Series: Mystic #2
Publisher: Tor (July 15, 2018)
Length: 352 pages
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Mystic Dragon is the second novel of a series (the followup to Mystic), but unlike many sequels, the story doesn’t read like a sequel or require you to know much at all about the previous installment. Jason Denzel doing a great job reintroducing the old characters for new readers, presenting fans of the first book with more matured versions of the people they have previously grown fond of, and continuing to mold this world and its unique magic. And while Mystic Dragon will not go down as one of my favorite reads of 2018, I’m still glad I gave this book a try and know many fantasy fans will find it more to their liking.
Taking place close to a decade after Mystic, this story begins with Pomella AnDone having become comfortable in her position as Mystic Grandmaster Faywong’s apprentice. She has matured, grown into her power, yet is still eager to learn more, nearly obsessed in the belief that her master isn’t teaching her at the rate she deserves and needs to learn. This feeling exacerbated by the celestial event which is looming over the mystic realm of Fayün; this rare occurrence threatening to cause the physical and magical realms to merge into one. Pomella’s world in near chaos as people vanish or die; Mystics from across Moth gathering together to attempt to stop the growing cataclysm.
Cue the entrance of the dark, brilliant and powerful rival (of sorts) of Pomella: Shevia. This powerful Mystic’s past a roller coaster ride of mastery and unhealthy relationships which have molded her into a enigmatic figure who challenges Pomella in every possible way. This new relationship forcing our unlikely heroine to examine her beliefs, define the limits of what she feels her power should be used for.
Probably my favorite element of Mystic Dragon is the writing itself. Jason Denzel penning a flowing, lyrical narrative which was a pleasure to read and capably conveyed all the emotional turmoil these characters and their world suffer through during the course of the present and the past.
On the other hand, my least favorite aspect of the book is its uneven pacing. Specifically, the narrative read like two distinct stories. The first one quite interesting, fast paced, and exciting at times. The second one a more mundane, plodding, and never ending build up to a conclusion. This might not be a problem for others, but it definitely was for me personally.
The other criticisms I’d level against the book was Pomella’s tendency to stumble upon just the right magic to use at just the right time in just the right way as well as the numerous flashbacks used by the author. I mention the former because I really get annoyed by characters who are great — just because. And the later bothers me when the flashbacks are inserted in such a way that they interfere with the flow of the book, and I really felt they did many times in this novel.
As I mentioned earlier, I cannot say that I loved Mystic Dragon, but I did find Jason Denzel’s writing to be quite enjoyable. Honestly, the book was a fairly standard fantasy with some interesting characters (Pomella, Shevia, and Sim), quite a few flashbacks which did flesh out and deepen the story, and some good world building, especially the magic system. I can see many readers really enjoying the emotional reflection here, empathizing with the maturation of our main characters, and finding nuggets of wisdom in these individuals personal growth, as they find their way in an adult world where things are not as straightforward as they once believed. So pick this one up if you are already a fan of the series/author or just find this type of fantasy to your liking.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.