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Indie Challenge 10 — The Dragon Gem (Korin’s Journal #1) by Brian Beam


4 out of 5 Stars

Where to start…

I can tell you this book doesn’t lack in action. There always seemed to be something happening. Either the characters were fleeing for their lives or they were fighting. It made it fast paced and kept me interested. For the most part, the fight scenes were play by play. Sometimes I followed, sometimes I didn’t, but it never detracted from my enjoyment. I also liked how Beam kept us close to Korin (the narrator and main protagonist) by letting us in on what pains he was experiencing during all this action. I think it’s odd how in some books when a character fights there’s no connection to pain. Here, Beam connected us with it.

The world was built fairly well and I was satisfied by the information I received. There’s like a billion gods in this world and it was handled with a huge dose of humor. Some might find it annoying (because of how they’re all referenced) but I found it thoroughly entertaining. And I think—or at least hope—that it’ll tie in to some of the dangling story questions, a few of which I’ve developed a couple of theories to solve. This should tell you that the plot is interesting enough to keep you guessing with hints dropped here and there to allow your imagination to work on puzzling it all out. That said, I think Beam relied heavily on the old trope “I can’t tell you yet because it could put you in danger.” Meaning, one character has all the answers, but doesn’t reveal. I’ve never really been bothered by this unless the story and characters are dull. This story was not, so I was fine.

On to Korin, our narrator and main protagonist. I’ll tell you, I liked him more in the beginning. His humor had me smiling often and I liked that he wasn’t always winning. He needed help, or he got the crap beat out of him. That was good. Me likey. However, the further I read, his realism turned into dependency. He was incapable of protecting himself. He never once handled a situation on his own and never once got himself out of it. Sure, he had ideas and thought through some stuff, but in regards to fighting he was a little reliant. I would have liked to see him escape a few situations on his own (without the help of others), just to show he’s as good as he says/thinks he is.

There’s a lot of humor in this book. At the beginning, I was into it. By the end, I was kinda ready for a little more realistic reactions to horrific scenes. I like a book heavy with emotion. I think too often a character doesn’t react appropriately to a terribly sad event. Korin reacted to sad events with emotion, which I enjoyed. However, he switched too quickly between horrible sorrow to his wise-crackish self. Again, it didn’t bother me so much in the beginning, but by the end (as events got darker) I would have liked to keep things serious just a little longer. Furthermore, the later humor of the book felt a little forced, while at the beginning it felt more natural. Here’s a few lines that had me smiling in the beginning:

“So now the stolen gem that I’d stolen had been stolen. Fancy that.”

For this next one, keep in mind that he has a talking cat wizard:

“Not many things can hurt your pride more than being berated by a tabby.”

There was a lovely dose of sarcasm and dry humor that I enjoyed. I liked Korin’s narration. It was entertaining and witty.

So to conclude my ramblings, this was a fast paced, very light, very enjoyable read. I’ve already bought the second book, and Beam has a new fan.

Where to find Brian Beam and his books:

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