Friday, April 16, 2010

The Sand Dragon by Michael F. Stewart

This newest novel by Michael Stewart brings a fresh, new (to me, at any rate) angle to the popular dragons and vampires. An uncovered skeleton, presumed to be a dinosaur, sparks a series of traumatic events in a small town. Madness, disease, and terror run rampant as townsfolk are "infected" by an unknown malady. A small group of people remain to save the day, and perhaps the world.

I found the beginning of this book a little jumpy. I often felt like I was missing paragraphs here and there, if not whole pages. Scenes would spontaneously switch and I'd spend a few minutes backtracking, trying to figure it out. At first, I also found the mining lingo confusing - having no prior knowledge of it at all. But that was easily overcome as the story picked up. The characters were real and believable - a rarity in horror novels for me. Kim seems to be the main character throughout the book and I really started to feel attached to her. Jaime was another favorite. His trasformation - both literally and figuratively - was amazing to witness. His fiance, Alice, irked me in many ways but I rather think she was supposed to.

The mythos and legends in this book were lots of fun. They reminded me of the brilliant blending of belief systems in Stewart's previous book 24 Bones. I've read a lot of vampire novels, and this one was definitely unique. The concept of their creation and purpose as well as their evolution was just amazing. The dragons, as well, were taken portayed in a way I've never encountered before.

If you're looking for a new take on some old favorites, I highly recommend this book. It's quick to read, action packed, and ever-so-slightly spooky. I think I'll be haunted by thoughts of the power generator at Kim's mother's house for many days to come.

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