The Rage of Dragons
Author: Evan Winter Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Orbit Books
**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Okay, so this book. HOLY SHIT, this book. As I said on Twitter, I’m not sure how coherent I can be with this review and describing my love for this book. Friends, I have been in a reading slump for the better part of 2020 and, in many ways, that slump has sorta lingered in 2021 (despite me reading almost 10 books ((!!)) so far this year). Like, reading has gone okay, but it feels like it’s been so long since I was bloody excited to read a book.
That blissfully changed upon cracking open The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter.
With this book, returned my desire to read. The moments before my lunch break were the most agonizing, as I just wanted to move from my desk to my bed and curl up to read more as I was munching on a peanut butter sandwich. Before bed, where I have spent too much time scrolling through apps or social media, instead, I’d promptly forget my phone existed as I curled up, completely enthralled by the story and the characters, constantly pissed that the hours of eleven (or, most often, midnight) would come so fast, forcing me to close it and wait another day to find out what happens next.
Until, you know, I couldn’t resist any longer.
I think I’m still trying to recover from plowing through the last half of the book (according to Goodreads, I was on page 340 before I started to read last Thursday night and couldn’t stop until I finished the book, some odd 200 pages later ((okay, so my math was wrong in my tweet above, I’m sorry, I was tired and I hate math)). I even distinctly remember stopping at a new chapter and knowing that this was my last chance to turn back; if I didn’t, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist and I *would* finish that book that night, sleep be damned.
Reader, I turned the page.
I ended up almost crying, at the end. Like, I haven’t had a book almost make me cry LITERAL TEARS in…fuck, who knows how long? And then the author comments on my tweet and I actually cried reading his response (especially after we did the Lesser chant between us, like, I lost it, fam).
I’ll stop raving now and try to sum up below more succinct likes and dislikes, but let me just say that, if you’re sleeping on this or it’s on your TBR list for over a year, like it was on mine, or you just didn’t know this book existed, well. Don’t make the mistake I did. READ THIS BOOK.
- The story. This was just my favorite type of story. The underdog who, by sheer force of will (and I mean, a LOT of will) chasing the impossible. It’s so much more complex than such a simplified version, written like that, when you bring in the political intrigue, the complex caste system, the relationships between the characters, the war, the twists that I never saw coming, but holy shit, y’all. I was floored.
- The worldbulding. I could picture this so clearly. I kept dreaming about it in my head, in the days since I finished it. I can still picture scenes and conversations and just….GAH. Plus, the magic in this world, was just legendary. I was fascinated by it all.
- Tau, Zuri and the rest. These characters. I would die for them. I love Tau. I love how I thought this story was going to go one way and then it goes a completely different direction that proved so much more interesting (and heartbreaking). Zuri is so amazing. I really enjoyed Jayyal’s scale and how that group comes together (it has inklings of that found family trope that broke me).
- The slow building tension. I loved how this book centered on one boy’s journey for vengeance that continues to open up and show just how intense the stakes truly are, and how large they are, when you look at a global scale. Also, the twists (one in particular that we learn later in the book that completely broke my heart, why would you DO THAT ((and, ironically, for those who have read this book, it’s not the one you think))) were flooring to me.
- The *way* it was organized. I’d never read a book that was broken up into long chapters that then had smaller, titled sections within them. This method made it practically impossible for me to ever read a small amount at one time and it was fantastic. I’d love to see this method used more widely, as I thought it was extremely effective.
- A little lost at the beginning. I won’t lie, the *only* thing I struggled with was figuring out some of the terms and what they meant at the beginning, but that’s so miniscule now compared to how amazing everything else was that I don’t even care, honestly. I figured it out as I kept reading and it didn’t hinder my enjoyment in the slightest.
This is god-tier, for me. I fucking loved this.