The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan is the first in a new fantasy series that tells the story of a world where dragon blood conveys superhuman powers to the blessed and the entire economy revolves around the harvesting and dilution of this product. The question then becomes, what happens if the dragons run out?
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Waking Fire from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
Narrated by Steven Brand
(The Draconis Memoria #1)
Published by Ace on July 5th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 592 pages
Audio Length: 22 hrs and 34 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from the veins of captive or hunted Reds, Green, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that give fearsome powers to the rare men and women who have the ability harness them—known as the blood-blessed.
But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighboring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly. The Syndicate's last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.
Claydon Torcreek is a petty thief and an unregistered blood-blessed, who finds himself pressed into service by the protectorate and sent to wild, uncharted territories in search of a creature he believes is little more than legend. Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin, facing gravest danger on an espionage mission deep into the heart of enemy territory. And Corrick Hilemore is the second lieutenant of an ironship, whose pursuit of ruthless brigands leads him to a far greater threat at the edge of the world.
As lives and empires clash and intertwine, as the unknown and the known collide, all three must fight to turn the tide of a coming war, or drown in its wake.
- Obviously I really love dragon stories and therefore have read a lot of them. I was pleased to find that I can still be surprised by a new way of presenting dragons in a world though! I liked that in addition to being a feared predator, dragons have a vital role in the economy via their blood and therefore this near-industrial era world looks much different than our own while still being fairly similar in some ways. Don’t think for a second that the involvement of dragons stops at their blood however ;-).
- I expected this book to be dominated by male characters, and to some extent it is, but with the important exception of a school of assassins and spies that are all female. Lizzane is one of them and is definitely the most competent and honorable character in the story in my humble opinion! Further, the main villain ends up being female as well, which is always delightful when done well.
- The ending of The Waking Fire builds up perfectly as it concludes the main conflicts of this first book. Something really big is stirring and the next book or several are going to be EPIC! I’m so excited :D.
- The narration of the audiobook is top notch. I am always worried when a male narrator has to tackle several female voices, but no complaints here!
- While overall I loved listening to this as an audiobook, I was definitely a bit confused at the beginning as all the different storylines were introduced and I had a lot of characters to keep straight. Depending on how much this difficulty applies to you, you might want to try the hardcover.
- I do feel like this door-stopper ended up being a bit longer than it really needed to be. There was a fair amount of running around chasing after subplots that didn’t actually matter in the end and I think I would have liked things to be a bit more compact.
The Waking Fire is a wonderful epic fantasy to sink your teeth into when you are wanting an atypical dragon story. So far, this series is definitely deserving of the comparisons to door-stopper fantasy authors such as Jordan and Martin and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.