Monday, 26 August 2019

Review: The Dragon's Banker

The Dragon's Banker The Dragon's Banker by Scott Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The author of this book set out to do something difficult - tell an interesting story about a merchant banker in a fantasy setting - and, in my view, achieved it. I kept wanting to get back to reading it, which is an excellent sign. It helps that the banker in question is atypically honest, and, despite his frequent protestations, generous to others.

It's a kind of riches-to-rags-to-riches story, though the rags are relative rather than absolute. For a long time, I was thinking it was going a bit too easily; the protagonist kept succeeding in whatever he attempted, and had a clever plan that looked as if it was going to come off without a hitch. I was still interested enough to keep reading, but I did wonder if there was going to be some more tension and conflict and challenge coming - and then there was plenty, and the plot took a series of twists, and overall I was very satisfied with the outcome.

I will mention a brief jarring moment, in which the protagonist has a drunken one-night stand with a junior employee. It felt out of place with the rest of the book.

I'll also mention that in the review copy supplied to me by Netgalley, it's obvious that the author is reaching well beyond his vocabulary, and often using words in senses that are either highly unusual or flat-out wrong.

The bonus story, while in dire need of basic copy editing (again, in the version I had; the published version may well be a lot better), I found genuinely amusing. It's the story of a fated Chosen One, the focus of dozens of mutually contradictory prophecies, who refuses the call so hard that he actually ends up succeeding in a completely unexpected way. It's not just tropes and silly names, but clever and well plotted, which I believe a comic story needs to be.

Definitely recommended, though I would like to see the author bring his knowledge of the basics of vocabulary and punctuation up closer to the level of his excellent plotting.

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