Path of the Dragon Mage: Exiled

by S.G. Seabourne

(LitRPG/GameLit)

Born magically talentless, Prince Corvus is an embarrassment the royal family and is removed from succession. However, he still has a chance to win back his throne. The next man or woman to hatch a dragon automatically becomes the ruler. Each member of the royal family is gifted with a dragon egg, but it is the work of a lifetime to hatch it.

The first time Corvus touches his dragon egg, he receives an odd notification: He has found a soulbound item and is tasked with an epic quest to hatch it... but only if he can walk the winding path of the dragon mage.

Armed with notifications, skill increases, and levels only he can see, Corvus is determined to hatch his dragon.

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S.G. Seabourne

S.G. Seabourne

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Noctis479
Overall

Interesting start so far! Early days as I'm only on the 4th chapter but the story is well written, and the premise seems interesting! 

The main character seems realistic, doesn't suffer from being either far too confident/smart for his age or a total wimp like many of the genre fall into.

Look forward to seeing where this goes!

Elliot_Flanders
Overall
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Story
Grammar
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How To Take Royal Road By Storm

Reviewed at: 13. A New Quest

Story: 4.5/5

After starting off strong with his first fiction Colonize, S.G. Seabourne has returned to enthrall readers with a gripping tale of magic and political intrigue. With Path of the Dragon Mage, the author has taken a classic formula and executed it with a high degree of skill—and then added an additional, compelling twist.

We begin the story by following Corvus, a noble youth seemingly without magical ability. His personality has been shaped by social rejection and feelings of inadequacy, and the author is meticulous in emphasizing this, as well as in depicting the dysfunction of his politically scheming family. With only a dormant dragon egg in his possession and the mysterious text of a system that appears before his eyes, Corvus soon finds himself thrust into unfamiliar circumstances that put his wits and resourcefulness to the test.

Many writers would be content with this tried-and-true structure for their story, but our author has some surprises up his sleeve. The inclusion of seemingly anachronistic terms like “photosynthesis” is clearly calculated, and indeed the story’s VR tag indicates that Corvus’s fantasy world is not as straightforward as it seems. The nature of the story’s system remains mysteriously unexplained, and we have no doubt that the LitRPG elements will play an integral role in the narrative. One minor issue keeps us from awarding a full five stars in this category (spoiler for chapter 8): 

The MC learns how to use magic in an anticlimactic way, with the knowledge he needed for a breakthrough being handed over on a silver platter. A major development of that nature deserved more buildup and effort on his part.

Style: 4.5/5

The author has an engaging, eminently readable style, varied in its imagery and competent in its descriptions of the protagonist’s thought processes and emotions. Without relying on flowery or ornate language, the author is also capable of crafting strikingly vivid scenes, as can be seen in this description of the king using magic:

There was no warning. The wall that separated the antechamber to the royal receiving room simply melted away as if the stones were made of soft wax. The stonework, marble, and the golden filigree puddled to the floor like liquid and ran in rivulets...

On the other hand, half a star has been deducted because a number of sentences are slightly awkward, or require minor tweaking; for example:

The violently pink egg was cool to the touch and inert in a way he couldn't quite explain. Like touching a stone statue completely without movement.

This sentence is perfectly understandable, but doesn’t feel quite right because “violently” should be “shocking” (a shocking pink) and the phrase “stone statue without movement” is a little odd, as it can be taken to imply that statues ordinarily do move. While little issues like these don’t come anywhere close to spoiling the reader’s enjoyment, they do crop up from time to time.

As for the story’s Lit-RPG elements, they are judiciously employed and clearly one of the story’s strengths. They are well written, appear when appropriate, and are not used as a crutch to compensate for proper story telling, or as superfluous padding to extend chapter length. Essentially, Path of the Dragon Mage is a hybrid story, midway between a conventional fantasy and a Lit-RPG. Thus far neither aspect outweighs the other, and the result is an agreeable read with much to appeal to fans of both genres.

The author does, however, have to make sure he preserves this healthy balance: in a recent chapter, the protagonist kept himself from weeping, which promptly unlocked the skill, “Emotional Control.” This may be a little excessive; our fear is that if “not crying” is a skill, the MC’s profile and skill list will quickly assume daunting proportions as the story progresses and more and more abilities are acquired. So long as this pitfall is avoided, the story will remain stylistically appealing up to its conclusion.

Grammar: 4/5

The author favors simple but functional sentence structures, and he is diligent in keeping the story’s tense consistent. On the other hand, there are a few niggles to point out: punctuation is occasionally missing, some commas are superfluous, and typos are not an uncommon sight. These issues are becoming less and less prominent as readers point out mistakes and the author fixes them, but it does mean that the story’s early chapters are generally smoother reads than its latest releases.

Characters: 4/5

Though the involving narrative will understandably draw and retain the interest of most readers, we must also make mention of the story's commendable characterization. The protagonist is convincingly presented as a self-doubting, well brought up noble youth, with whom we can readily sympathize. The product of a troubled upbringing, Corvus is clearly lacking in self-confidence, but not to a wearisome degree, and his character arc promises to be significant. Accordingly, we look forward to seeing his growth as the story unfolds.

As for the rest of the cast, some side characters (such as the MC’s father) have received less development than others, but there are hints of underlying depth. Many of the characters speak to Corvus with ulterior motives, and there is an ambiguity behind their words and actions that will keep readers wondering what twists and turns lie ahead in the narrative.

