Earlier this month I finally picked up The Rage of Dragons and was utterly blown away by every aspect of the book. I was SO excited to get my hands on a copy of the ARC for The Fires of Vengeance that I dove in straight away and was unable to put yet another book in this series down.
The Fires of Vengeance picks up directly after the end of The Rage of Dragons, with Tau beginning his duties as Queen's Champion. Like in Rage, the action begins immediately and continues at a breakneck pace, which I absolutely loved. Tau's revenge is still a central focus of this book, but this time there is much more at play. There are threats to Tau and his Queen from all sides and he grows so much as a character as he takes up her cause as his own.
In addition to Tau's continued character growth, I adored the side characters. Evan Winter does an incredible job making me care for everyone in this book, even making me fell sympathy for the bad guys. I loved, LOVED the relationship between Tau and Queen Tsiora as they learned to (awkwardly) navigate each other in their new roles. Oh, and if anything happens to Hadith and Uduak we riot.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this second book in this series is that it explores the mythology of the world even more. We learn more about the Cull, the Goddess, and much more about the demon world that Tau takes so much advantage of. There are more politics and more cultures explored, but I never felt lost or in over my head.
Every time I pick up a second book, I'm terrified that it will suffer from the dreaded middle book syndrome (see: most YA fantasy second books), but this absolutely did not. Nothing felt like filler or overly drawn out. Everything that happened advanced the plot and the characters and I wasn't bored for a single second.
My only issue is that The Fires of Vengeance ended as soon as it did! I would have read another 500 pages of this without complaint. The worst part of reading an ARC is having to wait even longer for the next book in the series to be published. I definitely see myself doing a re-read of these during that time. This series is definitely on my favorites shelf!
'CAPTIVATING EPIC FANTASY FROM A MAJOR NEW TALENT' Anthony Ryan, on The Rage of Dragons
Desperate to delay an impending attack by the indigenous people of Xidda, Tau and his queen craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all-out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the 'true' Queen of the Omehi.
If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne and reunite her people, then the Omehi might have a chance to survive the coming onslaught.
Praise for The Rage of Dragons:
'Intense, inventive and action-packed from beginning to end - a relentlessly gripping, brilliant read' James Islington, author of The Shadow of What Was Lost
'Stunning debut fantasy' Publishers Weekly
'Intense, vivid and brilliantly realized - a necessary read'Anna Smith Spark, author of The Court of Broken Knives
'Fans of Anthony Ryan's Blood Song will love this' Django Wexler, author of The Thousand Names
'A Xhosa-inspired world complete with magic, dragons, demons and curses, The Rage of Dragons takes classic fantasy and imbues it with a fresh and exciting twist' Anna Stephens, author of Godblind