Good Afternoon Bookish Folk!
Today I am really happy to be posting my review of Anthony Ryan’s ‘The Waking Fire’. Firstly, I would like to thank Anthony for sending me a signed copy of this book! I am beyond grateful!
A few facts about .:
- Title: The Waking Fire
- Author: Anthony Ryan
- Series: The Draconis Memoria (Book One)
- Published by Orbit
- Pages: 679
Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from the veins of captive or hunted Reds, Green, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that give fearsome powers to the rare men and women who have the ability harness them—known as the blood-blessed.
But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighboring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly. The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.
Claydon Torcreek is a petty thief and an unregistered blood-blessed, who finds himself pressed into service by the protectorate and sent to wild, uncharted territories in search of a creature he believes is little more than legend. Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin, facing gravest danger on an espionage mission deep into the heart of enemy territory. And Corrick Hilemore is the second lieutenant of an ironship, whose pursuit of ruthless brigands leads him to a far greater threat at the edge of the world.
As lives and empires clash and intertwine, as the unknown and the known collide, all three must fight to turn the tide of a coming war, or drown in its wake.
Here are a few things you can expect from The Waking Fire :
- A gutter fighting blood blessed thief with a little more to him than meets the eye;
- A clever quick thinking bad ass spy;
- Epic sea battles;
- Bloody land battles;
- Indiana Jones expedition vibes; and
- DRAGONS, well drakes.
On to the full review…
Once again Anthony opens his book with scintillating occurrences and immediately compelling characters. If Anthony Ryan does one thing for me, it is his ability to have me hooked within the first twenty pages. He did it with Blood Song and has done It with The Waking Fire. I’m writing this note here not even 30 pages in and I’ve had drakes, corporate espionage, gutter fighting, crime lords and more. Now that may cause you to wonder how an earth so much can be done in such little time and still be well written and skilful but I promise you it is! A brief hint at the power a crime boss holds by the persistent tapping of a glass in a pit fight; the witty and cleverly disguised conversation between two seemingly noble passengers; all the while expertly feeding you information as to the magic that surrounds the much sought after product; drakes blood.
Gosh darn, do I love it when authors hint at future encounters between characters. It it such a brilliant way to keep your readers engaged and wanting more and Anthony Ryan expertly teases the reader in The Waking Fire! A brief mention of a destined location by one, followed by the plans of another to go there also and then comes the final breadcrumb that has you excited beyond belief…the common link. And dear lord the promise that is given at the end of the book…
I’m obviously not going to say anything more but holy shit! I need to get through some other books SHARPISH so I can read book two!
I don’t even know what words to put down to describe Anthony’s writing. I mean, I know the words. Of course I know them. I know it is damned fine writing; I know it is evocative and creative; it fuels my imagination like no other; but none of it seems enough! Those phrases do not, in my opinion, do a lick of justice to the magic that happens when I read his books.
I can also applaud Anthony even more for his character work! I thoroughly enjoyed reading each one. Lizanne, Clay, Silverpin, Braddon, Loriabeth, Skaggerhil…the list goes on but I’ll keep it short and simply tell you characters who appear inconsequential are still fantastic! On to the main POV characters though. We have Clay, Lizanne and Hillmore! All are fab and Anthony has crafted such a well balanced story with appropriate focus to each character POV.
Clay was such a nuanced and complex character, he constantly showed a new layer or a new facet of his character/personality. His growth in The Waking Fire is brilliant and seeing who he is at the end and knowing who he will meet has me beyond excited.
Lizanne was such a fresh take, in my opinion, on the spy and assassin type character. She is an absolute bad ass but in an educated and discreet way. I really liked reading her journey, even more so when she was in the company of many of the brilliant characters within his book.
Hilemore was also a great character to read, he was almost like the calm between the storm for me, which is a silly thought because he has so much going on, there isn’t much time when the poor sod isn’t dealing with something. I really loved Hilemore by then end of the book, I liked him at the start but as it is with great characters the events they go through and they way they deal with those events and the people they meet make them so much more.
Throughout this book Anthony managed to continuously make me worried about those who inhabited the world. Now, that might not seem like a huge thing but it really is. I didn’t at any point feel like these characters were safe. Anthony does an outstanding job at showcasing the grim reality of this world. A point of particular note for me, and again it might seem insignificant to you, was when Skaggerhil was telling Clay to take it easy as headhunters are a rough crowd because the next day for them is not guaranteed. For the first time I genuinely felt the grimness of this trade, I have read many of books with mercs and hunters and other characters of some deadly occupation but never once have I truly understood these people. That they live, albeit wildly, on the days they have relative safety in a local town!
Oh the battles, the battles guys! They were such an epic thrill. Both at sea and on land Anthony has you turning page after page.
I truly loved the setting of this book too, it reminded me of so much and was a refreshing move away from the often used medieval settings. I’m not sure if I am correct in thinking this, but to me, it very much felt like the whaling times in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s with big shipping companies going off on expeditions and the remnants of native tribes and islanders still fighting companies trying to establish control over areas and creating settlements.
The Waking Fire tells such a story, with so much depth and creativity it is an utter thrill to read! It is a great quest narrative, which is why I say it has Indian Jones vibes. There is both calm moments and epic battles as is expected with a quest narrative, but even the calmer times move something forward despite this being a near 700 page book I wouldn’t remove any of it, none felt like filler and everything had a point!
This book is incredible guys, so you know…Go pick it up!
As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or library rental/wait for a sale scale. The Waking Fire is BUY THE HARDBACK, bloody hell this is a book I would absolutely love to see have an illustrated edition!
- THE COVER! Goodness the cover of this book is amazing I love it and to have it in hardback would be brilliant.
- THE STORY
- THE CHARACTER