In terms of tone, from the royal Aunt Sunli to the rough-speaking Solt and the commoner Gwen, every character possesses a distinctive voice and we have no difficulty keeping track of who’s who. Where the author can improve is by accentuating class differences; though the dialogue of nobles and commoners certainly differs, the effect could be strengthened by making peasant speech more dialectal, or noble speech more elevated.

Overall: 4.5/5

The author has laid an excellent foundation for a highly entertaining coming of age story. A must for LitRPG and fantasy fans alike!

Chipcarver
Overall

This story is just starting out, and already the main character has a well developed personality. The story is exciting, but also even-paced. The idea of several different types of magic working together in the same world is quite intriging. I can't wait for the dragons egg to hatch! - - - -

msng
Overall
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Interesting Story of an Underdog with a System

Reviewed at: 22. Dual Wield

Appealing story about a young royal who strives to learn magic and hatch his dragon egg, despite his lack of innate magical talent. He has little parental support or respect from those around him, but he has an advantage over others in that he has a litrpg system that provides him with a potential way to change his fate. The writing style is clear and engaging, while the spelling and grammar are generally good (though there are a few minor errors).

The story handles the family drama and politics in an interesting manner and contains a few twists and turns that help drive the story forward. The characters are also pretty interesting, though the only one that we have really been exposed to in any great detail is Corvus, the Main Character; which is not too bad considering there are only 22 chapters currently and that he is quite interesting in himself. He has some fairly stereotypical MC traits (e.g. personal parental issues, intelligent but naïve, physically weak, etc.) but the author is able to mix and portray these traits in a very engaging manner that makes Corvus seem genuine and someone readers can empathise with. Corvus has strengths, but he also has his own set of weaknesses that seem realistic and don’t require him to act like an idiot to generate drama. The side characters are not portrayed with too much depth at the moment, but they seem more rounded and genuine than the stereotypical stock characters that often populate fantasy stories. Hopefully this will only improve as more chapters come out and more is revealed about these other characters.

The story is still relatively new and the chapter release rate is quite fast, so I will update my review as the story continues. Hope this helps.

Review initially written when Chapter 18 was the latest chapter. Updated when Chapter 22 was the latest chapter.

Owlish
Overall

tldr: I like it, give the first few chapters a try.

The fancy cover caught my eye, thought I'd give it a read. It's fun, clearly going to be a The Chosen One Saves The Kingdom kind of High Fantasy book. The GameLit elements are strong, after a certain point in time dang near everything become a Skill for out hero.

Grammar is good, with a couple of errors that don't really disrupt the flow. Characters are flawed, and everyone has a secret. Or more.

Jetzer2232
Overall

Everything has got me invested.

Reviewed at: 22. Dual Wield

Author manages to develop characters enough to make me care about them, especially the side characters who don't get as much screen time. They all have distinct mannerisms.

There's some interesting mysterious being uncovered gradually and I look forward to reading about them. Besides all that though, this story heavily features dragons. Dragons are very cool and this is an especially welcome feature of the story. 

Galaxy876
Overall

Very engaging. A promise of more to come

Reviewed at: 22. Dual Wield

The premise starts out fairly simple: scorned noble, power trip, journey to king. There are several hints of the world at large that feels like not everything is quite as simple as it seems. As far as characters go, while you won't be completely attached to any in particular, it is interesting to see the path the MC walks on, and where his decisions take him. Very solid start. 10/10 would recommend.

Eritis sicut Diabolus
Overall

Its really not that bad, but its not that good either. The LitRPG elements seriously detract from the story in an incredibly painful way. The story itself is fairly generic but does do justice to the tried and true formula.

The gamelit overshadows much of the story once its introduced, calling the MC a player and making the story almost into an overt video game, but not even a well done one. If it was less in your face and better integrated I wouldn't be as annoyed. Also the names of the creatures are just... really bad. "Ratkin" "Lupis Wolf" yuck.

 

Publius Decius Mus
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

As the title said, we are dealing with the well-known and beloved "zero to hero" type story. It's fun, it's loveable and it's smooth sailing so far.

Style:

Nothing too fancy, but it is very decent and dependable. The author is a capable wordsmith, who knows the ins and outs of his trade. I liked it.

Story:

Well executed. The one thing I found lacking so far is the execution of fights. If this had been your average litrpg, mind you, I might have let it go. But the rest of the book raised the bar so high that I couldn't help but notice that the fights are not up to par.

Especially the rats. They are a SWARM, goddamnit. Swarms, for a lack of better word... swarm their enemies. They do not let themselves be defeated piecemal by default. The childen were out in the open without effective chokepoints. The fight, even with the help of the horses, would have been over before it started, and it wasn't Corvus&co who would have won.

Also description of Solt about the fight agains the demons is strange. Shield wall doesn't work like this. And in a world with the kind of magic we have seen, shieldwall is of dubious effectiveness anyway. A mage like King Orphus would massacre entire formations in no time.

Grammar:

There are mistakes and the author hadn't had time to fix everything that was pointed out to him in the comments. But he fixed a lot of it, so I imagine he will come around to fix them all in time.

Character:

Corvus is a very intriguing and relatable protagonist. His family is equally interesting in its twisted and villainous way. Other side characters are less fleshed out so far, but there is still time for them to become more interesting.

Overall this is a very well-witten book and it is easy to understand how it got on to the top of trending.

whistler
Overall

Characters are fleshed out, all with their own motives. The plot has a concrete direction, and has always felt interesting and fresh so far. Well-written drama and mystery are also present, spicing up everything else. 

Good worldbuilding, the world feels detalied and lived in, with it's own history and events we're not privy to as of yet.  Features a well-developed magic system that, while not all aspects are revealed yet, is easy to grasp yet complex.