The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
The “Waking Fire” is a book that opens a new series of Draconis Memoria written by a known and liked by many fans Anthony Ryan. This time he decided to focus on a world in which dragons have a very important role in everyday life. So if you are a fan of series that include mythical creatures, this proposition will be ideal for you.
The world created by the author is outstanding. Powerful and wild dragons (green, blue, red and black) were reduced to the role of product. Monsters raised in cages are not efficient anymore cause of being small and sick. The population of those living in the wild is decreasing at an alarming rate. The reason for keeping the dragons is their blood, which gives extraordinary power to the Blessed Ones – the chosen individuals who can use it without fear for their own lives. Dragon’s blood is the base of trade in the universe, but also a great danger for ordinary people for whom even the smallest amount is deadly dangerous. The Ironship Trading Syndicate, however, still hopes to improve the current situation and believes in the existence of something that many consider just a legend – the white dragon. For that reason, Syndicate organizes an expedition that aims to find it. Does Claydon Torcreek – a thief and unregistered Blessed, Lizanne Lethridge – a spy and assassin, and Corrick Hilemore – a lieutenant who serves on the Syndicate cruiser, will be able to perform difficult tasks entrusted to them? One thing is certain – there are many adventures waiting for them and they will face many dangers, many times!
“The life you have has its consequences. One of them is lack of trust.”
Anthony Ryan’s book is told from three perspectives. I must admit that I liked this point of view because it brings different aspects of the world in which the characters live, and it turns out to be really diverse. Thanks to Corrick and Long Rifles, we can move on sea ships and fight pirates. Claydon takes us to the vast forests and mountains. Lizanne, on the other hand, is wandering around the city and getting acquainted with the rules that govern society. I must admit that this is really interesting.
I have also to praise Anthony Ryan for his “Waking Fire” characters. They are definitely the bright side of the universe he offered us. There are no black and white figures. There are people outlined by many shades of gray, hiding secrets, often behaving differently than we would expect. Supporting characters also play an important role and they are not a small game piece which will be forgotten just after finishing the chapter. I mostly liked Clay’s parts, that were dynamic and amusing.
Anthony wrapped his book with an overall conclusion: “There is no pain that can not be endured and survived. There is no obstacle that cannot be overcome. All that is needed, is the will to win”. Ryan has also neatly combined threads with each other and does not implement descriptions that go on endlessly. I have read the book quickly cause it was addictive and at a times very surprising. Few times author caught me off the guard by the different outcome from what i have anticipated. Since i do not like the predictability, he bought me completely.
I must also note that development of the political situation was not well blended in. There were times when i was not quite sure what was going on. However, adventure threads and quick action made up for this shortcoming.
Those winged beasts appear in colors – black, red, blue and green. Each of them wields a different magic:
“Blue for the mind,
Green for the body,
Red for fire,
Black for power.”
If something can make a man powerful then you have to use it. That is the most primal instinct one can follow. Of course, people that are living in Arradsia came up with the neat solution to keep and easily gain the power of dragons by breeding them. Noone expected that dragons will become shadows of their ancestors and therefore, so important blood will lose its quality.
As for the creatures, I think that Anthony has picked them with precaution. I might be totally mistaken but in my opinion, creating new fantasy species is far more interesting and he could easily pull it off.
Time to sum up
The “Waking Fire” is really well thought over. The author clearly knew what he wanted to cover and he pulled a nice feat for the readers. Anthony created an interesting world with intriguing heroes and most importantly, compelling story. The first part of the Draconis Memoria cycle definitely deserves attention. Intrigues, betrayals, hidden secrets, dangerous trips, battles, new inventions, but above all a nice dose of action! This is not “just” a fantasy book, it is an adventure.