The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for generations. The lucky ones are born gifted: some have the power to call down dragons, others can be magically transformed into bigger, stronger, faster killing machines.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Tau Tafari wants more than this, but his plans of escape are destroyed when those closest to him are brutally murdered.
With too few gifted left, the Omehi are facing genocide, but Tau cares only for revenge. Following an unthinkable path, he will strive to become the greatest swordsman to ever live, willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill three of his own people.
Author: Evan Winter
Release Date: 12/09/2019
Series: The Burning #1
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating of ‘The Rage of Dragons’: 4 out of 5
The Rage of Dragons is something I have been hearing awesome things about for far too long. It’s took me an absolute age to get around to reading it, but I feel like it was well worth the wait.
It manages to be both one of the most enjoyable, yet one of the most frustrating fantasy novels I have ever read. Enjoyable because Winter manages to tell a fast-paced, interesting story populated with a group of secondary characters that really make the world feel real and enjoyable. Frustrating because the main character, Tau, is one of the most stupid characters I have ever read.
He’s stupid, and every fibre of my being wants to hate him for his stupidity, but I can’t help but root for him or start to smile every time he begins to succeed. Let me clarify just why Tau is stupid:
Firstly, he has a habit of contradicting himself without even being aware he’s doing it. In one instance he has an idea, immediately shoots it down as dishonourable and something he should not do, only for him to go off telling people about his big plan and begging for help … despite the fact he was adamant he wouldn’t do it. I had to re-read that part just to make sure I was being stupid … but no, it was Tau.
He also has an overwhelmingly stupid (I’m using that word to describe him quite a lot. I’m going to stick with it, because it fits) way of seeing how certain things make perfectly good sense then goes against them regardless of how many people may suffer or die just for the slim chance he may get at revenge.
Yet I pulled for him to do well. I just don’t know why. As big of an idiot as he is, and as much as he deserves to die so that his friends might actually have a half-decent life without him, I just want him to survive and do well. So yes, very conflicted over the main character. It’s this that lowers it from a five star to a four star for me.
It’s also fairly rare to see something very new as far as magic systems go in fantasy but, with the Gifted and their various abilities, this book has achieved that. It’s also got an intriguing caste-based system that gives an extra layer of realism to the feeling of the world.
Through a mixture of short, rapid-fire mini chapters, and punchy writing, Evan Winter makes what is essentially a lot of pages about young men training and having practice fights in readiness for a tournament of said practice fights, incredibly addictive and exciting. There’s enough real danger thrown in the keep the reader on their toes and there are enough unexpected happenings to make you want to keep on ploughing through. I think I sped through it in four or five days which isn’t the norm for large books for me (admittedly I do have a lot more time on my hands now there’s a pandemic on).
I was also fairly guilty of pre-judging what could be described as a very basic-sounding world when you look at the names of places on the map, but was pleasantly surprised how deep-feeling the world that Winter is creating was. I look forward to getting stuck into future instalments.
This one really does deserve all the fanfare it’s been getting. Perfect for anyone that loved the film ‘Gladiator’ and wants something similar for their reading.