Friday, 3 July 2015

Drachengott: Wind by KJ Taylor

Drachengott: Wind by KJ Taylor is the first book in a new fantasy series which I believe is being released only digitally. But on the up side, the four instalments are being released one a month, so by the time you read this book 3 will already be in the wild. And if the first book is anything to go by, they're pretty short instalments, by fantasy book standards. Perhaps in another time, they would have been published as parts one through four of the one printed book (although that's not how the author wrote it, as she mentions in this interview from last year).

Rutger has always been a bit different. Wanting more than his current provincial life holds, he practices swordfighting, ensuring he's ready for ... he's not quite sure what. Until he meets Swanhild, an enigmatic young woman who knows exactly what she's training for - war. The two meet every day in the forest to practice magic and Rutger feels like he finally belongs somewhere. But Swanhild is hiding something. Will Rugter find out her secret before it's too late? Or will the battle they've been waiting for render secrets irrelevant?

Wind starts with a few chapters of what is, structurally, a prolonged prologue. We're introduced to a confused dragon who doesn't really know what's going on or why, but whose story turns out to be quite important to the over arching plot of the series. We also get our first glimpse of Rutger, the main protagonist. The main story, however, starts several years later with Rutger determined to avenge his brother, who died in the prologue, but lacking direction. He trains for war but has no immediate battles to fight. That is until he meets Swanhild, who introduces him to the world of magic.

Swanhild was probably a more interesting character than Rutger (not that there was anything wrong with Rutger) with her mysterious past and unknown motivations. She propels the plot along and Rutger through it. Basically, nothing much would have happened in the book if it were not for her, but she's not the main character. From the ending (no spoilers) I get the feeling the next book will have a different main character but that Swanhild will still make an appearance.

I am interested to see how the overall structure of the series plays out. Being much shorter than what I would normally call Big Fat Fantasy (BFF), Wind nevertheless shares some characteristics with those sorts of books. Although Wind told a complete story, the overarching plot is only just beginning and I am looking forward to seeing where it goes in the following books. On the other, being quite short for a fantasy book it does have a little bit less depth (and only the one main character whose point of view we don't stray from after the very beginning). The worldbuilding, however, is sufficiently present to paint a picture of the world. It's Germanic, with some obvious differences to our world like the existence of dragons and magic, and also deer as the primary mounts. (Maybe the dragons ate all the horses? ;-p ) Also giant spiders in the forest, which really had me questioning why anyone ever went into the forest if person-eating spiders were a thing they could run into. (If you're arachnophobic, don't worry, they only appear briefly.)

Anyway, Wind was a short read that had me wanting to know what happens next. I look forward to continuing the series in the near future. I would recommend it to fans of fantasy after a quick fix and/or something that they won't spend days lost in (because of the short length). Fans of Taylor's other work will find a less complex story, but still, in my opinion, an enjoyable one.

4 / 5 stars

First published: May 2015, Harper Collins Impulse
Series: Drachengott book 1 of 4
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review! It's always nice to get some feedback - I've shared it on the official Drachengott Facebook page, and Tweeted it as well. I hope you enjoy the sequel! The world really started to open up in that one.