Book review of "The Sleeping Dragon", by Joel Rosenberg.
I’m not all that impressed with Joel Rosenberg’s series, Guardians of the Flame. I just finished The Sleeping Dragon, book 1 of the series and I’m not sure I’ll read any more of the series.
I had a hard time following the 15 main character names in the book (7 main characters each with a first and last name, plus their character names for the D&D game, plus 1 for the DM that didn’t go with them) and the book swapped back and forth between these constantly. Add in names for a couple dragons, people they meet along the way, shopkeepers, boat captains. It gets very confusing very quickly.
If all the character names weren’t enough, the vast majority of the book focused on the arguments between all the people. No one got along in this book. One guy liked a girl but was mad because he’d never made a move on her. She apparently was sleeping with another guy in the group. A convoluted mess that I’m still trying to sort out in my head after reading the book. Italics were random thoughts of people mixed in with the talking, which made it harder to follow the arguments. To top it all off all the action scenes were abbreviated to allow for more bickering between the characters. End of one chapter they’d be in a town getting ready to leave, the next page (chapter) they were two months into their journey and had stopped at two other towns along with way with nary a description.
The author left off so many chances to enrich the storyline. In one of the cities they were in there was a price on their head for freeing a captive of the town. A huge price was put on their heads but nothing came of it. The author saw fit to bring up this huge bounty, but barely mentioned it later on in the book. Seemingly the group should have had the entire town after them, but they didn’t.
Treatment of women, and rape. One woman was assumed (by the guys in the group) to sleep with a captain of a ship in order to secure passage for the team across a lake. Then they got into an argument about it (of course). Later on when the entire group was captured both women in the group were repeatedly gang-raped. One of the women seemed okay with it afterwards, while the other suffered massive psychological trauma and was unable to speak and screamed at the slightest touch. Very dark. I’m not easily offended but this still disturbs me the way rape was portrayed in this book.