The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan book review

Dragons are on the menu in The Waking Fire

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With special thanks to George RR Martin, dragon-lit is on the rise, and we just can’t seem to get enough of it. With that in mind, please welcome book one of The Draconis Memoria, The Waking Fire, a hybrid of piratey adventure, undercover espionage, a myth-chasing road trip, and plenty of dragons. Said beasts come in a variety of colours, and their blood is a precious commodity in The Continent of Arradisia.

A random selection of the population known as ‘blood blessed’ are able to harness increased abilities after ingesting the blood harvested from the red, green, blue or black drakes (those not well-versed in the dragon lingo, don’t mistake these rather dangerous creatures for the adult male duck. Your interpretation of events may seem a little farcical otherwise).

With the bloodline fading, the threat of war is imminent. Unless the Ironship Trading Syndicate can convince petty thief and unregistered blood blessed Clay Torcreek to track down a fabled white drake. Clay’s quest (one of which he feels somewhat bullied into), as well as that of the two other central characters unfolds in alternating chapters, some of which are thrilling to read, and others too dull to mention.

There are some fairly hideous minor characters and a few juicy little plot twists, some of which you may see coming, while others will knock you sideways. The plot does seem a little weak at times, and with so many threads to follow it takes full concentration to remember whether you’re on land, sea or air.  However, the steampunk-tinged world that Ryan has created for his new dragon adventure is a joy to visualise, and with a little time and patience it is worth the investment.

This is a series that Spielberg, Disney et al would be foolish not to get their film making hands on. If you listen very carefully you can almost hear John Williams tuning up his orchestra.