Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Review: The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

 The Rage of Dragons
Author: Evan Winter
Series: The Burning #1
Genre: Epic Fantasy/War
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: February 12th, 2019
Edition: Kindle Edition, 578 pages
Source: Library

   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.

   I wish hadn't needed to "rush" my reading experience with this book. Since I got it from the library I had 20 days to finish it and that is plenty of time, I would have preferred to savor this book. This is an intense read. A lot happens and the MC, Tau, goes through some shit. And being in his head for most of the book it hardly felt like I had time to take a breath before something else happened to him. 

   I can see why this book has some mixed reviews. This book has a heavy focus on Tau and his journey and training. There isn't that much focus on the world-building outside the military or on many of the other characters. For some that might not be enough for the first book. But I think that is kind of the point. Tau and his path are supposed to be the focus. And I think as the series goes on, we discover more about the world. I also got an inkling that what most have been told isn't the whole truth. There is an event that happens near the end of the book that hints I might be on to something, maybe. 

   I do however think this book could have benefitted from a POV chapter from Zuri. A childhood friend of Tau, who possibly had insight into some things Tau didn't encounter firsthand in this book. I think her perspective could have been useful. Some of the side characters do get pov chapters, and I think hers could have been nice.

   What I think is great about this book is the MC, Tau, he doesn't become the best because of anything inherently special about himself. He becomes the best through intense training and sacrifice. There's none of that trope where the MC is just naturally amazing for no reason beyond plot armor. And there are moments when it makes you question how and if he'll get out of things. I have no idea if he'll make it to the end of this series. Only two books are out and I have the second on hold at the library. So when I get to that one, I guess I'll see.

   This book, at times, did feel too long. Or maybe it was that some things that were given a lot of page time maybe didn't need it as much as some of the scenes that felt rushed for me. There is a lot to talk about with this book, that feels like spoilers for me. 

   I very much look forward to the second book. I hope my hold isn't too-too long. (But I'm also okay with waiting, I have a lot of other books I need to get through right now) I'm also very glad that a few months ago when I first tried to read this I put it back on hold for when I was in the right head space. Had I forced myself to read it then I don't think I would have enjoyed it. And this has made it to my favorites list.

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