Bitterwood by James Maxey was published in July 2007. The book is an interesting blend of the science fiction and fantasy genres. From the beginning of the novel the fantasy elements are evident with the presence of dragons. While not so obvious in the beginning, the elements of science fiction appear as the story moves along and the background of the world is revealed.
The novel begins with a ceremony held by dragons to determine a possible heir to the throne. The ceremony is disrupted when Bant Bitterwood, infamous dragon hunter, slays King Albekizan’s favored son Bodiel. Mad with grief, Albekizan decides it is time to wipe out all of humanity within his kingdom. The dragon is well aware that to wage open war against humans is to give humanity a chance to unite and defeat their reptilian overlords. Instead, King Albekizan works with the “Murder God” to devise a Free City, a trap to lure in humans and slowly kill them. However, humans and dragons alike will not sit by and abide by this genocide. It is a race against time to stop Albekizan’s mad scheme and one can only wonder if anyone will survive the massacre.
Is Bitterwood worth reading? Most people who have read the novel feel it is a bit too generic. That is not to say the novel is boring, simply that there is nothing truly captivating about the novel. As far as fantasy and science novels go, Bitterwood is a decent book that is worth reading if it falls into an area of interest for you. The story, setting, and characters are all well-developed and believable. Overall I would give James Maxey’s Bitterwood a B- because it is a decent book, however, it falls short of being a novel that will stand out amongst others on the bookshelf.