Black Leviathan
Written by Bernd Perplies translated by Lucy Van Cleef
Publisher: TOR
Pages: 331
Reviewed by: Keturah Barchers

Lian Draksmasher is the son of Lonjar Draksmasher, a well-known dragon hunter who has unfortunately become a drunk in his old age. The story takes place on a ship that traverses the sky, called the Cloudmere, as a boat crosses the water. Lian finds himself in trouble and sneaks away on board the vessel Carryola to keep from getting killed. He and his friend Canto find themselves among some pretty rough company, as one needs to be when it comes to hunting dragons, but none is more hardened then Captain Adaron. The captain’s festering hate for dragons runs deep and infects the crew with lust for dragon’s blood. Amidst learning how to hunt dragons, Lian struggles to find his identity and the balance of compassion and the anger that comes with being a hunter. Lian’s journey takes him through the heights of the skies to the depths of the Cloudmere. It finally leads him to an understanding about dragons–an understanding that his captain refuses to understand to the determent of them all.

Black Leviathan is a page-turner with a lot of tension and mystery. In this world, dragons are essential for human society, and they are a highly sought after commodity. Bernd uses our whaling history to create a unique perspective on how humans could come to depend on dragons. The book is filled with unique characters with the bird-like Taijirin, the dog-faced Nondurier, and scaly Drak creating a rich world that you enjoy being a part of.

For a dragon lover, this piece is different from the usual fantastical story and worth some consideration. However, the reader should be fair warned that there are some gaps in the storyline. Lian has a magical spear that he isn’t sure how to use. The language of the story suggests that the reader and Lian will learn new and exciting things about this spear, but the answers about it are unclear and not readily forthcoming. A blooming romance emerges, but it doesn’t have much of a lead-in and takes the reader off guard when it’s suddenly there. These are forgivable oversights as the world is interesting and Lian is engaging. However, there is one unfulfilled promise regarding the most sought after dragon that is devastating to the story and really shouldn’t have been included because it fell so flat ( I refuse to give more detail on that since it would be a spoiler).

Be that as it may, it is possible that these holes are not so much of an oversight as the reader’s desire to stay longer in the story. If a dragon lover is looking for a different kind of story, they may want to consider this book and enjoy the winks to the long-celebrated classic: Moby Dick.

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