Official Review: Return of the Dragon by Alex J. Webster

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Official Review: Return of the Dragon by Alex J. Webster

Post by Jax14 »

[Following is the official review of "Return of the Dragon" by Alex J. Webster.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Return of the Dragon is a standalone paranormal novel aimed at mature young adults and up. There is a section with torture and violence so this needs to be taken into consideration when choosing to read this.

A simple boat journey is marred by an enigmatic stranger who in the middle of a chaotic storm shows his true wolf face to the rest of the passengers. Move forward 18 years and a failed mission in the trenches to go over the top during WW1 finds a wolf, bigger than anyone has ever seen, chewing through the corpses. Homicide reports 14 years later tell of random victims being killed. Eye witnesses swear they saw a giant of a man with his lips at the victims' throats. WW2 has arrived and military correspondence records a band of soldiers who has descended into a pit of madness claiming to hear bells toll and seeing things that cannot be there. This leads us to Romania and Gheorghe, an inspector in the militia. Sent to investigate a string of child abductions, Gheorghe finds himself facing the Master and the Order of the Dragon; a vampire who is more than 300 years old and waiting to once again claim his manor as his own. The Master needs Gheorghe's help to do this and promises assistance with Gheorghe's need for vengeance. Gheorghe's corrupt seniors in the militia get wind of the Order and mistakenly convince themselves that it is part of the rebellion against the ruling regime. They order Gheorghe to bring this faction in and ignoring this directive could send him to the mines or a life in a cell. To survive he needs to be seen to work for both sides, but the continual lies could pull him so deeply into their games that death might be the only eventuality either way.

I enjoyed the way that the author began the novel by using journal entries, field reports, homicide cases and military letters to chronicle the time span that the vampire was seen in, leading up to when the ultimate action takes place. While I didn't "enjoy" it as such, the author did a very good job of conveying the impossible situation people found themselves in if they spoke out against the ruling regimes. You could feel the internal struggle to make sure that the characters said the correct thing to appease their superiors even if they didn't agree with it. The torture and "re-education" of political dissidents was alarming, and the writing managed to convey the dark and bleak side of it. The effort spent in breaking someone's spirit while breaking their bodies actually had me nauseous at times.

I found the editing mistakes very off putting. There were missing words and capitals in the middle of sentences for no reason. Punctuation was misused and different points of view could be found in the same paragraph. Some formatting problems also occurred. A number of words are written in Hungarian and not translated to English or alluded to what they mean. This makes it frustrating as it feels as though you are missing out on pertinent information.

The book drew me in from the beginning as the idea of being introduced to the vampire's character through the different correspondence was a great idea. Unfortunately it seemed to me that the vampire took a back seat after that as Gheorghe's narrative took up most of the rest of the book. The story in essence is one of the vampire's move back to Transylvania but this forms a tiny part of the script. There are also way too many tangents and introductions of side plots that peter out and questions are left hanging. I found myself wondering why certain characters were even introduced to the story as they were not necessary at all. The final climactic scene is over in the blink of an eye and even after reading it a couple of times I'm still confused as to what happened to certain characters. I was hoping for a great paranormal story but was sadly disappointed and for this reason I give Return of the Dragon 2 out of 4 stars as the writing was good and the plot idea interesting but the end result missed its mark. I recommend the book for mature young adults and up but would classify it as a thriller with a hint of paranormal.

Return of the Dragon
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Post by Annelore Trujillo »

Great review! It sounds like an interesting book, but I will admit that I have a hard time reading past grammar mistakes.
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Post by Clifora »

This book sounds quite interesting and it seems like it had the potential to be a good book based on your review. It's a shame that there were problems with the book and you did not enjoy it. Great job on the review though!
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