Rage of Dragons Review
Updated: Jul 11
I loved this damned book. There, I said it. The review is done and you can stop reading. But, I suppose I can provide more detail, if I must.
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter was originally self-published and was picked up by a publisher. It’s been on my radar for a while, but in an effort to ramp up my support and general awareness of Black authors, I put it at the top of my list. And, boy, I wasn’t disappointed.
The plot—boy seeks revenge, training to be the world’s best warrior to do accomplish the lofty goal—could have been a tired old thing. We’ve heard it before, right? But not like this. The backdrop is an African-esque type world, which is a refreshing change from the typical setting. People fight with bone and bronze; wood is expensive and rare. The Omehi people are fleeing some barely described evil and set up shop on a peninsula where they are the invaders. Outnumbered and fighting a losing war for two hundred years, their only edge is their warlike culture, some pretty neat magic, and the ability to summon dragons (at great cost).
The interesting backdrop is made more so by introducing castes, like Lesser, Governor, and Noble, where different groups actually have physical differences. Mixing isn’t allowed (though it happens). I found the idea intriguing, and Winter does a very nice job highlighting the tensions.
The story is primarily one POV, Tau, with a few others mixed in. It keeps the story moving forward, and a lot seems to happen in the book. As he ascends, Tau begins to learn more about the hidden aspects of his culture and their sources of power. I thought it was well-done, knowing that whatever we learned was distilled through his limited perspective.
There was a section in the middle that some reviewers thought dragged a bit, basically a training montage. To me, it was invigorating, like watching Rocky pummel frozen slabs of beef, or the karate kid get... better at karate. It was done in such a way that you could truly feel Tau's dedication. So, for some, they will find it slow and perhaps repetitive, but I saw it as more of a good thing.
Dueling and battle scenes were intense and visceral. And there were a lot of them. The stakes kept getting higher though, and I found myself reading late into the night to see who’d make it and who wouldn‘t. I’d call that investment.
The book wasn't perfect. There were some points where there was some repetition that could have been cut to simplify or streamline the story. The plot was a little predictable and on the nose, etc. But none of the etc minimized my joy, and I rate by joy. This is a five star read for me, and I would recommend it with no reservations.
The sequel is a Day 1 buy for me.