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REVIEW: Dagger Star by Elizabeth Vaughan

Dear Ms. Vaughan,

Dagger StarJane and I have both heaped love on all three books of your “Warlord” series. To me they seemed fresh, new and filled with characters I loved. I dove into each one eagerly anticipating it. Okay, maybe the sweat stuff in book two dragged on too long but that series rocked for me.

When Jane told us she had our advanced copy of “Dagger Star,” I was psyched. A new book (a new series?) for me to enjoy. And it started off fine. A dark and stormy night, two exhausted warrior women, a devastated land, a mysterious man. You threw in some sexual tension, some humor, another mystery about the heroine and I settled into this world. Evil is afoot here, times are hard, lawlessness rules the land. Obviously there’s going to be a showdown. And that’s about when things started to slide into too much. Just too much.

We get warriors, a scarred man, magic goats, a High Priestess, portals, goats, an elf, a mysterious injured man, goats, magic (thank you for not using the spelling magick), more warriors, a Chosen, dead warriors, Barons -rogue, drunk and Elf, more Chosen, warrior training, Raiders and a spider statue, children, pigs, goats again, a High Mage, wild magic, goats, battles, Elves, redemption and, oh yes, goats. On and on and on.

Every chapter brought new elements to the story, new people to learn about, new points of view to read and try and remember and after a short while, I got so tired of being hit up with yet one more addition to all I was mentally keeping track of. The humor felt forced and unfunny and as for the romance, it seemed to get stuck in a rut that left me unsatisfied and bored. And to top it off, despite all the different things mentioned and added to the story, the middle dragged far too long and the ending was too rushed.

I would guess that there are more books planned for this story because I certainly ended it with a lot of unanswered questions. Why this and how that? What was the reason to include this element and why did I slog through this entire book to still not know the reason for the goats? It could have been good, it might even have been very good but in the end it was just a mish mash of too darn much. D


This book can be purchased in mass market at Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Jia
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 17:35:03

    I was curious to see what a primarily romance reader thought of this book since I found the romance bits weak. I actually thought this book was more fantasy (albeit a very generic one) rather than fantasy romance, but perhaps I’m not the best judge of that.

    Your review brought up a good point though. I think fantasy readers are more used to casts of thousands and lots of elements, so I didn’t even blink when new things came up one after another. But that is a very good point. It definitely is a lot of information to throw at people and then expect them to retain it.

    I always find it interesting to see how reading background colors the perception of a book.

  2. Jayne
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 17:52:33

    I felt the romance was very weak. I’m not surprised at that from a secondary romance but from the primary…no, I needed more. And after a certain point in their relationship, I felt it was pretty much already worked out regardless of the fact that the story wasn’t over. So, no real conflict leads to a dull ending.

    As for the endless cast of thousands, it wouldn’t have bothered me if this was book 4 in a 12 book series and but all of this on one book was making my eyes cross trying to keep track of it.

  3. veinglory
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 17:53:39

    I’m a fantasy reader and the billion points of veiw approach is one of the most annoying traits of the genre that I comb each synopsis looking for. Just like thug-alpha ‘heroes’ in romance. I think there is a different between an accepted feature of a genre and a lazy vice of a genre.

  4. Jan
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 18:28:26

    Jayne, you must have missed the post at Dear Bitches. Those goats must be were-goats.

  5. Jayne
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 18:39:38

    Because only were-goats actually have those 18 inch long corkscrewing…but wait a minute, I don’t remember reading anything like that in the book!

  6. Jan
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 18:54:49

    That’s a surprise for the next few books. In book two, the heroine is rescued by three goat brothers from a troll that lives under a bridge. She goes for the youngest wild goat. In the third book the middle sensitive quiet goat meets a farm girl who’s always wanted to try bestiality. And in the last book the head of the goat family, who’s often confused with Satan, meets a nun who’s willing to be defrocked.

  7. Jayne
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 19:04:53

    Jeez, I knew some publishers were going to extremes to pander to the outer levels of kink but didn’t realize that goat-porn was on the horizons already. I think I’ll pass.

    Okay, just to clarify, there’s no goat nastiness in this book nor any sign that such is intended in any future books. Just saying…

  8. Jan
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 19:56:56

    Yes, we’re joking. Goat-sex fetishists will need to look elsewhere (and frankly I hope they don’t come here in the first place. I’m all for chacun à son goût, but that’s goût, not goat).

  9. loonigrrl
    Apr 02, 2008 @ 00:55:19

    I was thinking today about the sheer crappiness of this book and how much I didn’t want to read another page. It’s like the Warprize trilogy was written by a completely different author. I just don’t get it. How do you go from that . . . to this??? Ugh. Yeah, I’d give it a D, too.

  10. Jayne
    Apr 02, 2008 @ 07:30:44

    Jane and I agreed that this book suffers from too high expectations on our part. After the Warprize trilogy, we were set for more greatness and as you say, we got…this. To me it felt like she tried to cram three novels worth of stuff into one.

  11. Jane
    Apr 02, 2008 @ 09:04:03

    It’s hard to decide whether the book would have been good on its own without the preceding “War” series. I agree, loonigrrl, that it reads like it was from a different author entirely.

  12. Suze
    Apr 02, 2008 @ 22:42:00

    I really enjoyed Warprize, and couldn’t wait for the next one, but never finished it. Got the third one, and quit pretty early on with that, too. Warprize was fabulous, the rest of the trilogy just ran out of steam for me.

  13. Radish
    Apr 04, 2008 @ 13:25:09

    *snickering in my coffee at the review*

    Wow, Jayne, sounds like E.V. got your goat! Actually, it sound like she got all the goats.

    Was there possibly something Freudian [or Jungian] about all those goats?

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