Masters & Slayers
Source: Electronic review copy from publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description from Publisher Website:
Expert swordsman Adrian Masters attempts a dangerous journey to another world to rescue human captives who have been enslaved there by dragons. He is accompanied by Marcelle, a sword maiden of amazing skill whose ideas about how the operation should be carried out conflict with his own. Since the slaves have been in bonds for generations, they have no memory of their origins, making them reluctant to believe the two would-be rescuers, and, of course, the dragons will crush any attempt to emancipate the slaves. Set on two worlds separated by a mystical portal, Masters and Slayers is packed with action, mystery, and emotional turmoil, a tale of heart and life that is sure to inspire.
Masters & Slayers is a fantasy novel that is a companion to his Starlighter young adult fantasy novel. Both are set in the same world and follow the same events (from different viewpoints), but I highly recommend that you read this novel before Starlighter. The characters in this book are driving the events and know what's going on, so reading this book first will make Starlighter make a lot more sense, add suspense to it, and overall make it more enjoyable. On the other hand, there are only a very questions raised in this book that are explained by the events in "Starlighter."
The main (good) characters were honorable, earnest, and cared about helping others. The story was fast-paced and full of suspense created by the physical danger to the characters. There was also some relationship tensions that increased the suspense. The world-building was very good, with an interesting mix of high technology and the typical medieval fantasy setting. The author created unique societies and worlds without getting bogged down in description or made-up words.
There was a very minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written fantasy novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Never make a woman bleed, my son.
Adrian stood at his corner of the tourney ring, tightening his grip on the hilt of his sword as he listened to silent echoes of his father's words.
If you draw your sword against those you were born to protect, the very ones who trust in your strength, how will you convince them that you are a shield when the dragons come to take them away?
When the dragons come, Adrian repeated in his mind. If those beasts ever returned, they wouldn't find easy prey this time. No humans would be dragged away to slavery again, not if he could help it.
He lifted Spirit and looked at the sharp point. As usual, the tournament officials had attached a stab guard at the end of the blade to prevent puncture wounds deeper than a half inch. Still, that was deep enough. These blood matches were more than mere displays of competitive showmanship; they were tests of courage in the face of real bloodletting.
He shook his head. The stab guard mattered nothing. No battle courage would be tested in this match, and no blood would be spilled. The only showmanship might be how his opponent would react to the decision he had already made.
At the other side of the ring, Marcelle stepped across the fighting boundary, her confident stride combining with her athletic lines to draw the usual gaping stares from men young and old.
Read more of chapter one.