2 out of 4 stars
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Becoming the Dragon tells the tale of Andrei Karimov who is known as Andy throughout the book. Because of a lightning strike, Andy can no longer be in the vicinity of technologies without shutting them down completely. As a result, Andy can no longer be a typical teenage boy and spend all day playing video games or sitting in front of the TV. Because of this, he spends most of his time outdoors, reading, or cooking. He enlists his neighbor in teaching him archery and combat. He soon masters these skills.
While delivering papers to his fathers' work, Andy stumbles into the middle of a science experiment and is teleported to the planet of Ilanta. Here he discovers strange creatures and mythical beings. After falling into a mysterious pit, he accidentally frees Karegar the dragon. This leads to his capture, enslavement, and torture. His wounds lead to his transformation into the dragon. Along the way, he gets himself into harrowing situations each seemingly more fatal than the last. His expertise in archery, hand to hand combat, and quick wit become imperative as he learns the ways of this strange new world.
Throughout the novel, readers will get a first-hand view of the change inside Andy as he discovers the dragon inside him and as he discovers who he truly is.
Becoming the Dragon was a tough read for me. While it is obvious that Alex Sapegin has created a new and exciting world, it is easy to get lost and confused because of his writing. Readers are introduced to new terms and creatures but it is not well explained what these new words mean. I often found myself reading and rereading the surrounding text until I could figure out what kind of being I just met in the story.
There are many places in this book where the author used so many adjectives that the writing felt immature. While there are few grammatical errors, there are many redundancies throughout the books. One example is as follows, "…Andy's startled fear turned into full-blown panic" (location 922, Kindle). From this sentence, we are told in three different ways that Andy is afraid. Descriptions like these are common thread throughout. I believe that this was originally written in Russian and I tried to keep that in mind as I read.
If often felt that the book jumped to different times and places in a confusing manner. People appeared in a scene when just moments ago the same people were nowhere around or somewhere else altogether. At times, there would be sentences or paragraphs in which I had no clue which character was being discussed. This made for a frustrating read.
If felt as though many of the female characters introduced were immediately described by their bodies and how much of their chest was showing. It has, and always will be, difficult for me to enjoy a book that lacks strong female characters who are more than just a body to be gawked at.
I cannot deny that Alex Sapegin has an incredible imagination and built an exciting, adventure-packed world. I do believe that anyone who likes adventure, magic, and brilliant new worlds would very much enjoy this book. I, however, could not get past the immature writing, confusing time jumps, and poor depictions of women. Because of these things, I would rate Becoming the Dragon 2 out of 4 stars.
Becoming the Dragon
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