The Rage of Dragons' by Evan Winter
The Rage of Dragons
(The Burning #1)
by Evan Winter
Most of the fantasy world is abuzz at the moment with The Rage of Dragons, as the second instalment is just around the corner.Evan Winter’s book is highly acclaimed and has recently gained a place on ‘the most influential’ lists. A high accolade indeed! Does it deserve it? Damn right it does! This is a fantastic book that has everything from Dragons, demons to incredible fight scenes and exhilarating action.
The Rage of Dragons begins with a battle against two races of people. One who has just arrived from some unknown lands and the inhabitants of the lands that they have landed on. We are immediately thrown into the action from Page One, where a brutal and bloody battle that is raging. The prologue sets the tone for the book, describing the brutality of the battle, introducing the magic system of the book that is purely centred around bolstering military might, and introduces us to the Omehi people or ‘The Chosen’ as they believe themselves to be.
We then move onto the main story of the book and quickly introduced to the book’s main character, Tau.
From the beginning of the book, Winters build his world, describing the political system, the caste system that governs the Omehi people and the militaristic way that the inhabitants live their life. The world that Tau lives in is a harsh world that is governed solely by caste and tradition and everyone knows their place.
At the beginning of the book, Tau is happy with his standing, wanting nothing more than to attend The Testing, a ritual competition to test fighting prowess and skill, and join the Ihashe, a division of the army. However, when he attends his friend Jabari’s testing as his second, events occur that will change Tau and his life forever. At the testing, Tau is assigned to an incompetent noble’s son to spar with, but unfortunately for Tau, the noble is as proud as he incompetent and attacks Tau. Tau responds by disarming the noble and thus brings about the attention of Councillor Odili and Tau’s fate is sealed, setting him on a path of pain, obsession and revenge.
For the rest of the story, Tau vows to become the ultimate killing machine. He vows that he will gain a place in the Ihashe and become the greatest fighter that the Omehi people have ever seen. So, that he can gain his ultimate revenge on those who destroyed his life. And he will do this at whatever cost to himself or those around him.
As we move through the story we learn that the years of tradition have created an unjust and unfair society where the lowest of the governed people are seen as nothing more than bodies for the everlasting, unwinnable war that rages with the Hedeni, whilst the privileged members of society do not recognise the worth of those that they see beneath them and are corrupt and cruel. And this cruelty is displayed time and time again throughout the tale of Tau and his sword brothers.
In the meantime, Tau’s story is developed, and he becomes the very thing that he set out to be. However, his character is flawed by the trauma he has endured. He scorns friendship and comradeship focusing totally on his ultimate goal. However, others are not willing to give up on him and eventually his comrades break through his barriers and he eventually forms long lasting bonds with those around him.
Winters masterfully interlaces a tale of comradeship, winning against the odds and determination in his story of Tau. However, be prepared! This is not a happy tale, and whilst there are light moments of friendship in the book, Winters does not shy away from the brutality of war and the cruelty that is rife amongst the socio-political structure that his characters inhabit. However, it is a dazzling story that will have you gripped, as I was from the very start.