, like going into a completely different world with all new characters in the penultimate book, entering a first person perspective in the last book where all the previous books have been third person omniscient.  You just don’t do these things, but in this series, they’ve been done.  And the best thing is it would only work in this series, because the rest of it is just as absurd.  The series is very well written, though confusing at times and very annoying if you’re impatient for answers.  If you’re patient enough to wait, however, you’ll be well rewarded.

Book 1: The Fire Within.  The first word you’d describe this book as is “cute”.  It’s a writer’s book, the kind that makes you want to write.  It’s a book that’s about writers and writing more than anything else.  It’s like the movies Stranger than Fiction and Finding Neverland in that respect.  It isn’t like either because it’s got dragons.  A combination of these two things makes the loveable writing dragon, featuring highly in later books.

Book 2: Icefire.  This is the point where it gets weird.  The first one was “cute”, acceptable fantasy but not outstanding.  This second installment throws all that out the window.  Strange tales, stranger events and even stranger concepts make this one better than the first.  Also, though the author outlined the first book, he wrote this one and the rest spontaneously.  Thus, more strange things.  In this book, he is hesitant about his concepts and how strange he wants to get, but in the later installments he really lets loose.

Book 3: Fire Star.  Have you noticed a trend in the titles by now?  Yeah, it’s mostly about fire.  Dragon fire, that is.  This book introduces even more strange concepts, stretching the limits of normal fantasy.  Dragons feature more and more prominently.  Some concepts are explained in greater detail, while others remain obscure.  If I could explain the concepts and give examples without also divulging spoilers, I would.

Book 4: The Fire Eternal.  This is the weirdest yet, as the story skips five years into the future.  Characters are reconfigured in strange ways, they gain strange attributes, and of course, more concepts are explained and revealed.  The first real dragon is seen in this book.

Book 5: Dark Fire.  Here is where the true evil shows itself.  The greater plot emerges in all its glory as the threads of reality are systematically unraveled.  Things get weirder and weirder, leading to a cliffhanger ending.

Book 6: Fire World.  Alternate universe time.  New characters, new laws of physics, new species of fantastic creatures.  Some concepts introduced in earlier books become prominent here, while even more are introduced.  The new story is able to be tied in to the earlier events only slightly, but even more questions are left unanswered.

Book 7: The Fire Ascending.  The POV changes from third person omniscient to first person, a character we have never heard of except fleetingly mentioned in book 6.  Also, the story jumps centuries back in time, introducing a slightly rushed plot at the very beginning which becomes very important in later events.  Time paradoxes are explored as the course of time skips from timeline to timeline.  Here is where loose threads are tied off; almost all concepts are explained, vaguely if the author still doesn’t know how it works, or in detail if he’s pondered it a lot.  The ending is brilliantly done and conclusive.

Read the series.  No matter what I say, it won’t be enough to give an accurate picture of its greatness.  It’s the greatest “experimental” fantasy I’ve seen.  In a couple days I’ll write a post on why it’s so great, and how you can get a story like that.  It’ll probably be accurate.  Probably.

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7 Comments

  1. Erin

     /  May 13, 2012

    I’ve seen these at our library and thought they looked worth reading. I’m excited to pick them up now!

    As a bit of a side note: I was wondering if you could maybe include a small content guide in your book reviews. I think you and I both agree on the contents in a book that are…what’s a good word?…unreligious, perhaps. I’m always looking for books that are at least mostly clean, and I know that my mom is very, very picky about the books I read, so it’s always helpful to know what I should be watching out for in books and if the books will meet my mom’s expectations. And it seems like every time I go to look for a review on a book, people never include a content advisory, unless you’re reading a review on a Christian website. But enough of my rambling. Just thought I’d throw this out there as an option.

    Reply
    • Indeed, you’re right. In answer to your question, this series isn’t exactly anti-Christian, but it is not exactly Christian. A prominent figure is Gaia, an earth goddess. Also, there’s a dragon named Godith, hinted at only. But I feel that it’s no more anti-Christian than Rick Riordan’s works would be. If you can disprove it and keep your head, you’ll be fine, in my opinion. The concepts are weird, but pretty unbelieveable.

      Glad to know you’re a Christian too. I’ve been wondering.

      Reply
      • Erin

         /  May 14, 2012

        My mom’s fine wih Riordan’s books, so hopefully she won’t have too much of a problem with these.

        Yep! Christian, and proud of it. 😉

      • This series is perhaps slightly more serious about the other dieties than Riordan’s works are, but it should be fine if you keep your head.

  2. These are on my reading list. Though I may not get to them for a while, seeing as my next reading assignment is The New Testament.

    Reply
  3. Okay so I read only the sumary of the first two and then the last paragraph and I’m now looking them up… what does that say? *giggles*

    :} Cathryn

    Reply

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