Review: Curse of the Thrax by Mark Murphy

 

“Jaykriss is a typical teenager. He’s bored with school, the girl he loves doesn’t even know he’s alive, and he and his mother disagree—a lot. 

Not everything is typical in Jaykriss’s life, however. Glyndich the Great, Jaykriss’s warrior father, died fighting a dragon—and in doing so lost the Bloodsword, a treasured heirloom that is the family’s symbol of power. 

Jaykriss lives in the Godswood,a tiny village deep in the forest near the ancient Priestbain, the fortress home of the Godswood priests. The priests rule the Godswood through their close relationship with the all-powerful Dark King. Jaykriss and the rest of the villagers just barely get by, surviving day-to-day despite nefarious plots by the priests, constant threats by groups of half-human mutants—and, of late, by the Thrax itself, an enormous dragon once thought to be extinct. 

But one day, all of that changes. 

On a routine hunting trip, Jaykriss and his best friend are chased by the Thrax. Terrified, they seek refuge in a forest cave hidden behind a waterfall. The cave shelters an eccentric hermit, a refugee from the Dark King, whose home is filled with books and devices from ancient times. The hermit teaches Jaykriss that all is not as it seems in his world. The mutants and dragons are actually relics of a biological disaster that ravaged the planet years before. The Dark King, revered as a god, is a vicious ruler who will do anything to stay in power. Jaykriss realizes that although he is not a warrior like his father, he can use his instincts and intellect to confront the Thrax, recover the Bloodsword and save his family. He may, in fact, be The One who Leads, prophesied to save the entire human race. But is Jaykriss ready for his destiny–or will it consume him?” Goodreads Description

 

NB: Thanks to NetGalley and Mark Murphy for the egalley 🙂

Curse of the Thrax, while centred around a fourteen year old boy, feels like more of an adult novel to me. It is very heavy and fairly slow. The writing is beautiful and everything is so detailed and full of depth. What was lacking, however, was excitement and suspense.

The novel was so heavy and so full of description that it felt like hard work to read. I did care about the characters and I did want to know what happened to them, but everything was drowned in such heavy writing, it was tough going at times, to get through it.

That said, if you’re a fan of slow, heavily detailed prose, then this book is definitely for you. As I said, the writing is beautiful, I just wish the plot moved faster and that it was easier to read – much more of a balance required here.

The scenes are vivid but the characters a little fuzzy. There wasn’t a character I had a good image of. Nor was there a character I was especially attached to. (Highly unusual for me.) Although I could just see the events and the settings in front of me – they were solid and real. It was just that the people moving around in them were blurred.

There were a couple of scenes that, while beautifully written, weren’t really necessary and delayed the main plot.

The worldbuilding is good – I never felt like I was having information dumped on me – I just gradually got to know Jaykriss’ world whilst things were playing out.

A great book, it was just a little swamped by purple prose. I’m not overly keen on books that make me feel like reading them is a slog, and it’s especially frustrating when the book would otherwise be really good.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A great read for adults and patient teenagers.

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