Title: The Rage of Dragons.
Series: The Burning #1.
Writer(s): Evan Winter.
Release Date: March 10th, 2020 (First Published July 16th, 2019).
My Overall Rating:
Where can one go with a predicament born from societal stratification and politics but up? The existence of such barriers restrains individuals in their ability to grow to their full potential while elites swim in their riches and assure their reign over the weak and powerless throughout countless generations. Only war can dare upset the structure of the world and change the landscape, paving the way towards a future where injustice is not at the core of one’s reality. But hope and change don’t only fly through the sky in blazing glory, it can also come from within, from individuals with strong beliefs, and especially those who have known pain and loss first hand. Taking the fantasy world by storm comes debut writer Evan Winters with an epic Xhosa-inspired world brimming with action, revenge, and conflict.
What is The Rage of Dragons about? For nearly two hundred years, the Omehi people, the Nobles and Lessers chosen by the Goddess to lead all the races of men, have been in an eternal war with the Hedeni tribes, those who have no faith in the Goddess and live outside of Her grace. Protected by the Guardian (a dragon), it is through the powers of the Gifted, those who can call down Guardians or even empower an Ingonyama into a giant, that they are now able to survive and defend their home in Xidda after having had to flee their previous territory in Osonte. Unfortunately, the Hedeni tribes, now called the Xiddeen, bide their time in hopes to eradicate this civilization and reclaim their land. The story thus follows the young and gift-less Tau, a higher common part of the lower class, who wishes for an ordinary life void of violence until tragedy strikes him and sends him down a dark road of revenge. Devoting his life to take the lives of those who are guilty of his loss, he vows to outduel the obstacles set in his path to come out on top in the incoming warrior trials.
“Let them think me a monster. I will be a monster, if it means we survive.”— Evan Winter
Writer Evan Winter draws upon divine writing powers to compel readers to an irresistible journey into a young man’s quest for revenge. His portrayal of a world rooted in injustice and fully embraced by its everlasting caste system firmly establishes the political, societal, and individual facet of this story and constantly reminds readers of the terrifying climate under which these characters evolve. Although predictable, this masterfully-crafted narrative excels in conveying a stunning sense of tension mostly captured by the ever-growing stakes of the eternal war. However, it is important to note that one should not enter this world dreaming of dragons—don’t get me wrong, they are very much present in this world—as the focus lies elsewhere, offering readers the chance to explore the staggering divide amongst and within individuals, dissecting the polarizing perspectives to achieve change, peace, and hope that multiple characters embody within this story.
With revenge serving as the driving force of this narrative, it is only expected that the character who acts as the vessel of this emotional state becomes the center of attention. The gift-less Tau thus makes for a phenomenal character who brandishes his fury towards the upper caste with a tangible rage. His transformation, raw and guided by emotion, allows readers to follow him in his quest to appease his insatiable revenge, blinded by a pursuit of justice, respect, and equality. Through sheer determination and willpower, he fights his way towards internal equilibrium as he sees violence as the only language that can be understood by those in power to ultimately achieve peace but will have to learn the hard way that violence only begets violence. While his means might be questionable, leave it to writer Evan Winter to write up some of the most cinematic close-quarter action sequences in the fantasy game—and boy, are there a lot of those—to make readers crave for more combat as they burn through these pages like an enraged dragon flying over a field full of Hedeni tribes.
The Rage of Dragons is a riveting and action-packed fantasy debut fueled by a theme of revenge within a world founded on injustice.