3 out of 4 stars
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The Devil’s Dragon by Jason F Boggs is a sci-fi novel told in third person from the viewpoint of multiple characters. It’s fair to warn everyone that this story is a bit long, but it’s worth the time and effort to read.
“it’s us or them.” It’s the human race versus the Aesini race, set on earth and in Aesini air space approximately 100 years in the future. This conflict is embodied in the two main characters of the novel, Nelson and Alene. Nelson Jones is an army recruit who goes over to the dark side when he signs up with the Paladins, who report to Jason Freeman, the devil himself. Freeman uses the Aesini threat to achieve his goal of dominating the earth and beyond as its sole leader. Alene is the daughter of one of the Aesini tribal chieftains who believes in the “new way” of the Aesini; she and her followers don’t believe that the gods have abandoned the Aesini. They try to stop the current Aesini king’s advisor from usurping the throne. Inevitably, the two races are headed toward war once the Aesini gate opens near earth.
There is a lot to like about this book, such as a complex plot, a lot of action, sympathetic and well-rounded characters, plenty of interesting minor characters, good world building, and some surprises at the end. This is also a sweeping novel in terms of social commentary. The story takes on totalitarianism in the Nazi-like behavior of Freeman and his sycophants, Christianity in the “new way” of the Aesini, human greed by waging the war on both the human and Aesini sides for power and control, and racism in the conflict between humans and the Aesini. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, as well as the social commentary.
All that being said, the book has two major issues that can’t be ignored. The first is that there has been zero proofreading done. There are so many typographical and grammatical errors that it makes the book hard to read. Apart from chapter headings, there isn’t a single page that has less than five errors, and some of the errors are as imaginative as the plot. There is everything from misspellings, incorrect word choice and incorrect use of quotes to the longest run-on sentence I’ve ever encountered in any kind of literature. It goes on for eight lines of an 8.5 x 11 document, and is something to behold. The second issue is that the book is disorganized. It needs more chapters and fewer changes of point of view within each chapter. Some chapters are like watching a tennis match because there are so many changes in points of view with no warning. Sometimes I’d be halfway through the paragraph before I realized that a different character from the prior paragraph was speaking or thinking. There needs to be some kind of differentiation between the changing points of view, as well as a reduction of the number of changes, within each chapter to make it easier to follow the story.
If I could, I’d give this book 2.5 stars: 1 out of 4 for all of the errors, and 4 out of 4 for the story. Since the story was good enough to make a grammar Nazi like me overlook the errors and keep reading, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. If nothing else, a good proofreading would make the story much easier to read and that much more enjoyable.
The Devil's Dragon
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