You know when you finish a book and you have such messy, complicated feelings to sort through that you have a feeling your review will be all over the place? This is one of those times. But hopefully it all makes sense, because I want to do this book justice. Evan Winter deserves me to be coherent and have a very capable writing style (like him), but I just feel sO MUCH for this book that I don’t really know how this is going to go. The overall consensus is this: pick up The Rage of Dragons.
Launching a book with a great battle is always one way to hook me in, and let’s just say Evan Winter’s targeted my weakness and shot an arrow straight through my heart. Then he brought in magic-casters, over-buffed warriors and dragons. From that moment on, I was completely sold. I mean, come on, you can’t expect me not to fall head over heals for a book that has all of my favourite tropes. It was like Evan had a checklist and was ticking off every box- like he’d looked into my very soul. Maybe he had.
Whilst I don’t want to go on too much about the plot to avoid spoilers, I feel like I can say a few things and get away with it. Sometimes I don’t like prologues, sometimes I love them. Sometimes they throw me off the scent of the real story and I tend to enjoy the ‘100 years earlier’ bit wayyy too much, and just want the rest of the book to stick with the history and not the actual time and place it’s meant to be set in. I’m very much a person who, if I can’t connect the dots and have a book make sense straight away, I get frustrated. Big time jumps from prologues to main storylines do that to me. I’m desperate to understand why one thing is relevant to the other – and for a long time, I was struggling to fight off the haze of confusion. But it got better. Way, way, better. This is a book that starts off great (if confusing) and climbs up the ranks into excellency.
Like all fantasy books, names are dropped and you are immediately thrown into action – expected to know the world and the land and feel like you belong. Perhaps I didn’t quite feel like I was home, but I can certainly say from chapter one onwards: the characterisation was pure majesty. It’s not often that I’m turned into an immediate gushing fool over characters and it usually takes me a long time to warm up to someone, but Evan has a way of making sure you care about every single person you meet from page one. AND THEN USING HIS POSITION OF POWER TO DESTROY YOU. (In the best way!)
Evan definitely has a way of writing that makes you feel 100% certain you a reading an (interesting) non-fiction book. Every little detail makes sense and the story aligns perfectly that it’s hard to believe that this has come out of someone’s GENIUS mind. I think part of it is how in depth the politics and the history are, forming strong pillars to hold up the rest of the story. It felt like I was getting an insight to real life events, and made me really wish that dragons and magic was a thing that actually occurred in day to day life. Although I know I’d die. I’d be useless in a fantasy environment. EVEN IF I TELL MYSELF I’D BE FINE AND HAVE MAGICAL POWERS I would most definitely be a side character that comes to an unfortunate death.
But I’d rather die at the hand of a great book that ruins my emotions, so maybe I am in the right world after all. BECAUSE EVAN HAS MANAGED TO WRECK ME. Completely, and truly, I await his next book with overwhelming eagerness.
Now that I’ve shared my thoughts (without spoilers, I hope!) I want to take the time to thank the appropriate people. Thank you to Nazia for listening to my plea for this one, and Orbit in general for printing ARCs. I hope you appreciated the cat-pictures I traded!
And then thank you to Evan, for opening my eyes – exploring conflict and reason, challenging the good, the bad – and the ugly.