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Friday, July 24, 2020

A Review Of. . .


The Dragon Republic
Fang – Rin – Runin has unleashed the beast within and can’t put it back, for the Phoenix god is an uncontrollable force of nature that can never be subdued by force of will alone. Because of this, Rin becomes an opium addict, haunted by the terrible atrocities committed in her god’s name. Unfortunately, that also means she’s a renegade too, on the run from her own people, the authorities, and those who would experiment on her to find out the secrets of her power.
She wants revenge. Revenge on those who would use her to their own ends; those who would see her dead; and especially on the Empress who sold out her homeland.
Fortune seems to shine on her, for the powerful dragon warlord seeks to overthrow the empire and replace it with a republic. He seeks Rin’s aid, promising her power and influence if they are successful, and most of all, freedom for her kind.
But things are not what they seem, and Rin is betrayed at every turn, forcing her to realize that perhaps the Phoenix god has been right all along?
The Dragon Republic is another powerful story from R.F. Kuang. And while I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as The Poppy Wars, it nevertheless managed to encapsulate the futility of war, and her frustrations at being so easily duped. She also learns a most valuable lesson: that no matter how powerful we become, we’re still pawns in someone else’s game.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

This Week's reView from the Top of . . .


The White Towers
In “The White Towers” – book 2 of The Rage of kings Series – we find the Iron Wolves in desperate need of someone to throw them a bone!
It transpires King Yoon isn’t the drooling lunatic everyone thought he was. Well, he is, BUT, there’s an insidious lucidity to his insanity that borders on delirium. His past actions have all been part of a master plan, one that fell to ruin when the Iron Wolves destroyed Orlana the Changer.
But, there’s no denying the fact that Orlana’s rabid host was on the verge of decimating Vagandrak’s armies. So, who would dare deny the Iron Wolves acted in the nation’s best interests? Well, King Yoon would. And he rewards their valorous acts by sentencing them to death, forcing the gang to go on the run.
Bad timing, really, seeing as how the elf rats – twisted deviants living in the poisoned realm beyond the White Lion mountains – capitalize on Vagandrak’s vulnerability by invading! And the elf rats are out for payback. Their land was cursed by Yoon’s forefathers, thousands of years ago, and they’ve been forced to eke out a living, just this side of extinction, ever since. But they’ve had thousands of years to prepare. And that preparation shows, in a devastating series of strikes that brings Vagandrak to its knees.
They need the Iron Wolves. But will they be enough?
Again, I would invite you to discover the answer for yourselves in a wonderfully crafted tale of violent delights and visceral vengeance that is as unforgiving as it is relentless. The pace is fast, furious, and frantic; the characters as humanly flawed as they are eloquently filthy; the action, as addictive as it is barking, brutally mad; and the land in which it is set, as starkly beautiful as it is savagely toxic. In a nutshell? Heaven!
If you can’t get away on holiday this year for fear of clampdowns, then get yourself a one-way ticket to Vagandrak. You won’t EVER want to come back.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

This Week's Rumpus of a Review


The Iron Wolves
General Dalgoran desperately needs help. Orlana the Changer – a primal wielder of Equiem magick – has escaped the Chaos Halls, and seeks to satisfy her lusts by inflicting carnage of the world of men. To advance her schemes, she builds an army of hideously warped, superhuman creatures, and supplements them by summoning thousands of mud-orcs from ancient breeding pits to her side.
Only one thing stands in the way of total annihilation. The Iron Wolves. Heroes of old who once turned back an overwhelming tide of evil at The Pass of Splintered Bone when they slew the dark sorcerer, Morkagoth.
But twenty years have passed since the Iron Wolves last stood together with General Dalgoran, and the world is not the same.
For one thing, King Yoon has fallen to madness, and is more intent on indulging in acts of depravity and debauchery than protecting his kingdom. People have become complacent, and refuse to acknowledge any possibility that mud-orcs could ever return.
And the Iron Wolves?
The passage of time hasn’t treated them kindly, and they have become just as scarred by life as the battles they’ve fought. Some have lost themselves. Others, have given in to despair. A few have resorted to committing crimes of a heinous nature, just to get by. They’re mavericks, each with their own agenda. How could individuals so dysfunctional be anyone’s last line of defense?
Ah, I’d invite you to find out, in a helter-skelter ride of a story that is, quite simply, a breathtaking ensemble of riotous fun, bone-crunching combat, and a finger-on-the-pulse tribute, reminding us how Murphy’s Law will stab you in the back when you least expect it.
I connected to the mood from the outset. The Iron Wolves (Book 1 of The Rage of Kings) is down and dirty, dark and gritty, and brays its barrack room humor without mercy. It will appeal to those who have endured the heat of battle and come away scarred, as it makes you feel as if you’re back among comrades again.
And the ending?
Life isn’t always happy, and I found the conclusion of this story rather satisfying. And isn’t that how it’s meant to be?
Try it; it’s a tale that calls to the berserker in all of us.