Review by Abigail R -- Becoming the Dragon

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Abigail R
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Review by Abigail R -- Becoming the Dragon

Post by Abigail R »

[Following is a volunteer review of "Becoming the Dragon" by Alex Sapegin.]
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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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Post by FictionLover »

:) I agree with you. This book was a mess.

I think I gave it 3 stars because the plot came together in the end.

Check out my review to see what you think!
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Post by Laura Bach »

I also read and reviewed this book. It was not for me. I am glad you found something good about the book, and I am also glad you noticed the bad things. Lack of strong female characters is a problem indeed. Nice review!
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Post by Yssimnar »

abigailray1013 wrote: 02 Aug 2018, 12:56 [Following is a volunteer review of "Becoming the Dragon" by Alex Sapegin.]

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.

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 would take issue with these same two issues. I am not good with a lot of new made-up terms. It's the same if too many proper names are introduced at the same time. I am fine with body descriptions as long as strong women exist, but it sounds like you get body descriptions without strong characters to go with them.
:wink:
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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R »

FictionLover wrote: 03 Aug 2018, 06:18 :) I agree with you. This book was a mess.

I think I gave it 3 stars because the plot came together in the end.

Check out my review to see what you think!
Such a mess but you are right about the plot coming together - it just took a while to get there!
Thanks for the comment!
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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R »

Yssimnar wrote: 04 Aug 2018, 18:49 I would take issue with these same two issues. I am not good with a lot of new made-up terms. It's the same if too many proper names are introduced at the same time. I am fine with body descriptions as long as strong women exist, but it sounds like you get body descriptions without strong characters to go with them.
Yes, the female characters lacked depth and purpose. I don't mind descriptions when accompanied by strength.
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Post by FictionLover »

Yssimnar wrote: 04 Aug 2018, 18:49
abigailray1013 wrote: 02 Aug 2018, 12:56 [Following is a volunteer review of "Becoming the Dragon" by Alex Sapegin.]

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.

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 would take issue with these same two issues. I am not good with a lot of new made-up terms. It's the same if too many proper names are introduced at the same time. I am fine with body descriptions as long as strong women exist, but it sounds like you get body descriptions without strong characters to go with them.
I have to agree with both of you. Maybe I went too easy on this book, but I thought that his description at the end of the were-dragon was unique and fun and fantasy lovers would really love it. But, so many things about this book bothered me, I don't think I even noticed the part about the female characters I was too busy disliking most of the other characters.

:tiphat:
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Latest Review: Becoming the Dragon by Alex Sapegin

Post by RedsReviews »

First, thank you for reading and commenting my review. It was my first ever so I appreciate the feed back. You do have a point, it was a little bit all over the place. I think he was going for movie-type picturesque. You have flash backs and foreshadowing and you get a first person story from all his main characters not just Andy. The translation played a big part and I didnt notice the redundancy until you pointed it out. Thinking about it there was too much fluff. Very, very good review I enjoyed it.
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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R »

Laura Bach wrote: 03 Aug 2018, 13:53 I also read and reviewed this book. It was not for me. I am glad you found something good about the book, and I am also glad you noticed the bad things. Lack of strong female characters is a problem indeed. Nice review!
Thanks for the kind comment! I'll be sure to check out your review!
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Post by Bonnie Shelby »

Great review! Having read and reviewed this book also, I can say that I completely agree with all of your main points. I didn't like it either and had similar reasons for giving it a 2 out of 4 stars.
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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R »

RedsReviews wrote: 06 Aug 2018, 10:52 First, thank you for reading and commenting my review. It was my first ever so I appreciate the feed back.
Of course! My favorite part of Online Book Club is getting to support each other and read other people's takes on books.
Thank you for your comment. Yes, the book was all over but still very enjoyable because of the adventure and wonderful new world.
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Post by LennyDots »

I might be the only person who really dug the book. I really like when I get to nerd out on new terms and associated rules though, so at least some of what you hated was what I loved.

I see what you mean about the women (I had a bit of a rant on it in one of my review for Raven's Peak) but on the other hand I don't really feel like he developed any characters very much, other than Andy. Well, and Nirel, but he was a jerk.

I want to argue that Jaga should count as a strong female character, but she definitely falls into the Matron/Crone trap. That's what I call it, anyway. There's this thing where when an author is writing Strong Women just for the sake of Strong Women, young women are the problematic part because the authors still identify women by their "expected" roles for that time of their life. If you have a Maiden who's a Strong Woman, she is also usually super sexualized and held up as "not like the others," whereas a Matron/middle aged Strong Woman is strong in a nurturing way or in defense of someone currently in the role as her child, and the Crone is the wild card with a blank check to be awesome because she's used up her perceived usefulness as a woman and now is free to be a person. It's insidious how easy of a trap that is to fall into, and I think in this case Jaga would count as Crone.

As right as you are though, I still really liked the story. It certainly wasn't what I'd call progressive, but I thought it was a good time. I just wish it had more of an ending. The conclusion we got felt more like a chapter break than it did the end of a pretty long book.

Total side note here: why are some words in your review pink? How did you do that?
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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R »

Bonnie Shelby wrote: 06 Aug 2018, 12:22 Great review! Having read and reviewed this book also, I can say that I completely agree with all of your main points. I didn't like it either and had similar reasons for giving it a 2 out of 4 stars.
Thanks for your comment! I'll check out your review and see what you thought!
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Post by LennyDots »

Never mind about the pink thing. It's gone now, must have been something on my end.
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Abigail R
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Post by Abigail R »

LennyDots wrote: 06 Aug 2018, 14:23 I might be the only person who really dug the book. I really like when I get to nerd out on new terms and associated rules though, so at least some of what you hated was what I loved.
I am so glad you liked it! I am especially glad you liked the parts that I didn't. That's what makes reading great! I did enjoy the story overall, I just wish it was executed slightly better.

I do feel like there isn't much of an in-between with women sometimes. They are either ditsy and just there for characters to look at or they are old crones like you said. I just find that it is still rare that you get a young woman who is strong and confident without also getting a description of what she looks like. I think I noticed it so much because the more I read, the more irritating this becomes for me!

I really appreciate all that you had to say, your comment is very insightful! I'll be sure to check out your review!
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