Upcoming Release REVIEW : The Dragon Eater – Tharassas Cycle Book #1 – J. Scott Coatsworth

The Dragon Eater Book Cover The Dragon Eater
Tharassas Cycle Book #1
J Scott Coatsworth
Science Fiction, Fantasy
Water Dragon Publishing
March 16, 2023

Raven's a thief who just swallowed a dragon. A small one, sure, but now his arms are growing scales, the local wildlife is acting up, and his snarky AI familiar is no help whatsoever. Raven's best friend Aik is a guardsman carrying a torch for the thief. A pickpocket and a guard? Never going to happen. And Aik’s ex-fiancé Silya, an initiate priestess in the midst of a magical crisis, hates Raven with the heat of a thousand suns.

This unlikely team must work together to face strange beasts, alien artifacts, and a world-altering threat. If they don’t figure out what to do soon, it might just be the end of everything.

Things are about to get messy.

Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz

Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

The only thing wrong with this book is that it ended. Scott Coatsworth has produced an adventure that is a rich mélange of science fiction and fantasy, creating the world of Tharassas and its denizens with vivid detail.

Raven is a loner, and a thief – a bit Robin Hood and a little Aladdin. He embodies the social and economic disparities of the world in which he lives. Under-educated and legally homeless, he is nonetheless smart and compassionate. He steals to survive, but donates half of what he gets to those even less well off than he is. Raven’s only constant companion is a little bit of technology called Spin, whose pronouns are he and him, even though he appears to be a pocket-sized disk of silvery metal. Spin is the link between the world of Tharassas and the source of its human population. Few people on this planet have any knowledge of their own history, while Spin came from Earth, which is, to Tharassans, nothing more than myth.

Raven’s only close human friend is Aik, a young man who is strong and brave, but not as smart as Raven. He feels very strongly about Raven, but, as one of the City of Gullton’s guards, is possibly an inappropriate love interest. Aik’s loyalties are understandably caught between his duty as a keeper of the peace in Gullton, and his affection for Raven. The nascent romance between these two men provides a warm emotional core to the action.

The other major player in this drama isSilya, the young woman Aik dumped to woo Raven. An initiate at the Temple – Tarassas’s religious center – Silya is from a wealthy family with deep ties to the planet’s earliest settlers. Silya is also the paranormal element in the story, with her deep tiesto the hencha, one of the dominant plant species on the planet. The hencha plants provide varieties of sustenance for the planet, from food and wine to cloth, but it is more than that.

What Coatsworth makes clear right from the start is that there is more than one storyline unfolding here. Two other narrative voices suggest that there are entities on this planet that preceded the arrival of the human colonists. By the end of the book we understand how these three story arcs will collide in the course of the rest of the series.

The first two-thirds of the book takes place over the course of only a few days in Gullton, a strange quasi-medieval city (with electric lights) built on a series of five jagged spines of igneous rock, rising high above the red waters of the Elsp River. Linked only by bridges, the city is symbolic of the precarious nature of life in this civilization.

The final third of the story takes place in the mountainous region of Heaven’s Reach, north and east of Gullton. Everything happens in a fairly short span of time, and the story left me fairly gasping with anticipation.

There is a dragon in the story, but he’s a tiny one, and barely makes an appearance before Raven swallows him – giving us both the title of the book and Raven’s nickname for those who know.

It’s going to be hard to wait for book two.

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