This is a highly frustrating book to review. For those not in the know, Evan Winter has added his name to a (pleasingly) growing list of authors who started off by venturing into the self-published world. This, his debut novel, earned rave reviews across the board and earned Winter his ticket to traditional publishing by the maestros at Orbit. And there was much rejoicing.
I was almost underwhelmed by what I read.
If you have not yet read The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter, stop reading this review right now and go read it. I am dead serious. I went into this book with only a few trusted recommendations and it was a truly incredible experience. In fact, I only read the inside jacket cover after covering enough of the story to know what it was about. Had I read it too soon and it would have spoiled plot elements better left unknown. So STOP, right now, close your laptop, shut off your phone, and do whatever else you need to because the Rage of Dragons is worth. I will now continue assuming you've either already read it or have followed my advice.
The Rage of Dragons is one of the greatest books I have ever read. It is a heart-wrenching, mind-blowing tale of love and hatred, of sacrifice and inspiration. But most of all, this is an epic story of vengeance.
"On the days you do not improve, you open yourself to the blade that will gut you, the knife that will enter your heart, and the hatchet or spear that will take your life."
I finished reading The Rage of Dragons this weekend, and the fact that I read this in two days is testimony to how much I loved it!
I have never read an African-inspired fantasy novel before, so was not sure what to expect. Well, I was wrong to doubt. Winter paints the culture in a magnificent manner, quickly creating a depth to the world that I rarely encounter, and then just continued to get better and better.
Evan Winter's prose as masterful. It was an engaging, stripped back style that created a fast-paced story for over 500 pages. The subtle construction of the world and culture did not obstruct the pace or plot at all, but added an extra layer I always hope for in the novels I read.
"For it's in the crucible of hard days that potential becomes power."
Rage of Dragons is a thought provoking story that tackles issues of social hierarchy, attitude to lower classes, and the effects of war on the mind. Whenever I could not hide away to read, I found myself constantly thinking about this novel. About the challenges the characters faced, how they would cope, and what they would do next. That is the sign of a great book!
I have always loved coming-of-age stories, especially when they involve a weapons school, like Blood Song, or Red Sister, it is just awesome. Rage of Dragons has both, and executes it perfectly. The camaraderie between the members of this school was amazing, hilarious and epic!
"Life is nothing more than moments in time. To achieve greatness, you have to give up those moments. You have to give your life to your goal."
One of the greatest aspects of this novel were the battle scenes. They were vivid, immersive and fluid. I felt like I was witnessing the horror of war, and I got goosebumps during the small scale skirmishes that brought to mind the team fights in Gladiator.
The characters are brilliantly written. Within a few pages Winter managed to form a bond between me and some of the characters. He steadily built on this to make me truly love or despise them, through just a few scenes accompanying them. I do not doubt that I shall remember these characters for many years to come.
I have tried to explain my love for this book, and hope I did. It is a must read! I loved every part of it, from the first page to the last. From the prose, to characters, to plot. Just wonderful. I will struggle to wait for the sequel to be released, but I consider myself fortunate that I got to read this magnificent book.