Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here are me honest musings . . .
the waking fire (Anthony Ryan)
Title: the waking fire
Author: Anthony Ryan
Publication Date: currently July 5, 2016
This is a novel with dragons and pirates and spies oh my! At 592 pages this is an epic fantasy of a book and is the first of Mr. Ryan’s new series, The Draconis Memoria. In the Arradsian Continental Holdings, there are four types of dragons – Red, Green, Black, and Blue. Certain people can use this drake blood to do cool things by ingesting it. The poem of its uses:
Blue for the mind. Green for the body. Red for the fire. Black for the push.
And yet there is a myth about a White drake. Does it exist? If so, what does its blood do? Well ye can read this book and find out. But some thoughts before ye do.
- I loved the distinction between the types of dragons. Each color has particular ways of living and fighting. Black dragons of course were me favorite. But be aware that there are not enough fulfilling dragon encounters in this book. Lots of humans and dragons fighting but the dragons seemingly were a side note to their blood. The dragon blood got WAY more conversation then the dragons themselves. Sad.
- Loved the character development overall. I found the three main perspectives of Clay (adventurer), Lizanne (spy) and Hilemore (sailor) to be both engaging and unique. Hilemore was me favorite and not just because he was a sailor (Arrrrr!). It was nice to get good female characters in this book like Tekala (girl) and Zenida (pirate). I also liked Steelfine (Islander) and Braddon (head adventurer) a whole bunch too. The characters kept me reading even though I had some problems with the plot.
- The White: The sections dealing with finding out the secret of the myth of the White were some of the weaker parts of the book to me. The mysteries surrounding it were just not fun and way too drawn out. Lots of wandering around with no real objective and then heading in a direction where the adventurers happen to find a random clue that leads them to wandering some more for another random clue. And the thing with the Artisan and damn box made me crazy. With no explanation and only more mystery at the end. Ugh.
- Clay: I liked the character a whole bunch but his sections of the book had him making mistakes the entire time in terms of decision making and who he trusted. I mean the foreshadowing was so bad that I kept thinking to myself that I had to be wrong because it couldn’t be that simple. Ugh. And the relationship with his uncle Braddon was just plain annoying.
- The evil ones: the politics and world building of this novel were a little weak. I wasn’t always sure who exactly the bad people were supposed to be. The Emperor and Morradin, for sure; they seemed to have that stereotype of being bad guys for just the sake of money and power with no underlying philosophy or thoughts. The politics seemed weak and included just so there could be a war and some battle scenes.
- Battle scenes: I actually liked many of them. This book even had a siege which I didn’t completely hate. Many of the fights with the dragons were fun. I did not, however, like a lot of the deus ex machina of the battle scenes. There were multiple sections where character A (good guys) are fighting character B (bad guys) and are outnumbered and doomed when suddenly out of nowhere something happens (usually involving Blues) and suddenly character A is magically saved!
- Plot twists: There were a couple of truly not fun plot twists. Some dead people that should have stayed dead. Some relationship issues that I would have preferred to not exist. An ending to the book was supposed to be a plot twist but wasn’t.
- Dragon chomping: To end on a happy note, there was one particular human that got chomped that made me super frickin happy.
So I guess overall I wanted more from this novel. I found it dragging in places and it was extremely hard to get through. I was extremely conflicted writing this review because there was a lot of good in the novel in terms of ideas and characters and yet it just wasn’t a cohesive enough whole for me. I don’t even know if I liked enough of this to read the next book in the series. A shame too because I normally adore all books with dragons in them. But I was grateful for the chance to give this book a shot.
So lastly . . .
Thank you Ace!
The publisher had this to say about the novel:
Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from the veins of captive or hunted Reds, Green, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that give fearsome powers to the rare men and women who have the ability harness them—known as the blood-blessed.
But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighboring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly. The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.
Claydon Torcreek is a petty thief and an unregistered blood-blessed, who finds himself pressed into service by the protectorate and sent to wild, uncharted territories in search of a creature he believes is little more than legend. Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin, facing gravest danger on an espionage mission deep into the heart of enemy territory. And Corrick Hilemore is the second lieutenant of an ironship, whose pursuit of ruthless brigands leads him to a far greater threat at the edge of the world.
As lives and empires clash and intertwine, as the unknown and the known collide, all three must fight to turn the tide of a coming war, or drown in its wake.
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