Dragon DelaSangre

I was recently at my favorite Chinese restaurant discussing the Matrix: Reloaded with my waitress. She told me she had the most peculiar feeling as she realized that it was the best-made-bad-movie that she had ever seen.

I feel the same way about The Dragon DelaSangre.

Alan F. Troop writes well. His prose has a nice, tight style, and he tells a well constructed, if somewhat convoluted, story. I enjoyed large portions of the book. But the story suffers from two miscalculations that makes the book unfulfilling overall.

Peter DelaSangre lives on his own island just of the coast of Florida. He and his dying father come from a line of dragons. Fortunately, they can shapeshift into human form, allowing them to interact with humanity.

Peter picks up the scent of a female dragon, and sets off for Jamaica. He finds her, fights for her, takes her (and takes her, and takes her), impregnates her, and brings her back to his little island, where they can live happily ever after.

And they would, too. If it weren't for Jorge Santos. Jorge's sister, Maria, was seen with Peter just before she disappeared, and he wants to either find her safe and sound, or hunt down and kill the man who harmed her. What he doesn't know is that he'll never find her, because Peter ate her.

Did I mention that dragons eat people?

And therein lies the rub. The first zig in this zag world. I hated Troop's dragons. There is nothing about these dragons that makes them worthy in the least. They care nothing for humans. They don't hate humans, they don't like humans. They just don't care. They also care nothing for art, literature, work, education. Nothing. Basically, the math goes like this:

Dragons = spoiled, rich, Southern belles that grew up on Daddy's plantation
Humans = black slaves

Why would you make your hero someone almost impossible to like? And his wife! Don't get me started.

Not only that, the antagonist, Jorge Santos, is COMPLETELY sympathetic. His sister was murdered. You want him to find justice.

His desire to kill his sister's murderer leads up to the dramatic climax at the end. And it is dramatic. In the end, though, you can't help but think that the wrong guy won.

The other miscalculation was simply a matter of pacing. Dean Koontz once wrote that the biggest mistake writers make is not putting the hero in jeopardy within the first five pages.

Peter doesn't find his wife until page 79. (And after he catches her, you wonder why he doesn't throw her back.)

He doesn't meet Jorge Santos until about the mid-point. The book is really slow until then.

So, I probably won't be reading Dragon Moon, the sequel, but if Troop decides to write another series, I may give it a look, he's got the talent.

One final thought: other websites have compared this book with Interview with the Vampire, and made comparisons with Peter and Louis, and Elizabth and Lestat. But where Anne Rice succeeds in making Louis engaging to the reader, Troop fails to do so with Peter. An entire thread could be made discussing the reasons why.

The Dragon DelaSangre by Alan F. Troop
Published by: Roc; March 2002
Author's Webpage: www.dragonnovels.com

About Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy succumbed to leiomyosarcoma on April 1, 2007. The irony of this is not lost on any who knew him and laughed with him. He was the first “official” book reviewer for The Dragon Page Radio Talk Show, and after moving to Arizona, he became a frequent contributor to Cover to Cover, Wingin’ It, Slice of SciFi and co-host of Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas.

He will be missed.

Comments

  1. Natalie S. says:

    I have read the whole DelaSangre series and I am very fond of it. Sure the dragons don't care for art or literature or people, that's because they are DRAGONS. You have to realize that just because they meld into the human world doesn't mean they're human. Troops dragons have intelligecne but in a way are the same as other animals, do you see animals appreciating works of art? Well no because they're animals. Peter is a dragon, not a human, but he does have some intrest in human things, for instance he likes to watch human movies, read and he sends his children to school. My only problem with this series is that Peter can do anything with his money, he's to rich. It's far to easy for him to forge papers and do just about anything. In the book Peters father is angry at him for admiring humans "like admiring cattle" is how he put it. You have to remember that the main characters in this book aren't human, if you expect them to act like humans you will be dissapointed.

  2. Victoria H says:

    I have read the entire DelaSangre series and I agree with Natalie that if you expect them to think and behave like humans, you will be disappointed. I loved the series and hope there is another one. I love the way Alan brings the dragons to life and their adventures. I would love to be a dragon such as Peter or his beloved wives. I am sure our cats and dogs look at us as creatures to be chased and watched and captured if possible.
    Just enjoy the books and the terrific writing and story lines.

  3. i too have read the whole series over and over again i think they are excellent books and wish Mr. troop would write some more. but in terms of the dragons not acting or caring for literature, i believe thats kinda of the point. peter delasangre is an antihero, exactly like kratos in the god of war games.

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