Humans and elves, dwarves and gnomes, wizards and warriors all live and do business in the thriving, overcrowded port city of Cliff's End, to say nothing of the tourists and travelers who arrive by land and sea, passing through the metropolis on matters of business or pleasure - or on quests. The hard-working, under-appreciated officers of the Cliff's End Castle Guard work day and night to maintain law and order as best they can.
Gan Brightblade is one of the world's greatest heroes and a personal friend of the Lord and Lady of Cliff's End. So when he's brutally murdered in grubby lodgings in Dragon Precinct, on the eve of a great quest, the Captain of the Guard puts his two best investigators on the case.
And I mean word for word police procedurals, in a world of wizards, gnomes, and elves. With all the same scenarios: overbearing wealthy, demanding captains, sniping coworkers, prostitutes, petty thieves and grifters. The crime has to be magic but everyone swears there is no magic. The victims are withholding important information. There are red herrings and prejudice and motivations straight out of Mickey Spillane.
So if you enjoy the same old same old set in a magical world, you probably will enjoy this. My opinion is colored by my personal annoyance with people in a completely different environment using the same old worn-out dialogue and tropes.
This is a fun little blending of Law & Order style cop drama with a fantasy universe. It's heavy enough to take seriously, and yet light enough to be thoroughly entertaining. Using the cop drama style really helps to build the city and people of Cliff's End in your imagination, and fools you into accepting magic and fantasy races as a given in that world.
As an observation (as opposed to a criticism), this book doesn't go too deeply into the past of the main characters (Torin ban Wyvald, and ex-soldier and Danthres Tresyllione a female half-elf), at least not at first. You do get enough for proper development, so no worries there, but you also don't get bogged down in exposition. In that way, the story moves along at a proper pace. I will say that after listening to this book, I feel more acquainted with Danthres than with Torin, but that may be because she is the wittiest of the two. She is easily my favorite character in the book. As I understand it, we get a bit more of Torin's nuances in the next book, Unicorn Precinct.
I must compliment the audio book narrators performance. He does an admirable job differentiating the characters. Though one or two character voices do seem to blend together in places, it doesn't happen enough to distract or confuse you. He also seems to capture the tone and spirit of the story perfectly. Well done, Michael Page!
Where does Dragon Precinct rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I very much like the narrator. I also like that although this is a shorter book, it's a very neatly told story.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Dragon Precinct?
It's hard to pick just one. I'll go with the scene where the little kid helps the Guard for free because they're trying to catch his mother's rapist.
Which scene was your favorite?
At the brothel where Grovis finds out his brother isn't all that righteous.
Any additional comments?
Although this book seems to have the setup of a dungeons and dragons adventure, it reads more like a police drama. There are humans, elves, dwarves, etc. but they are fantasy-world policemen trying to solve crimes, and the nature of their job isn't romanticized. The characters are world-weary and cynical, and therefore relatable.
Any additional comments?
One of the things I would love more than anything was for Terry Pratchett to have written more city watch stories. Alas, that will never happen.
So imagine my delight to see someone writing something in the same spirit, and writing it well.
And to make it all perfect, have it read by one of my favourite narrators.
Michael page is one of the best narrators of audiobooks. He really knows how to get into characters and he sounds like he has great fun reading these books.
As for the storyline, although it is called Dragon Precinct, there are no dragons in these books which was rather a let down and only goblins are referred to, otherwise you would not know any exist.
The books are a bit of a let down for us, because they are basically a detective story and more talkie than actual fantasy as we had hoped.
And if it was not for our favourite narrator Michael Page reading these books, we would have lost interest long ago.