Hello, Loyal Readers! Every Friday I search the world for a free or inexpensive book that’s worth reading!
This week I’ve found:
Hawkridge is a high fantasy from page one. Dragons, Goblins, Dryads—it’s all here. But it’s also got Cowboys mixed in! If you’ve ever wondered how Buffalo Bill would take to living in Skyrim, this is the novel for you.
Why I Picked It Up
Just look at that Cover Art! Promises us just what we’re getting on the inside.
It sounded a little different from the usual high fantasy romp—the main character is a ranch hand on a dragon ranch. Having grown up on and around cattle ranches, I found this a fascinating idea. Plus, who doesn’t like dragons?
What I Like About It
The action starts with our main character, Colt Hawkridge, lassoing and tying a baby dragon which has escaped from the herd. This is a usual, mundane ranch hand activity. But all that is interrupted when a goblin arrow narrowly misses him. Things escalate from there as Colt digs himself deeper into his adventure by trying to keep himself safe.
This is a great way to open a novel; The main character is doing something boring for them, but novel for us. Suddenly… shit gets real and there’s no going back—no choice BUT to move forward into hell.
It’s a lot of fun and the action is well balanced and well paced.
I also like how natural the dialogue sounds—Colt sounds folksy without sounding forced or weird and his banter with the Dryad lady feels natural as well.
Overall, I just like the feeling of… fun that I get from it, you know?
What Could Be Better, If Anything
My constructive criticism is few and far between.
The first issue arose early on when our author took a whole paragraph to describe Colt’s looks. We know what cowboys look like, slap on a quirk or a skin color and you’re done. We don’t need to know that his tan face “made the blue hue of his eyes almost crystalline in contrast.” A little annoying, but not a deal breaker.
Next I noticed a few ‘auto-correct errors:’ things like Colt’s need to get back to the ‘manner’ (manor) or his fear that wasted instances (instants) would cost him his life. I’ve only noticed two or three so far, but they tend to stick out more than regular speling errors [sic].
Earlier on in the manuscript I felt a tendency toward overusing adjectives, but I’m now on page 33 and either it’s cleared up or I’ve gotten used to it because I’m not noticing it anymore.
These are minor gripes on the whole, and they’re not preventing me from enjoying the story.
So I bought it! And I plan to keep reading—look forward to a Followup Article on this one, and as always, don’t take my word for it and check out Hawkridge for yourself!
Then tell us about it in the comments.
Thanks for reading!