“Rage is love…twisted in on itself. Rage reaches into the world when we can no longer contain the hurt of being treated as if our life and loves do not matter. Rage, and its consequences, are what we get when the world refuses to change for anything less.”
I finished The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter last year and absolutely adored it, but I had a lot going on and never got around to a review. I had to rectify that with The Fires of Vengeance.
This installment picks up where tRoD fell off and wastes no time getting into action. Our main character Tau spent the first book becoming who he is in book 2. He goes from an unblooded child to a gruesome warrior whose name is capable of striking fear in the heart of men. He went from unnoticed, to one of the most famous men in the kingdom. The Fires of Vengeance follows Tau and Queen Tsiora’s journey after loss and betrayal, where friendships are kindled and new enemies are made, where the fight for control is against the people they know too well.
“The lie isn’t that we can’t be their equals. The lie is that they were ever anything but our equals.”
The relationship between Tau and others is spun on its head in this sequel. Tau struggles with working with nobles while still feeling the urge to protect the Queen. You can see why the Queen picked Tau as her champion. He will fight until there’s nothing left of him. He will fight until his body gives up. His convictions are never compromised.
This book celebrates life after death, love after loss. Winter reminds me that even during the worst of times, humans will adapt. They survive. They MORE than survive. They find strength in their relationships. They find happiness in small moments. I think it can be easy to overlook that in a book that is rife with war, but it’s true.
“They said, ‘This matters more than that,’ making it seem as if their edicts sprang from natural law when they were little more than self-serving choices. They wrote the rules in their favor, successes more often than others, and pointed to that as proof of their superiority.”
We get some backstory for the royal line that is told in a captivating way. The way Winter writes, you can almost hear Tsiora’s soft but strong voice pulling us along. I felt like Tsiora really blossomed as a character in this book. She became more than a figurehead. When we get a glimpse into her sister’s mind, we get even more of Tsiora than we were privy to previously. These characters contain multitudes, and like most world leaders, they aren’t perfect. There’s moments that we love them and moments that we can’t believe what they are capable of. Winter is an expert at creating multi-faceted characters, ones that endear you to them even when they have their flaws. Characters that can disturb you while keeping their place in your heart.
I didn’t have the same frantic drive to finish this as I did book 1, but that could be more because of my mood than the book itself. The beginning and the ending had me racing through the page, though. The writing was excellent, the prose enticing, the charater development consistent. If you’re looking for action, this book has it. If you’re looking for relationships, platonic and romantic, this book has it. If you’re looking for dragons, you’re come to the right spot. This series is almost perfect!