This book is part of Quillery’s grouping, and so far they haven’t posted any updates to their reading list. I liked it over all and I think it has a chance, I’ve read a few of Quillerys books and one of them is a book I sort of have an obsession with, I’m really interested in what they have to say when they come out with updates.
It took a while to get to the plot, by about 30% in it was still mostly world building, character building and set up to get to the main part of the story.
So, the book starts out talking about the emperor and his wives, and his heir, and this ceremony involving a dragon so I had this medieval world pictured in my mind, but no. There are cars, trains, and a lot of modern tech that makes it read more like urban fantasy, except it’s so unlike our own world I really hesitate to call it that.
A bunch of older teenagers and young adults in their early 20’s go on a vacation together to the beach. They are all rather important people, there are two princes, some other royalty and their friends, so they are accompanied by a chaperone (who’s the oldest princess) and a body guard who’s usually the personal body guard to the emperor himself.
They are the beach having a good time when one of the princes, Rei, decides to enter himself into a fighting match they happened onto. They end up attracting the attention of people you really don’t want looking your way – big time mobsters and organized crime bosses who are there gambling/collecting money.
They end up getting on these peoples bad sides, and that’s where the story really starts getting going. I can’t get into too much more what happens after this, but I think people who like crime shows, crime novels and that sort of thing would really be into this book. There’s drug deals, bought cops, murder and more.
There were so many characters, omg, but I’ll focus on the ones I think got the most page time.
- Berun – one of the two prince brothers, he’s not the heir so he’s gone on to be a priest. Berun has been blessed with powers and is able to wield lightning and has a special bond with dragons
- Rei – the other prince, a fighter, loves the ladies, heir to the throne
- Dan – a history geek who loves museums, really interesting flash backs, works in a glass factory to pay for the academy
- Rowe – body guard to the princes, my favorite POV
- Yol – rat bastard, one of the organized crime members, fed some dude to sharks by holding him over the side of a boat as sharks ate his legs
- Gwall – Yols side kick, brutal fighter type
- Renzo – he doesn’t get much page time, but Renzo the dragon is an awesome POV.
There’s a very well built magic system in this world, and it was sort of a tattoo magic, different tattoos called Knots are symbols for different sorts of powers/magic.
- Wind Knot increases your hearing and you can hear enemies from a distance
- Water Knot increases your flexibility and balance
- Stone Knot lets you see using sound
There are others, and there’s a subplot going on about people found with unrecognized Knot symbols possibly symbolizing a new kind of magic.
People can form groups called Cells, and bind themselves to each other allowing for powers to be shared within a group. Each member is assigned a tile/role that’s aligned with a body part, The Mouth, The Eye, The Ear etc.
Dragons in this world can be farmed for energy which is a concept I haven’t seen before, and there is a substantial amount of world building around this where it makes sense, it’s explored how this would work logistically, how they would be tamed, how the energy is harvested, how to keep a stable population on the farms – all of that was addressed.
There’s a lot of lore about the Gods as well, and how different Gods had children which formed new Gods, and how they are all tied to the Elements.
There’s old lore about Esserwards which are legendary warriors told to be able to wipe out entire armies and battlefields by themselves, and that they used Esserblades. It’s fabled that if you touch an Esserblades hilt and the blade finds you worthy, you become an Esserward. You learn a lot about this through Dans perspective since he’s a big history nerd.
There’s just so much world building going on it’s not possible to try and condense it all, this is really where the book shined for me.
The prose was simple and straight forward, and the pacing was pretty good once you got past the first 30%. It’s not that I would say the first 30% was slow or boring, it was setting up the world for you and introducing a pretty big cast of characters. It’s just that the meat of the plot didn’t really show up until about a third of the way through. All of that world building and character development happened in 339 pages so it was pretty condensed, there wasn’t anything I felt was dragging or felt needed to be cut. And although there was a lot to take in, it wasn’t too overwhelming, a lot of this was drip fed and there were things you don’t figure out until near the end.
- People who like a twist on urban fantasy
- People who like lots of magic and magic systems
- People who like lots of POV’s
- People who like dragons
- People who like lots of world building
- People who like crime novels