The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
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.
I don’t remember much about Gladiator, but I do about Game of Thrones. I didn’t like the books, the show was “better”. So I wasn’t too happy with comparing this to Game of Thrones, but it is a better book than Game of Thrones.
Why? The best way to describe this book is it is a man book ready to fight and to become a dragon. The writing is fast paced and you move from action to action, with very little “slow scenes” (and even those feel kinda fast, or at least, well paced, you never feel like you’re falling asleep reading this book).
Tau is an interesting hero. The first few chapters he seemed a bit bland to me and I prefered other characters, but as we we go from a wide focus (where Tau is and his surroundings) to a more specific focus (Tau and his quest for revenge), he becomes better defined.
I have to say, he is a flawed hero and that was interesting to read and sometimes frustrating. There were many times I was like “Why Tau, why?!”
On the not so good side is that this book contains a lot of battle gore. And despite the fact that the society is female centered with women being in power, we still get rape (which didn’t resonate with how important women are, nor how valuable having a Gifted is) and barely any woman. Most of the female characters are there to advance the plot for the man focused view. (A love interest, someone to be raped to show how horrendous the world is, and the prologue which is probably the best female character).
There is also the fact that the worldbuilding dunks you in and it takes a very long time to get used to this world. There are also elements of racism and “class” division. (Why are the hedeni so bad? It is THEIR land you’re trying to conquer, and they have Gifts too, more than the Chosen do).
I’d say this is a man book or one for those wanting a lot of battle action, lots of grunting and training, and not so many dragons (very disappointed because the title is all about Dragons).