My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Simply put, this was fantastic. Marie Brennan did such an excellent job subtly crafting a "fantasy" world around a 16th or 17th century style English empire. The countries and nationalities are all unfamiliar here, but at the same time completely familiar. The reader is able to suspend their disbelief and is truly convinced that dragons are just a standard animal in this world.
The dragons here are crafted in a wonderful style, purely as animals to be studied as any other. They are not viewed as magical or mystical.
I really loved the characters as well, especially a Isabella Camhurst. She was crafted expertly as an independent and intelligent woman, but she was throughout the book believable because she acted as a "proper lady" of her social status. Modern, 21st century sensibilities were not foisted upon her and her character was crafted as someone, even as a progressive, during her time period.
If you removed the dragons here this definitely has elements similar to Jane Austen or the Master & Commander series, showing fun and convincing characters from a pre-industrial British style empire.
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So how is that D&D gaming thing going? Well, it is honestly going pretty well, at least for most of us. We have had a turnover in players recently. All of the new players in our group are really cool and easy going individuals. I believe everyone is having a good time, except for one guy who decided to leave. Not just leave our group. He left Meetup.com and I think left playing D&D.
We had an instance during our game session where our players had the opportunity to help a hill giant they came across. The one player really wanted to help this giant, while the rest of the group was just sort of "meh" on the idea. It probably took our group an hour to discuss what they wanted to do. In the end they chose not to help the giant and the player who wanted to had a meltdown right there at the table.
I was amazed to be honest. He got up and stormed out of the room after having a bit of a verbal tirade.
So this resulted in him not only leaving our playing group, but he quite the Meetup entirely. Thing is he was the main oganizer for the entire Meetup.com page. I received an email the next day asking me to take over and what do you know, a couple of weeks later I am not the organizer of the entire Meetup.com group.