Megazaur2: Akysha's Fury
by Brian Poor
Before I begin, I should write that I never read the first Magazaur, so some of
my initial confusion in understanding this setting would probably not have
occurred had I read it. However, the author included a very detailed "Meglapedia"
at the end of the novel. There aren't any spoilers in it, and I recommend anyone
read that first before getting to the actual story. I wish I had as it would
have made things much more clear in the beginning. Despite my initial confusion
while sorting things out, this novel can certainly stand alone, and a reader
does not have to have read the first volume in order to enjoy it.
The story takes place on Hysteria, a planet where in at least one small section, men and dinosaurs co-exist in a god-ordered symbiosis which protects environmental balances. Certain humans can mentally connect with certain dinosaurs, and together, they can make an efficient fighting team. The humans were divided into 12 city-state-type groups (omadas), each with one type of dinosaur to which their Megazaurs (the men who have this ability) can connect.
Some escaped slaves have formed a 13th omada, which the chief god despises, but the other 12 have not been able to destroy it. This story opens with Akysha, a general in the 13th Omada's fighting forces, and the only known female Megazaur, leading a force to assist another omada in ridding the forest of a plague of necroraptors (a fictional homage to Jurassic Park's smaller but real velociraptors.) Akysha has a god-given gift which makes her a superb fighter, and she rides a giganotosaur, a large carnivore larger than a T-rex. Meanwhile, rumblings of war between the 12 omadas are heard.
The entire story and setting is rather unique and refreshing. I think I smiled like a kid opening his Christmas presents as I uncovered each fact and aspect of Hysteria. The author's imagination is really impressive.
Characterization in this novel is uniformly superb. All of the characters have their own voice, their own thought patterns, and their specific characteristics. And these characteristics are not static. They grow and adjust as the situation changes. I particularly liked how Akysha was this kick-ass fighter, but she was not a man in a woman's skin. She was still female through-and-through. I also appreciated that while she was in charge of her group of fighters, she was not the next Sun Tzu, but rather struggled a bit with leadership, feeling much more comfortable with a sword in her hands. I also liked how Serak, a T-rex Megazaur, grew and changed over the course of the story.
The pace of the novel was pretty good. I am not one to enjoy dream sequences, but the ones in this novel didn't bog the flow too much.
Editing was pretty fair, but misuse of words was a bit annoying. Several times, for example, the word "instinct" was used instead of "extinct." But at least the editing was better than in some recent novels I have read.
My main problem with the story was in scientific accuracy. Oh, I will give the author the communal abilities of the necroraptors. They are his creation, after all, and some poetic license needs to be granted. I have a harder time with the pterodactyls. First they aren't even dinosaurs. Second, the name is no longer in use (pterodactylus is the accepted name now.) But by any name, this flying reptile was about the size of a smallish dog, and they certainly could not carry a passenger. Even if the author really meant the pteranodon, which was much bigger, it still would be unable to carry a human passenger, much less two with one wearing armor. In the story, rain can bring one down, but two people seem to be within its capabilities. There were also quite a few mistakes in size descriptions, with some dinosaurs being way too big (24 feet at the shoulder for one) or way too small (a giganotosaur weighing 3,000 pounds instead of a more probable 20,000 pounds.)
A huge target market for this book would probably be the dinophiles out there, people who may not typically be in the fantasy market. And these people tend to be quite knowledgeable about dinosaurs. So I think it is pretty important, when writing a book like this that the science is as accurate as possible and up-to-date with current thinking. If the story needed an air corps, so to speak, then "invent" a new species of pterosaur just as the necroraptors were invented.
Normally, the mistakes made would result in lower review from me. But the fact is that I really enjoyed the book, and that is the bottom line. I intend to go back and read the first volume, and I eagerly await the third volume. I may have a few issues with facts, but I have no issues with the core value of the book. I heartily recommend it to everyone.
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