Review: “The Rage of Dragons (The Burning #1)” by Evan Winter

Author: Evan Winter
Publication Date: July 16th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Find it on: Amazon, Goodreads

Synopsis

Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him. 

From Goodreads

Review

TLDR; an inspiring and heart-wrenching fantasy glossed with magic, dragons, and perseverance

Finally getting around to writing this review, guys! All aboard the late train over here, next train delayed half a month out 😂 choo choo! Alright well without further delay (lol) here’s some thoughts…

I first heard about this book from one of the many booktube vbloggers I follow who absolutely loved it. I was already sold on the concept (everyone needs more dragons in their life!), but when I kept hearing about it more and more I knew I had to pick it up. I’m on a real fantasy binge recently and this was a fantastic addition. This is a story laden with themes – perseverance and odds, love and brotherhood, honor and revenge, greatness and sacrifice. And dragons. Which honestly didn’t come into play as much as one might have expected but had quite the impact when they did.

The book follows two main characters – Tau (who is covered pretty well in the synopsis) and Zuri. Tau is the obvious star, but Zuri I think plays a large enough role that she also deserves to be a main character. Readers follow the story of this pair, each heroic in their own way. I think the most inspiring piece of the story was Tau’s endeavor to become a legendary swordsman (for reasons I’ll leave out). His insane, rigorous training goes miles above and beyond what I anticipated, and really made him a stunning character. Even though I was more partial to Zuri for most of the book, he won my heart towards the end.

I can definitely see how this is pitched as Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in the synopsis. There’s plenty of battle and training scenes, dragons, magic, and a caste system which is more subtle but has interplay in all three I think. I’d seen some comments indicating it leans YA instead of adult fantasy, and to be honest I had to look up what the distinction is. Based on what I’ve read I could see that having weight, but curious what other people who’ve read YA fantasy and this book think.

In general this was a great book, even though the end was heartbreaking. I’m so excited to hear a sequel is coming out late this year (2020) which I already pre-purchased! Link on Amazon for anyone who’s interested in joining along when it’s released.

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