THE DRAGON’S PAWN is the second book in Mitchell Karnes 4 part series. TLC Online Book Tours sent me a copy of THE PACT to review previously. I was working with a fine fellow named Travis with reading, and we immediately opened the book and worked our way through the story. Travis does not pay Warriors and Thieves but does play numerous computer strategy games. He so enjoyed the book and we shared that with Mr. Karnes and he graciously sent signed copies of THE DRAGON’S PAWN to Travis and me. Travis read this book by himself and just thought it was wonderful and is now hopeful for the arrival of the third book in the series.
THE DRAGON’S PAWN seemed a bit of a more difficult read and more grown up themes and I thought I would get a different opinion from my 12 year old neighbor and avid reader Nya. I offered her an opportunity to publish her review, she accepted the assignment. Mitchell Karnes also sent her a signed copy of THE PACT and THE DRAGON’s PAWN. So in her own words Nya wrote:
The Dragons Pawn ~A book review by Nya Uberman
The Dragon’s Pawn, by Mitchel S. Karnes is the second book in the four-part Canaanshade Journeys. In the first book, The Pact, four friends make two pacts, the first that they would always be friends and the second that they will always play Warriors and Thieves. Now, twenty-four years later, both pacts have been broken. Out of the four friends only Chris still plays Warriors and Thieves; he is dying of cancer.
After Luke thinks he sees his Warriors and Thieves character Bentheos telling him to set up one last game between the four friends, and Chris starts a new cancer treatment called hypnosensory therapy where he can mentally go into and move about a forest; helping with steady breathing patterns and (hopefully) healing him, Luke convinces the others to play again. Chris decides to hold the game in the hypnosensory center, so that way they can experience the game as if they were really in it.
The four men gather together to play their game in the hypnosensory world of Canaanshade. At first it seems wonderful. They are finally in the world of their childhood game, but when their human consciences start slipping away and threatening to leave them entirely, without a clue about who they really are, the game takes a downward turn.
Bentheos takes over Luke’s mind and attempting to wage war on the rest of Canaanshade’s inhabitants and become king of the entire world of Canaanshade. All seems lost for Luke as Bentheos tries to assassinate his friend’s characters in the hope that that will bring him complete control. Killing the characters could also kill the real players.
Meanwhile, along with Scott’s character, Garrett’s wife – Lea, the three other friend’s characters head away from the elf kingdom to slay a red and black dragon whose destruction is the goal of the game and must be destroyed before they can will themselves out of the game. Little do they know, however, a friend has already ‘sold them out’ to the dragon and the game becomes more deadly and dangerous.
Steve, the man who is serving as game master for this game has been disguised as a stumpy old wizard known as a Gnorf whose job it is to track each player, arrange the game, and serve as a sort of god for the world of Canaanshade. He has been captured by Bentheos who thinks that having a game master under his control will make him even more powerful and fit to rule than before.
Without a game master to monitor the game it gets more deadly than before. Because, little do they know, another force is also trying to get them killed and therefore keep another set of promises and deals. When Chris is almost killed by two of the dragon’s demonic servants and is brought back to life by a divine force he realizes that although the dragon’s pawn is powerful, hope is not lost and with the help of Steve, he and Scott can turn the tide and leave the game with Paul and Luke before it is too late.
The Dragons Pawn, by Mitchell S. Karnes was not the kind of book that I normally read. I personally found it slightly confusing but I think this might be because I don’t know anything about the game Warriors and Thieves and you kind of need to understand the game to get the book. But, although I didn’t enjoy it very much and couldn’t relate to the characters, the writing was good and it might appeal more to somebody who plays Warriors and Thieves or some other related game.
I thought Nya did an excellent job and I too was confused because I do not play these types of games. I might suggest that the author write a short companion book of the description and rules of the game. The book continued with some excellent communication skills and techniques which were begun in the original story when the characters were in middle school. That the adults were heavy with adult problems and not so emotionally mature when in crisis mode in the second story was not so troubling once they entered into the game.
I look forward to reading books three and four in the series. Thank you so much Mitchell Karnes for keeping the story moving along and expanding.
NOTE: From Wikipedia, there is a game called Dungeons and Dragons and reading a bit about the gameplay was helpful for me