Book Reviews

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter – Book Review

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter - book cover opened on tablet

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter – Book Details

TITLE – The Rage of Dragons

SERIES – The Burning, book #1

AUTHOR – Evan Winter

GENREfantasy, high fantasy

YEAR PUBLISHED – 2017

PAGE COUNT – 544

MY RATING – 5 of 5

RATED ON GOODREADS – 4.38 of 5

Initial Thoughts

After all horror books and Halloweeny things that took up most of my October, I was craving a nice, long, immersive epic fantasy. Especially with another quarantine threatening on the horizon, I needed something to take me into a completely different world with completely different problems and keep me there for as long as possible.

So, on the very first day of November, I picked up an incredibly hyped high fantasy – The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter. I knew next to nothing about this book when I picked it up; I only knew 2 things:

  1. It involves dragons; and
  2. Twitter, BookTube and Bookstagram were raving about it! (Which, granted, can be misleading.)

That was literally all I knew about it. But then again, the mood I was in – that was all I really needed to know.

The Rage of Dragons is the first book in The Burning series. The series is planned to have 4 books. And the book #2, The Fires of Vengeance, is coming out today (November 10th, 2020)…

What It Is About

A book quote from The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter: “In a small way, the world changed that day, when the Nobles of Scale Ozioma broke and ran, scattered by a new and horrible creature, born in Uhmlaba but bred in Isihogo.”

Tau Solarin lives in a country wracked by war and like most able young men he is bound for military. This is not what he wants for his life, though. All he wants is a peaceful life with the woman he loves.

But then, a string of unexpected brutal events forces Tau to see himself, the world he lives in and the way it divides people into castes through a different eye. Now he is prepared to do everything he can to make the people who have wronged him feel his suffer.

This is a story of loss, revenge, love, pushing boundaries and going where no man has gone before in order to achieve what no man has achieved.

And all of that is set in a world in which war never really stops, castes are prized above all, rare women have powerful gifts and dragons can be summoned and turned into guardians.

And where all of that comes at a price…

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter – My Review

When I first started reading The Rage of Dragons, it took me a while to completely sink into the story. I was kind of thrown into this world without much explanation, and I had to wait and try and figure out who was who and what was going on.

And overall – I prefer that to being swamped with endless amounts of details at once. But still, there were many instances when I’d really appreciated a bit more of a context.

Also, for the first 20 or so percent of the book, I had a bit of a problem connecting with it all. The beginning was very action packed and with very little character introduction. And no matter how great things are going on in the book, I need to care for the people it all is happening to in order to really enjoy the story.

But then, a few things happened that made me realize I was way more invested than I thought I was! Seriously – one scene, and I was so angry, and sad, and frustrated, and wanted to cry and to throw things, and from that moment on I was 100% in.

The Rage of Dragons is Evan Winter’s debut novel, and – I don’t think I can even believe it! I was so impressed with the world building, how well he executed the dialogues, his character work, pacing and amount of details he managed to put into this world without anything ever feeling stuffy. This book feels like it was written by an experienced author.

Plus, this is one of those books that are not only well written and have a great story, but feel good. At least to me. I kept smiling all throughout the whole read, and every time I put down the book, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again.

I had a hard time to wrap my head around everything at first, especially since most castes, titles and military branches are invented and the names start with the same few letters. A bit much to try and explain it all here. But I will say I loved how certain things were imagined. Both incredibly imaginative and excruciatingly brutal.

The stakes were crazy high. The plot was both personal and epic (or – let’s say mini-epic). And, though if you break this story into pieces and dig deep enough you probably will find similarities with other stories, this book still felt completely fresh and original.

And Tau is a very interesting character to follow. His devotion often makes him come off as cold, cruel and single-minded. Yet, there’s something so innocent and vulnerable in everything he does – you just have to care for him.

The protagonist’s development was also done so well. He is not naturally gifted or better than anyone else. And there’s never a poor explained jump in his progress. He grows and improves himself (well – certain parts of himself) by pushing himself beyond limits and failing a lot.

I love the stories in which even the basic rules and boundaries of the realm are being questioned and tested. And I love when someone finds a way around them. And this book provided that.

I also loved that every time he was pushed further on his way of growth and becoming an amazing fighter, it was done by some if his mishaps. It’s always something terrible that happens to him that pushes him a little further.

I’m usually not a fan of revenge stories, but in this case it provided a solid driving force that pushed the protagonist where he needed to go. And maybe even a bit over that. I did not always agree with Tau’s decisions, but I did root for him even when I thought he was wrong.

Because I grew to love him. It’s as simple as that.

While reading The Rage of Dragons, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It managed to surprise me. It managed to get me excited. I cared about not only the protagonist, but also several other characters. I’ve been literally putting down the book only when I really, really had to and I finished it much sooner than I expected.

After all, what matters the most to me is the level of enjoyment a book can evoke. And I enjoyed The Rage of Dragons so, so much! The book #2 should be out today and I can’t wait to get my hands on it…

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