Wednesday, February 20, 2008
There's a review of The Dragon's Nine Sons in the latest issue of Hub Magazine, a UK-based free weekly PDF genre magazine, delivered by e-mail. (How's that for a string of modifiers on the humble word "magazine"?) The reviewer seems to have liked it, over all.
Chris Roberson's novel is a good page-turning read that feels shorter than it actually is, despite needing a bit more editing in a couple of places: I don't need reminding about decisions and events from two chapters ago - I haven't forgotten!
That notwithstanding, the challenges faced by the prisoners as they struggle to complete their mission are engaging and involving. Captain Zhuan and Bannerman Yao, the two main protagonists, are reasonably complex characters and their mission is as much about redemption for past (in)actions as it is about completing the mission for their Emperor.
The action on board Xolotl at times needs a bit of polishing, but the description of the Mexica – the first time most of the characters have come face-to-face with the culture - is excellent. Seen entirely from the Chinese' point of view, the Mexica civilization is barbaric, based on human sacrifice, with haemoglobin sensors built needlessly into important equipment.
All-in-all, it's well worth a read.