Review: Dota Dragons Blood Book 2

Hmmm. To scathe or not to scathe.

‘DOTA: Dragon’s Blood’ Book 2 in the works • l!fe • The ...

I have a bit of a confession to make.

Waaaay back when in the ‘olden times’ when I started putting reviews online, I sorta hoped to be a snarky, critical and funny reviewer and tended to not hold back on negative reviews. Over the years, I’ve learnt a few things, namely that snarky is kinda what everyone wants to do, but is a little bit single-laned and risks just kinding being a jerk and not really making good connections for an aspiring writer.

Anywho the confession is that the second season or ‘book’ of Dota Dragon Blood made be want to be snarky again.

Instead I will mostly behave myself and try to breakdown and provide a fair review of the show. I didn’t really do a long review of the first season so will quickly summarize:

In general I though the first adaption was pretty good, the creators had been pretty effective in supplying a handful of game characters with strong development, a few original beats and generally carved an interesting storyline.

So come season 2. Interestingly a lot of the online discussion (at least on Reddit) has gone the opposite with what I’m used to with the internet and sort of been quite apologist with the season, stating a few pacing errors and underdevelopment (I’m used to any flaw in a show being lambasted angrily in entitled fashion)

But for me I found the season pretty, well, shit.

Other reviews have claimed pacing issues where they felt like story lines could have been dwelt on and enjoyed more fully, however I suspect the underlying issue is a lack of quality and the idea of spending more time on plot points makes me cringe.

It’s hard to explain without spoilers so consider from here on out a big SPOILER WARNING

I think the first issue comes from lore. Lore is always a challenging aspect of fantasy story-telling, I do feel like many fantasy stories have an issue where the introductory tales are that much more interesting because you tend to get vagabond type characters (exiled princess, innocent farm-hands etc) bouncing around in a fantasy setting and any magical world-building kind of just is what it is. As stories go on there are major challenges keeping consistent, and not losing good story elements in the mix of keeping up with the characters progression (e.g. as characters become mighty magicians, warriors and rules).

In Dragon’s blood I think this is evident, especially with Mirana who basically goes from being a relatively lonely exile to being enmeshed in the politics of the ‘Helio Imperium.’ In my opinion the politics didn’t really fit well with the Dota story, although this slides halfway into my next point, where the overall Lore and story get very blurry. We’ve got Terrorblade the big bad basically wanting to destroy reality, elder dragons which are essentially pillars of creation, and have a kind of aloof / dragon motivations for reality, Selemene, who a Moon Goddess, but its not too clear exactly where fits in with the other lore. Then we’ve got this empire that Mirana is struggling with, and Invoker who is up to something in the mix too.

I think the problem is not so much that there is too much going on, its that it becomes increasingly unclear as to the relevance of each matter to the situation. Something like Mirana having a clear motivation to rule the Empire in order to challenge Terrorblade, or knowing that political chaos helps the big bad or something. The twist that the trusted advisor character Kashurra was some sort of massive chaos dragon didn’t feel remotely logical, nor did Mirana’s reveal of being the ‘Worldwrym’

From a character point of view, Dragon’s blood felt weird, like leaning into the very idea that I thought the show was avoiding – having game characters just show up be like ‘I’m a main character now’ (or not) – a lot of fans seemed to like the portrayal of Lina, I found the character to violate most good story telling advice by essentially just being motivated by whatever the story wanted at the time, alongside having poorly timed and uninspired flashbacks.

Just to backtrack a bit – the season isn’t a total bust – there are some very cool animations and action sequences. There are some good moments throughout. I suspect the major problem is that if one were to do a beat by beat analysis and ask ‘what was the point of this?’ it would just be revealed to be a muddle.

In some peak irony, the story actually feels a lot more like a video game – e.g. the plot exists to create ever increasing action sequences until a final boss.

I am keen to see where the series goes from here. A lot of people are trying to say ‘don’t compare to Arcane’ but really I think its obvious which series is more worth the watch.

So – have you seen Dragon’s Blood – thoughts?

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