Book Review: The Rage of Dragons

Typically, I write these reviews with the book sitting right beside me, so I can quickly check the basics and other details. I cannot do that this time, because I have loaned my copy out, because I want to tell every fantasy fan I know to read this book. I could gush about it for hours, but, fortunately for you, dear reader, I promise to stick to around 400 words.

The Basics:

Title: The Rage of Dragons
Genre: High Fantasy
Author: Evan Winter
Publisher: Orbit Books, 2019

Spoiler-Free Summary:

The Rage of Dragons eschews the typical western-European-analogue setting for a distinctly African flavor. The military ranks and terms for civil institutions have a poetic feel that transports the reader to another world.

Tau is a reluctant lower-middle-class young man coming of age in a society with a strict caste system. For Tau, his choice is the same as that of all his peers – join the military to support the kingdom’s centuries-long war against the barbarians which seek to drive them into the sea, or a life of menial servitude at the bottom of the social order. Tau is a lover at heart, not a fighter. He has no desire to carry a spear into battle. He hatches a plan to get himself honorably discharged… then tragedy strikes. With his life in shambles, Tau burns for revenge. He is quite literally hell-bent on becoming a living weapon to mete out justice on the powerful men who shattered his world. First, he will have to survive a training program designed to (again, literally) beat men of Tau’s caste into submission. Tau’s story is one of love, rage, hubris, and transcending social boundaries – whether he wants to or not.

Tau Solarin fan art

Why You’ll Love It:

The Rage of Dragons is a masterclass in navigating the major pitfall which threatens most hard sci-fi and high-fantasy novels – exposition. Evan Winters raises a question for us, makes us truly see the impact of that question and yearn for the answer, then delivers within a chapter or two. In this way the rich tapestry of the history of the Omehi people and their unique, dangerous relationship to magic slowly weaves together over the course of the narrative. Winters makes the Omehi history a mystery the reader needs solved.

In some war-centric books, the “other soldiers” quickly become little more than named scenery. Not so with The Rage of Dragons. From the witty and cunning Hadith to the gentle giant Uduak, every sword-brother is a unique, living character worth laughing with and crying over.

This book is jam-packed with action. You are never far from the next duel, spell, dragon attack, or all-out war. If you want a book that grabs you by the throat and drags you along for the ride, this is for you.

Where Can You Find More?

As always, check out Evan Winter’s Amazon Author page or the series profile on Goodreads. There is a nifty trailer over on Goodreads that’s worth checking out. You can always hop straight to the horse’s mouth at the author’s website.

Happy reading, and, if it applies to you, happy writing.

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