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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Review - The Dragon's of Hazlett by Michelle Scott

Title: The Dragons of Hazlett

Author: Michelle Scott

Publisher: Mundania Press

Buy The Dragons of Hazlett Here!

Rating: You Gotta Read

Reviewed By: Janelle

In Amberweise's polite society, a proper young woman of pure Magician ancestry would never involve herself with something as unpleasant as solving a murder. She would faint at the sight of wheels, pulleys, hinges or other demonic machines. She would never deign to notice the wretched lives of the non-magical commons who serve her day and night, nor would she ever dare to question the traditions of her upbringing. And, most certainly, she would never even think of falling in love with a man whose combination of common heritage and magical abilities have made him a pariah.

Good thing Romana of Amberweise isn’t a proper young woman.

Now, as she works to solve the mystery of her granduncle’s brutal murder, Romana uncovers a fearsome plot to overthrow a ruler whose tolerance for technology just might release the commons from their centuries of bondage. Besieged by dangerous enemies, Romana must use her courage and cunning to rebel against the powerful Magicians who will do anything to protect their lives of prestige and privilege.

This was a pleasure to read. It is a wonderful murder mystery served along side a mound of political intrigue with a double helping of subtle romance. The characters are well rounded and well defined, each with their own history, passions, and weaknesses.

What I found I enjoyed the most was how the romance flowed with the story instead of railroading it as so often done in this genre. The relationships featured range from chaste to scandalous, each suited to the couple.

The only issue I had with this story was its questionable take simple machines. Things such as wheels, pullies, arrows, and wedges are considered evil and items of the occult. While this idea may work in some settings, a medieval style city isn’t one of them. It is a hard idea to swallow, because it asks the reader to accept that an uncaring aristocracy would take time to help those they considered below them. A Duke would not be expected to build the homes for his serfs.

The very process to create every day items in fact demands the use of these “occult” items. Cloths and tapestries, for example, do not leap fully-formed from nothing. Sheep must be sheered, cotton must be picked, and silk worms must be unwrapped. And even if all these tasks could be accomplished without any simple machine, the raw material must still be made into thread. With no alternative explanation given, a spinning wheel is the device that comes to mind.

Despite this lack of continuity on a pivotal issue of the story, this book is still very good and well worth the read. I highly recommend it.

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