Review: The Dragon Arcana

This post will include my review of the book The Dragon Arcana by Pierre Pevel. It is the third in The Cardinal’s Blades series, released in November 2011.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.


This is Paris. This is 1633.
This is a world under attack from dragons.

Cardinal Richelieu is on his guard against the greatest danger he, or France, has faced. A secret society known as the Black Claw is plotting in the shadows. They have already struck twice, and with their third blow they mean to finish their task.

Unless the Cardinal’s Blades can stop them. They are all prepared to risk their lives for the Crown, this time the question is not whether they will need to … it’s whether or not they will survive.

Their path begins with a mystery; a soldier, and a friend who has gone missing. But when the mystery leads to jealously guarded secrets, one of the Blades being imprisoned, and a vision of Paris in flames the scale of the danger begins to become clear. If the Blades fail now thousands will die…

Being the third book of a series that I like I was always going to go into this book with a positive outlook. I would forgive any minor indiscretions and overlook the odd issue here and there. So please keep that in mind when I say that this was definitely not the best book in the series.

This novel seems to serve more to set things up for something big in some possible future novel and as such not a lot is satisfyingly resolved in this book.

That said there are a number of significant things that happen, characters die, allegiances change, more is learned about the world but the conflict in this novel seems forced. The bad guys are fighting amonst themselves and the good guys are too, for reasons that were never adequately explained. It just didn’t make sense given what was at stake.

Sadly, for me, I was disappointed with the way things were concluded. The characters and the alternative world were interesting but this novel just didn’t have the same sense of swashbuckling adventure as the previous ones. Plus, the ending felt rushed, the motives of the Arcana are not at all clear until the last page when things are explained in a single paragraph. I was hoping for more especially given that the first two books were really quite good.

In short, I would definitely recommend the series for anyone who is a fan of the three musketeers, and anyone who likes a good swashbuckling adventure. But this latest book just wasn’t as good as the ones before it.

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