Cynthia Ayala ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Writer
By: Richard A. Knaak
Published: May 1989
Publisher: Pop Library
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Speculative Fiction
In Firedrake, a land ruled by the shape-shifting Dragon Kings, Cabe Bedlam is hunted for both the legacy he represents and the future he may bring. Yet dragons may be the least of the dangers, for in a land drenched with sorcery, Cabe’s very legacy may be what destroys him.
As a longtime fan of Richard A. Knaak, I have to say, this novel was a bit of a disappointment. Not to say that it was bad, it wasn’t. Knaak has a “knack” with words and description, but at times, the dialogue within the novel was too much. It was forced and didn’t capture the characters as well as it should have. There were times even when the dialogue was a bit painful and dull. Other times however it was fun, snarky and enjoyable, but the way the novel moved and my familiarity with this novelist’s previous work left me personally wanting more and expecting more.
Knaak is great with characterization overall but there was so much in the novel that lacked something. There was too much in this world, at times it felt like a jumbled mess. For an introduction into a new realm, it wasn’t good. It wasn’t smooth and at times the history given was confusing as a whole. Scene specifics were missing and they were desperately needed in order to follow the characters and the reluctant and confused hero, Cabe Bedlam, on his journey to save the Dragonrealm.
Despite the bumps in the rode, Cabe was fun character and the narrative around his character was very well done. He has no idea what is going on and why everything involves him, but when push comes to shove, he rises to new heights and lives up to his heritage as a mage. Now, his character was very well done, he was easy to relate to and envision him and the Darkhorse who was also an amazing character. Darkhorse had the best narrative even if his description was difficult to envision. As far as the connection the main character was supposed to have with the Amber Lady, it just wasn’t there. Knaak was unable to create a connection between her character and that of Cabe. The romantic intrigue between the pair wasn’t believable and didn’t have enough strength to made the reader root for them. Her character was also very dry; her narrative was not inventive at all. The Lady of the Amber was not a well-done character with no inner turmoil or secrets. She was dry and too perfect, completely unrealistic.
It was a hard to grasp novel because some details that could have helped attach the reader were lost, especially in regards to travel, despite the fact that there is a map in the novel, so logistics were iffy in Firedrake as well. It was a decent enough novel that doesn’t live up to Knaak’s natural talent. ★★★ (B-)