The Empire of Ashes

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Book three of the Draconis Memoria trilogy builds on the main characters established in the first two books: Lewella Tythencroft, Lizanne Lethridge, and of course Claydon Torcreek. In a steam-punk world empowered with dragon blood, the Blood-Blessed enjoy extreme advantages until the great White Dragon wages an all-out war.

The author may be best known for Blood Song of the Raven Shadow series. Ryan takes some risks with the “nouvelle vague” steam-punk genre by incorporating dragons, hallucinogenic dragon’s blood as a means of mental telepathy, and a little bit of pure magic. But to be fair, Ryan does not cheat us by using the magic as a cheap way to escape plot difficulties.

His character development holds up for the ones who matter most, each keeping to their unique voice, and, considering the vast array of characters in this epic, he makes interesting clashes between them. Most of the characters are mutated humans with scales and special powers that do all of the actual fighting during the war with the White Dragon. These characters are little more than cardboard cut-outs without names or personalities. More could be done with them.

There is a grittiness to General Sirus, especially near the end when all appears hopeless. Perhaps some of Ryan’s best writing underlies the climactic battle to save mankind. Nevertheless, in other places the author rushes through, leaving the reader to imagine what might fill the void. Perhaps a trilogy is not enough for this dragon, steam-punk world Ryan has created.


Reviewed By:

Author Anthony Ryan
Star Count 3.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 576 pages
Publisher Ace
Publish Date 2018-03-07
ISBN 9781939844569
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2019
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy
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