Evan Luck exists, but he hasn’t lived for a long time, not since the tragic death of his beloved dragon. Now, Evan’s a washed up dragon rider without a dragon who ekes out a living as a blacksmith in one of the few strongholds left in the United States. In Forge, humanity is barely hanging on as the outside attacks from a variety of aggressive and dangerous monsters continues unabated. For Evan, it seems like only a matter of time before the monsters win.
And then he meets Lee Caldwell and his young son, Jason. Newcomers to Forge, Lee and Jason have money and prestige, both things the ragged Evan has long since lost. When Lee approaches Evan about tutoring and training his son, Evan agrees to do so reluctantly. As time passes, Evan finds himself caring about Jason and Lee, but he knows he has no place in their world. But when a threat to the city forces Lee to reveal a stunning and game-changing secret, Evan must put his faith in the impossible and stand with Lee to save the Forge and all they hold dear.
Luckless is the first book in the Luckless series, involving Evan Luck and his eventual lover, Lee Caldwell. These are novellas that read very quickly and tend to focus on the big picture rather than getting too detailed.
Evan and Lee are both compelling, though Lee is definitely more of a mystery for most of the book. The reasons for this are made clear towards the end of Luckless, but there are times Lee reads as more of an enigma than a fully developed character. Evan is broken man and one who seems to be going through the motions of life until he meets Lee. His pain and desperation to be loved and accepted are palpable and make him a sympathetic character right from the start. He’s talented as a smith, but it’s clear he was born to be a dragon rider and since the death of his dragon, he’s just struggling to get by.
The first three fourths of Luckless is well paced and engaging. The last bit certainly held my interest, but reads as rushed and a tad haphazard. I think part of that involves Lee’s revelation and how it’s handled, which is awkwardly. But also I just feel this section of the story is too unbalanced when compared to the rest of the plot. This is, ultimately, a mild issue and didn’t overly detract from my enjoyment. I just wanted more and to have the ending fleshed out completely. There is some decent world building and while not every aspect of the how and why of the monsters and their presence is fully explained, there’s enough to get a basic idea of what’s happening. Hopefully this is expanded upon in future series installments.
I enjoyed Luckless and found myself engaged from the start of the book. Both Evan and Lee are interesting characters, but Evan definitely steals the show. The ending read as somewhat uneven and lacking in structure, but that didn’t leave Luckless unreadable. Far from it. As a series, this one has started out strong and I’m looking forward to book 2, Dauntless. Consider this one recommended, especially for fans of post apocalyptic fantasies.