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What a gem! This book has been beautifully woven and raises the bar for fantasy authors. It sets a high standard for the future series.
I can't stop myself thinking that Anthony Ryan shares here, his idealistic fantasy world that only a child could dream of. There are dragons, lots of dragons, spies, rogues, sea battles and so much more. The concept of the new magic and new world with a well-developed history, politics and technology really draws the reader in.
The story is skilfully written. The author developes the characters in a natural and organic way as they pursue their adventures. It gives you this wonderful feeling of 'what's going to happen next?'.
I would place this novel among the other great epic fantasy books with a modern twist.
The times for heroes are back (!) and I willl be looking forward to devouring the next book in the series.
Steven Brand wouldn't be my first choice of the narrator.
Okay..., he delivers the story clearly, but nothing more. There is no clear distinguishment between the characters, emotion, excitement and he makes it so much harder to follow all the side stories and events. This book deserves so much better and I would be happy to wait longer for it before it's released if that would mean a better performer.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Oh my, every so often you come across a story where the author has literally thrown everything bar the kitchen sink at it. This is one of those, a steampunk world “blessed” with super heroes powered by dragon blood and of course the dragons themselves. Lots and lots of dragons! It’s a heady mix set in a world of rich detail and history which also manages to squeeze in contemporary “evils” such as corporate greed and in a sense globalisation.
The story is told through the three leading characters:-
A super spy; hints of a fantasy born of Ian Fleming’s works with a highly trained agent / assassin complete with gadgets and a “Q” figure to boot.
A rogue born of a rough background, someone used to living in the shadows who in fine fantasy tradition is lifted up to go on an almost Indian Jones like quest.
A fine, upstanding sea officer who is our conduit to the book’s naval parts and shipborne adventures.
Through these three varied leads Ryan sweeps us through the bright and varied world he has created with espionage, sea battles, land battles, pirates and of course lots and lots of dragon combat. I think it’s fair to use the work “epic” here.
Is it perfect? Well no, I think that would be pushing it. Stephen Brand would not be my first choice of narrator. He does a good enough job but for a book with this variety of pace, character and scene I think he is a bit one-dimensional compared to some of the very best. I do admire anyone that can narrate through so much material to be fair but someone with a wider variety of character voices and greater ability to change pace would have been welcome. Also, as a story there are some fairly contrived rescues for characters. This is nothing unusual but it did seem to stand out a couple of times for me.
So, this isn’t say as gritty and doesn’t have the “real” feel of say a Brandon Sanderson but it is great fun, varied and full of action. Especially in the second half. There are a good set of characters to get to know and a detailed world to discover. I was very happy with it and I think it is set up to continue in the same vein. The question to ask at this point is can the author keep it up in the follow-up books having thrown quite so much into this one?
I hope so and I will be finding out!
16 of 20 people found this review helpful