THE FLIGHT OF THE DARKSTAR DRAGON by Benedict Patrick (Book Review)
What do you get when two reviewers clamor to get their hands on the same ARC?
You get a battle royale.
Uh, scratch that. You get a pleasant conversation about said book.
Steve Thomas and Taya Latham (T L Greylock) both read Benedict Patrick’s latest book—released on October 7—The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon. Check out their chat about dragons and worldbuilding and dimension-hopping!
Taya: Let’s start by talking about the world—because it’s epic and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Steve: Yeah, the worldbuilding was really cool. That’s always where Patrick shines. In Darkstar Dragon, Min is the first officer of an airship that crash lands in the Darkstar Dimension, a hub world where rifts into different worlds orbit around the Darkstar, which is some kind of black hole for magic. Since the Darkstar drained the airship’s magical battery, Min and her crew are stranded in the Darkstar Dimension until the rift they crossed through reappears. Also, there is a dragon the size of a country hanging around, eating anything big enough to be worth its notice. It’s a really intriguing setting.
Taya: Everything is purple and the horizon curves endlessly. Pretty spectacular. Benedict’s creativity is on full display here and I loved how he used a character’s creation of what was essentially a (very elaborate, intricate) child’s mobile of the planets to demonstrate how the Darkstar Dimension worked.
Steve: I’m also not ready to rule out a Yarnsworld crossover. It’s a dimensional nexus, after all!
Taya: Ha, yes, I’m imagining the Magpie King showing up in the Darkstar Dimension.
Steve: Someone has to slay that dragon!
Taya: I’m holding out hope that the dragon has a purpose other than eating everything. It must be there for a reason, just like the dimension is capable of draining magic.
Steve: Me too, but it is kind of refreshing to see a mindless eating machine dragon. Those have gotten more rare over time. Over all, there’s definitely a lot of mystery that Patrick saved for later books. The magical chess pieces are another one.
Taya: Right, I think you and I both struggled a little with what seems to have been left for book two. We don’t get the full story as to why Min is in charge of the expedition but isn’t named captain of the Narwhal. For me, at least, I think a little clarity there would have helped me with her character and her journey.
Steve: Right, and I think the scope of the story actually ended up being smaller than I expected. The premise had me ready for a crazy, dimension-hopping adventure, kind of a cross between Sanderson’s Cosmere and Gulliver’s Travels.
Taya: Yeah, I’m assuming Benedict will take full advantage of the capabilities of the world he’s created in the sequels, but I can’t help but wish we’d had a bit more of that here. That being said, the ray riding (flying? base jumping?) was awesome. I also really enjoyed Brightest as a secondary character.
Steve: Agreed. He’s a cranky old hermit and I’m here for it. And we know he’s not the only person to drift unintentionally into the Darkstar Dimension and decide to stay. There’s so much going on that we only catch a glimpse of. Speaking of characters, how do we feel about Min?
Taya: She and her arc are very straightforward. She has to overcome fluctuations in her self-confidence, stemming, of course, from the issue of her rank. She felt a bit predictable, and, as a whole, her story felt a bit young.
Steve: I agree, there’s a simplicity to Min’s story that doesn’t seem to quite line up with the complexity of the world.
Taya: Her journey feels a bit like a young hero’s journey in a great family movie. Which is to say, it’s fun and relatable. And the simplicity allows the world to shine. I’m eager to see where Benedict takes this next.
Steve: I’m 100% on board for book two!
The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon is available NOW!