2 out of 4 stars
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I don’t read fantasy very often, but a boy being transported to a mysterious land and being transformed into a dragon sounded irresistible. When I picked up Becoming the Dragon by A. Sapegin, I was ready for an exciting adventure. Unfortunately, I was soon disappointed. The book lacked in both cohesion and character development.
The main character, Andy, is a young teen who had the unfortunate experience of being struck by lightning in sixth grade. Now whenever he comes near a computer, it freezes. Therefore, Andy fills his time with other interests including cooking, reading, and archery. One day as Andy is delivering some notes to his scientist father, he is accidentally sucked into an experimental portal that transports him to a faraway fantasy world.
The author then leads Andy through various adventures as he navigates this new world. He faces various animals – some friendly, others deadly. He meets tribal hunters, wizards, elves, and gnomes. Eventually, Andy even befriends a dragon. He and the dragon are both being held captive at the time. Andy uses his own newly-found magic to help them both escape which eventually leads to the fulfillment of the title of the book. Andy’s life as a dragon takes up the second half of the novel.
There were times when I enjoyed this story. I liked the foreshadowing in the first section as Andy’s sister discusses with some friends how a modern person would fare if transported to a fantasy world. I also thoroughly appreciated the intricate explanations of Andy’s dragon transformation as well as his adjusting to this new chapter of his adventure. In addition, the editing of the book was well done especially considering it was translated into English. I only ran into a few mistakes related to verb tense. However, the majority of the time, I found the book confusing and frustrating. The author introduces new characters with a short back-story and then leaves them behind, moving on to a totally different scene. Most of these strands are never returned to much less resolved. I realize this is the first installment of a series, but it needed some cohesive plot and resolution to tie it together. Also, the character development was weak. I did not connect with most of the characters because their motivation was unclear. Plus, they did not stick around long enough for me to get to know them. At times the author attempted to pull the reader into the world he had created, but too often it was confusing. He referenced things I did not understand such as dragon portals and magical amulets. It seemed as if he expected the reader to know how this world worked without his explaining it. I felt like I was trying to put a puzzle together without all the pieces and no idea what the picture was supposed to be.
Overall, I felt this novel was poorly done. Due to the weak character development and unfinished plot strands, I have decided to rate this book with 2 out of 4 stars. True fantasy lovers might enjoy the mythical aspects and the world building, but anyone looking for closure will be disappointed.
Becoming the Dragon
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