reviews

The Iron Crown (Dragon Spirits #1) by L.L. MacRae - SPFBO 7 Finalist Book Review

Write on: Sat, 23 Apr 2022 by  in SPFBO Reviews 241 comments Read 3498

SPFBO7 Finalist Review

When Fenn awakens with no memory of anything beyond his name, it sets him on a path of discovery. With the aid of the allies he makes along the way, Fenn begins to learn, not only some fragments of his past, but of the role he may have to play in his world’s future. 

Fenn would be considered the primary viewpoint character and, for someone who is essentially a blank slate, is fairly engaging. While his situation does get the better of him at times, resulting in either frustration or self-pity, he is usually determined to find answers and confident that things will work out for the best. 

Shortly after his memory loss and an encounter with a capricious dragon spirit, Fenn is rescued and taken in by a young couple, Jisyel & Calindra. Jisyel tends to be more compassionate and willing to assist Fenn, while Calindra is untrusting and combative. The reasons for her attitude are explored more when she is given her own POV chapters, especially when they return to her family home, but she can be abrasive in the early chapters. 

The story eventually takes on a traditional quest structure with the trio mentioned above soon joined by a retired general-turned-mercenary and later an unusual seeming priestess. Events do separate them at times, which has the benefit of allowing different interactions to be the focus for a chapter or two and explore their own motivations before circumstances bring them back together. 

Fenn’s loss of memory serves a dual purpose; acting as both the starting point of the story and allowing readers to explore the world with him. As he continues to search for a way to restore his memory, first with Jisyel & Calindra and later with Selys,  they often have to explain elements of the world’s history, geography, or political make-up. Despite the potential dangers of this approach, I never felt like I was being overloaded with exposition, possibly since the author keeps these spaced out as much as possible.  

Time, and viewpoint chapters, are also devoted to Inquisitor Torsten, an agent for the Iron Throne. Since he is investigating and rounding up others suffering from the same affliction as Fenn, he immediately becomes the primary antagonist for the group. His chapters give glimpses into the structure of the realm and its defenses, as well as the Queen’s magic. 

The world of The Iron Crown is one where dragon spirits occupy certain elements or environments, with their power and influence subject to the area they inhabit, and often jealously protective of their locations and the people they favour. I found this to be one of the best parts of the book, especially how one of the most powerful of these spirits is bound to the Queen, which has allowed her to fend off enemies and maintain her nation. It also allows her to stay in contact with her Inquisitors, by means of the iron dagger each carries. 

The Iron Crown is a solid adventure, with deep worldbuilding and broad in scope. Despite some lingering reservations about the characters, I soon found it an enjoyable start to a new epic fantasy.

7 out of 10 amnesiacs.

Last modified on Monday, 23 May 2022 15:28
Drew

Drew ascribes his love of stories to an aunt giving him a hard back edition of Dracula & Frankenstein for his 8th birthday. Since then he’s been an avid reader of books, short stories, and comics. He is a regular blogger at “The Scribblings” and is working on his own writing.

241 comments

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.