Dragons, politics, intrigue, poison, mass murders and a dark past are just some of the words that come to mind when reading The Adamantine Palace, the debut novel of Stephen Deas. The Adamantine Palace is a novel that counts 384 pages and is the first book in a trilogy.
Giant fire breathing monsters
Nowadays, when reading that a book contains dragons, you will probably think of tame dragons like those in the Temeraire series, of which I reviewed the last book yesterday. The first fantasy book I ever read was Eragon, a book about a sweet and likable tame dragon. Don’t get me wrong, I love those books, but writers seem to forget that dragons are, in fact, giant fire breathing monsters on top of the food chain, instead of big cats that protect their masters.
When first reading The Adamantine Palace, you will expect those dragons. Kings and queens control dragons in bases and ride them as a matter of prestige. When one of these dragons mysteriously disappears, however, Stephen Deas proves us wrong. Once, dragons were mankind’s biggest foe, killing humans as they ruled the lands. This changed when alchemists found a way to oppress them. An oppression that is now in danger.
Unaware of this danger, the kings and queens are gathered at the Adamantine Palace, where a new Speaker – king among kings and queens – must be chosen, causing a great deal of political intrigue and backstabbing.
This is where we meet our main characters, like Queen Shezira – the perfect leader and favorite to the throne, – Zafir – a princess who doesn’t shy back of killing her own mother to gain political power – and the charismatic prince Jehal, who may or may not be poisoning both his father and the Speaker.
Stephen Deas gives us characters with significant potential, never ceasing to surprise his readers: a villain becoming a hero, or a good guy suddenly changing to a bad guy. All of these characters, however, are flat, unexpanded and identical and the only differences between them are in their speech.
Why should you read this book?
All in all, Stephen Deas has done a bang-up job delivering us a promising up tempo page-turner with short chapters and varying viewpoints. Don’t expect detailed worldbuilding and descriptions of the world’s dark history, however. Though you will immediately notice the depth of this world, it has not been given the attentions it deserves yet. However, that is what gives The Adamantine Palace its tempo, and I’m unsure if that’s such a bad thing.