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Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs

Review by Caleyna

After reading Hob's Bargain, another Patricia Briggs book, I was expecting to Dragon Bones to be a well written, enjoyable story. I was very surprised. Dragon Bones is much more than just a well written, enjoyable story. Maybe I am just an over-enthusastic fan, but I think this book could easily be classified as fantasy at its best. It may not be as long or as gritty as some of the more popular fantasy out there, but it is every bit as good.

Ward's father is abusive and power hungry. When Ward is young he figures out that the only way he can survive his father's lust for power is to play dumb, literally. By pretending he is stupid, he convinces his father he is no threat to the power of the Hurog. He does an excellent job convincing every one around him of his stupidity, but when his father dies the false stupidty creates big problems for Ward. He is declared insane and his lands are taken from him. A nobleman would like to put him in the King's insane asylum (think dungeon), but Ward escapes before that can happen.

Though Ward looks stupid (he thinks it is the cow eyes), he is actually quite smart. A few people, including the horse master and his father's right hand man, know he is more than he appears and they escape with him. He also takes along his mute sister, an escaped slave, and the family ghost (also a powerful wizard). Ward knows that he must prove his worth before he can return to his lands, so he and his friends set off to fight in a war and become war heroes. Little do they know what they are getting into.

While Ward and his friends are off killing bandits, his cousins are at the King's court dealing with more evil than even they know. Ward's fate and theirs are intertwined even though none of them realize it.

The plot has many twists and turns and delightful surprises. I wasn't able to predict any of the surprised Briggs had in store for the reader, and that's a sign of a great book. The characters are also extremely likable. Ward is a great guy, but he does have his flaws. His companions are interesting, and some of them are hiding their own secrets. The world is fun, even though it has an evil king and lots of war. Magical creatures are every where and the gods have real power and are willing to use it.

Can you tell I really enjoyed this book? I know I tend to over-rate books that I like, but I can't give this book anything less than 5 out of 5 amulets. The only flaw I can find with the book are the quotes on the cover. They are from a silly source and apply to Brigg's other books. I really wish the publishers would have taken the time to get some new quotes from sources other than the Romantic Times. There is barely a hint of romance in this book, which works very well for the plot.

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