Hello Humans! I’ve been on a real fantasy kick lately (by which I mean fantasy that is not YA), I feel like this is the time of year for fantasy releases and my shelves are bowing under the weight of all the amazing books!
One such book sent to me by the delightful people at Orbit books (you’ll be seeing them quite a few times in the coming weeks) was Evan Winter’s The Rage of Dragons.
I’ve talked about this in my August wrap-up but I had a few thoughts on this book that I wanted to share!
Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.
There was a lot about this book that I enjoyed. I had two friends who had DNF’d this book so you could argue I went in with fairly low expectations – I also think I benefit from not having read a lot of adult fantasy over the years so things do tend to feel a little less trope-y to me than they might for others. So with those caveats, let’s get into the review.
This book has some great moments within the story, it has a few what I like to call ‘lightbulb moments’ where the character suddenly works out the solution to a problem. These are some of my absolute favourite things in any novel and I was pleased to find them here. I also enjoyed the ‘training montage’ moments within this story which I felt were written really well.
This is not a book for someone who doesn’t enjoy fight scenes, it’s pretty relentless in that aspect, which can be a pro or a con depending on your perspective.
One thing that did sadden me was the lack of women in this book. It is a known fact that fantasy books, particularly epic fantasy of this style, have a problem with including female characters and it was dissapointing that a new voice on the scene chose not to include more than about three women across the whole book. That’s been a concern I’ve seen from a number of readers, so I’m hoping that will be reflected in the later books of this series – only time will tell.
I did think the world-building in this story was pretty cool and I can’t think of a book that does anything similar (though I am not as well-read as I might want to be). I liked the dragon-calling parts of the book and I hope that the later books go into some more detail about how magic works and why it works that way. That’s my jam – what can I say – I love a magic system!
There’s a lot to like about this book, the writing is good, the plot is interesting, the world is cool. It’s quite a long book that might have benefitted from fewer fight scenes but that might just be me. What I find hard to forgive is that lack of women – and it’s really dissapointing that I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this book (to those who like this genre).
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
The Rage of Dragons is available now!
What say you? What other books like this have you read? Let me know in the comments below!