Hey there Bookwyrms! It has been quite a while since my last blog post. Almost a month, in fact. And that’s because I’ve been in a review/blog slump. It happens at least once a year for me, where I either don’t feel like giving full reviews for books, or I just run out of content ideas. But I’m here to say that I think I’m back to my regular schedule!
So, without further ado, let’s get into this Sunday Funday Review!
Synopsis – Goodreads
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.
The Great: I absolutely adored the main and side characters and their development!
Tau Solarin has my heart and soul! He is hands down one of the best main characters that I’ve encountered this year. And knowing that his journey hasn’t come to an end, makes me extremely excited for the next book! Evan Winter did a great job of developing Tau’s character throughout the story. And when I say throughout I mean it. From beginning to end, you watch Tau grow, come into his own, fight and defend, make friends, exact vengeance and so much more. And I’m still trying to figure Tau out after finishing, The Rage of Dragons!
The side characters, specifically; Jabari, Jayyed, Hadith, Uduak, Chinedu, and Yaw all have distinct voices and became my own personal sword brothers. Often times I felt like I was fighting alongside yet also against them. They felt so three-dimensional! And with a massive cast like this one, it’s really easy for side characters to get lost in the fray. But these six, from the moment they splashed onto the pages, kept and held my attention. These characters inspired me in so many ways, but more specifically in my writing.
Another side character I didn’t expect to fall in love with, is Kellan Okar. And that’s all I’m going to say so that I can avoid spoiling it for ya’ll lol
I also really enjoyed the plot and sub-plots. The main overarching plot was fairly obvious from a certain point in the story. And it definitely takes you on a whirlwind of a journey. It was well-thought out and executed! And if I’m being honest, it isn’t fully resolved/wrapped up in this first book. So you definitely have to continue reading the series to find out more.
The various sub-plots, which aided the journey were also intriguing and well written. I usually don’t consider romance in fantasy a sub plot. However for this book, I feel it kind of is. The romance between Zuri and Tau is not at the forefront of the story but it’s there and it makes you feel things. Winter made me pine, lose hope, regain it and lose it over and over again. And for that, I thank him. This book is about war and war does damage not to just the body but also the soul. And through all of their respective dangers, I fell in love with their love.
Lastly, the world-building and magic system were absolutely phenomenal! And I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit intimidated by the Glossary (super helpful reference while reading btw) and the caste system and even the map. However, Winter seamlessly weaves the information you need into the story. So much so, that you don’t realize just how much you’ve caught onto and are apart of the story. You’re not just reading about the Omehi people and their system and traditions. You become apart of them. And that is hands down the best experience to have while reading high fantasy! *chef’s kiss*
The Good: Now if you aren’t new here, you know I always mention and discuss pace/pacing. And once again Winter did not disappoint! As with most high fantasy you’re hoping for balance between fast-paced action and calm/calmer moments. As I said earlier, Winter mastered it beautifully. Entering into the unknown of this world meant I had a million and one questions. And though the beginning started off slow—which I usually expect, to help better understand the world— it felt steady and helped set the reader up for the action that was soon to come.There were highest of highs and lowest lows! But at no point did the story drag or move at rapid speed. It felt well-timed and once again well executed! Winter is a mastermind at keeping you on the edge of your seat, with a touch of whiplash. But also making you feel like you know whats around the proverbial bend.
Also, Matriarchal Society for the win!! The fact that this was a constant theme throughout the book, fascinated me and made me whoop and holler. From the deity, yes a GODDESS, and the lineage of queens, (not kings) down to military and noble status, and even proposals (women pop the question in this world mmkay) the matriarchy ruled over the Omehi people. And I was living for all of it!
Finally, I could not, in good conscious forget to mention the writing style. Though I’ve hinted at it in other sections, Evan Winter has a serious gift. His writing is fantastic, phenomenal and I aspire to write fantasy like him someday.
The not-so Good: The only reason this did not receive a full five palm leaves for me is because I didn’t react to anything externally. I didn’t laugh out loud, cry, or rage in anger. Don’t get me wrong, I felt all of those things while reading. I just didn’t display them externally.
Overall, I highly enjoyed and highly recommend The Rage of Dragons!! It is a story you will dive into and it will be hard to detach yourself from. Because I read this in the months I normally set aside for contemporary everything, it took me a bit longer to finish. But that was more me than the actual story! Can’t wait for the next book,The Fires of Vengeance, which is set to be released in November of this year.
Someone tell Michael B. Jordan that he needs to option this for his next film!