1. 10 & 9 Star Rating Book Review

The Waking Fire – Anthony Ryan

Draconis Memoria – Book 1

“True change has never been bloodless.”

So what’s the book about?

Dragon blood is considered one of the most important commodities. Red, green, blue and black dragons are hunted to obtain their blood. A few blessed ones can use the elixir to obtain various abilities. But the truth is that dragons are getting weaker and weaker, and the age of dragons is coming to an end. The hope of the Dragon Blood Syndicate is based on a rumour that there is a white dragon that is far more powerful. after which there is another species of dragon that is far more powerful than all the others. And Clay, a thief and unregistered Blood Blessed, is chosen by the Syndicate to find this legend. The spy Lizanne must help find clues to the white dragon’s whereabouts. But she soon realises that she can’t trust just anyone. And even Hilemore, who at first unsuspectingly only wants to do a good turn as second lieutenant, is now drawn more and more into the intrigues.

Why I wanted to read this series?

I had read Anthony Ryan’s previous series “Raven’s Shadow” a few years ago and fell in love with this story. Even though all the aspects that make a good story for me – characters, story, worldbuilding, writing – were well done, I never got around to reading his second series. Although the blurb appealed to me, especially in terms of it containing dragons, I didn’t read the story. And here I can already spoil, I really regret not having read this series before. After I was looking for a new series, I remembered these books again and got more involved with this series. And especially the fact that the story is set in an industrial time has driven me to finally read this series.

These aspects attracted me the most while reading.

  • Even though it was probably a cold jump into the water, the beginning of the story was very memorable. An introduction to the subject is completely bypassed, throwing you straight into the story. But that’s the kind of story I like, it forces you to keep reading because I’m dying to know why everything is the way it is. It also makes you think about the story and draw your own conclusions – even if they are sometimes falsified. It sometimes seemed like a complex puzzle that didn’t give you the right pieces or only incomplete pieces.
  • The use of the dragons is reminiscent of factory farming, as the dragons are not seen as something living, but more as a thing or a commodity. Dragons are not portrayed here as something evil or wise or as a companion, but only as a means to an end. Even though dragon blood has an enormous effect on the economy, it is increasingly replaced by new technological inventions. Ship engines, steam locomotives and even weapons are invented and improved, but some of these can only be used through the dragon’s blood. This creates a great conflict between magic and science, in which it is not yet known who will win.
  • The magic in this book is represented by the dragon’s blood. There are four different variants of this. Firstly, the blue dragon’s blood, which allows one to enter a trance in which they can also communicate with other blood-blessed. Then the red blood, which gives one the ability to generate and control heat or dragon fire. The black blood allows one to use telekinesis with greater strength and finally the green blood that gives one strength, better vision, reaction speed and the ability to heal oneself. But only blood blessed ones can use these powers, just as only mages can use magic. At the same time, this “magic” does not appear as something overpowering, but more as an extension of human abilities. Thus, the blood-blessed are not indestructible like superheroes, but just as destructible as any other human being.
  • The three different storylines are all exciting on an equal level. Each character has their own way of thinking and acting. It doesn’t seem like you’re reading the same character over and over again, just in a different setting, but you’re really experiencing three different characters. Also, each character develops throughout the story and these developments are comprehensible. Each character has their own characteristic that makes them seem human. Hilemore, who adheres to and lives by the principles and code of honour of the navy. Lizanne, who at first appears to be a cold person but who warms up more and more to those around her. And Clay, who seems to be the typical egoistic criminal, but later wants to sacrifice himself more and more for the greater good.

So what are my final thoughts about it?

In my opinion, The Waking Fire is a very exciting and particularly innovative book. The world is a very beautiful and interesting one, which you enjoy exploring with the characters and are very excited about the latest discoveries yourself. I found especially the aspect that we are in an industrial world here very exciting. Steam locomotives, guns and many other technological achievements, do not make the book into another standard epic fantasy. As Clay has never been inland before, you see from his eyes how he discovers everything for the first time and can really root for him and puzzle it out with him, so that you can hardly stop reading. During this journey with Clay, you feel like you are doing a jungle expedition with Indiana Jones. It also touches on interesting political and cultural issues that we also find in our world, such as corporations running the world. You see these from different perspectives and also the characters’ struggles with their previously entrenched worldview. The characters all have their moments where you really feel happy and excited, and you can empathise with all the characters and understand them.  And they also undergo realistic and understandable transformations, the characters grow in their tasks and also in themselves.

My Rating

Rating: 10 out of 10.

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12 comments on “The Waking Fire – Anthony Ryan

  1. Nice Review 🙂 I really liked the book too. It is such a great book and I like dragons 😀
    And very sweet and dangerous cat 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Review!! Really liked it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the setting too. I’m very interest in these kind of books! And I like especially clay, he is so cool 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The story sounds very unique und interesting.
    I would love to read a “not typical” Dragon story, if you know what i mean 😀
    I love dragons, but at one point its always the same kind of story around dragons as epic creatures. And the way you describe how they are treated in the book makes me super excited!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Legion of Flame – Anthony Ryan – The Reading Stray

  6. I have this whole series and have been hesitant to start it as I have only read a few of Anthony Ryan’s novellas and haven’t been super impressed by them. Though you make this series sound really interesting and I am intrigued by being able to see Clay’s first hand experience in a new place. I also love characters who go through realistic changes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also wanted to read this series for sooo long but I’ve only read his first trilogy. But I’m so happy now that I start this one because I like it even more than his first trilogy. It’s not the classical fantasy story, more like steampunk but it’s so good ! I highly recommend it ! And thank you so much for your kind words ! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The Empire of Ashes – Anthony Ryan – The Reading Stray

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