This series consists of The Dragon Knight’s Curse and The Lone Dragon Knight.
Mercer knows nothing beyond the fighting arena, where he is compelled to fight by a spell cast on his back. After being sold to a crime boss, he eventually breaks free of both slavery and spell and sets out to find those responsible for his captivity. His journeys take him through forests, seas, towns and deserts. Along the way, he acquires an enchanted sword, collects fellow-travelers and learns more about his situation and family.
I read mixed reviews before starting this series. Some praised it, others said it was the worst example of fantasy they’d ever read. My own opinion is favorable, but I can see where some readers didn’t like the books. Clemens’ style is very laid back and subtle, with an odd mixture of simple then flowery then crude language. Mercer makes no bones about being a loner or having few social skills, and his language shifts depending on his mood. He is an interesting character who does develop and grow through the story, especially with his regular companions. These are also “journey” books, which I often find tedious. However, Clemens focuses more on the people rather than the countryside and the travels make sense in the storyline, so I wasn’t bothered by them.
Two features of the books annoyed me. First, magic is common in Mercer’s world, but very little background is given about it. Is everyone capable of using it? When do they learn whether or not they can cast spells, and when/how are they trained in its use? Where does the energy to work the magic come from, and what – other than being tired after a battle – are the consequences of its use? Second, Mercer’s captors apparently infected him with a “corruption.” Beyond stating that the end result of this condition is insanity and that a demon’s tail is involved, no other clues about it are given. Where did it come from – another dimension, perhaps? How did the infection take place? Is the corruption part of a person’s blood? Soul? Magic? I would have like to know more details about it, instead of being left completely on the dark.
Despite these annoying lack of details, I enjoyed these books. Now if the next one would come out …!
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