Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Dragon of Dread Peak, by Jeremiah Tolbert

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(YA Portal Fantasy; Dungeonspace) Flip and his teenage friends accept a dangerous mission to steal from a dragon. They’re really too green to attempt this, the dragon is very old and powerful, and they’re falling behind on their trigonometry homework. (23,963 words; Time: 1h:19m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Fun, Exciting, and Touching

Although this can stand by itself, start with Cavern of the Screaming Eye.

"The Dragon of Dread Peak," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 89, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The plot is nested fairly deeply, so let me recap Ivan (aka Flip) needs to:

  1. Interview the returnee from the Black Hole, which requires
  2. Retrieving the phylactery from Karnifex (which means “executioner” in Latin)
  3. But Domino was captured, and in order to rescue him
  4. They need help from another dragon AND Flip has to master his gift.

On the side, they’re trying to get their team in shape, earn the respect of Bloodaxe and Doom Maiden, rescue some of Bloodaxe’s friends, and make some money on the side.

More emotionally, Ivan is trying to boost his self-esteem enough to make him a good leader, and that’s something that has to be earned. Separately, he wants to stop lying to his mother, but not stop what he’s doing, which means needing to earn enough of her respect to seem grown-up in her eyes. These aren't the main goals of the plot, but they're the ones that pack a big emotional punch.

Considering that the novella ends with an obvious setup for the next one, it’s remarkable how much got accomplished in this one.

It's also remarkable how solid this is even if you didn't read the first story.

Con: The story is very focused on Ivan. The other characters do have some depth, but none of them has serious plot threads of their own.

What happened with the anomaly that led to Dreak Peak? Did Ivan close it?

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 89)
Jeremiah Tolbert Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. Aww...this was so good! Classic, funny, and wonderful. While it's obviously the middle story of a trilogy, it can stand alone and is satisfying on its own.

    (I literally LOLed at the dragon hoard of AOL discs!)