Review: THE LEGION OF FLAME by Anthony Ryan
Epic Fantasy, Steampunk, Science Fantasy, Victoriana.
Empires clash and a fell power stakes its claim in the second in a new series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow Trilogy.
For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood—and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed—to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen—a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it.
Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire and for all of civilization.
This book is so, so good.
Second books are notorious for being worst than the first, I mean, when a first book is as good as I reviewed THE WAKING FIRE to be… the second one couldn’t possibly measure up.
I received an ARC of THE LEGION OF FLAME from the author.
I loved THE WAKING FIRE. You can read my review here.
I love THE LEGION OF FLAME even more.
It’s better than book one and I don’t know exactly how Mr. Ryan has managed to pull that off, but he has.
We revisit some of my favorite fantasy characters to continue their stories as the world they know, an intriguing mix of Victoriana, steampunk, old west exploration-ist, and fantasy, proceeds to crumble around them.
Scary Dragons, really scary dragons. Getting to know them better in this book made me realize I’d really not want to meet any of them, anywhere, ever. Especially the white one. Yeesh!
The White Dragon in this book gives me the willies in all the best ways. Creepy!
We get more of the history of the world while Mr. Ryan is busy torturing his characters emotionally, physically, and mentally and making it all feel seamless and necessary! (Dude, I don’t read fluff, I don’t write fluff, and Mr. Ryan managed to rip *my* heart out and MADE me keep reading long into the night with this book several times. And I thought *I* was mean to my characters.)
There’s the bloody free for all aspect to the world I’d come to relish in the first book, taken even further. The characters travel over the globe in a desperate bid to save humanity. Who doesn’t quite get that they’re in danger, yet.
It’s freaking epic. I can’t praise this book, series, or author more. Did I mention it’s a diverse cast? It’s a beautifully handled cast of diverse characters as well. There’s even mixed-race people like me! It’s awesome, I loved seeing someone like me in epic fantasy.
It’s well worth the purchase, and even though I have an ARC? I still pre-ordered the hardcover so I’d have that one too. (It’s that good, it really is.)
I don’t buy many books in hardcover these days, because I usually prefer to read e-books and because of space constraints.
For those I term ‘my authors worth collecting?’ they take pride of place on my bookshelves. Mr. Ryan tops my list.
Get the book, it’s seriously worth every cent and every hour you spend reading it. I’m at the point of needing to reread the two I have because I love the world so much. I’m STILL nursing a book hangover extraordinaire. Three days after I finished reading it.
Readability: 5 (In awe cause I have no idea how Mr. Ryan writes so well! I’m a writer and an editor, I know what I’m talking about, this is sheer brilliance. I just can’t say it any other way.) I also dropped the book on my face, fell asleep reading it many times (because I stayed up until 4 am desperate to know what happened next!) Just. One. More. Chapter! Page! Sentence! Zzzzzz. I didn’t sleep the whole night through for the four days I had this book in my hands.
Arcs: 5 The character, story and world arcs are so well plotted and interwoven that it’s amazing to me that one mind came up with all of this, and managed to keep it straight! To make it make sense! I didn’t even see where two of the arcs were going until we got there either, and that takes a lot these days. I can usually see where something is going. I didn’t in this, which is so refreshing.
Craft: 5 So. I read an uncorrected ARC, and honestly? I’d sort of prepared myself to find errors. I’ve read and reviewed a lot of ARCS by now, and most have a significant percentage of error. Some really needed another few editorial passes before being released as an ARC. All I can say is that either Mr. Ryan is an excellent self-editor, has a brilliant critique partner/beta reader or an excellent editor, because in an ARC… I found three errors. Two were dropped words, one was a sentence in need of an ‘and’. That’s it. In a book with well over 250k words. That is freaking amazing.
As for the rest… Gorgeous prose, phenomenal. Earth shattering worldbuilding, there is SO MUCH WORLDBUILDING here peeps. There’s history, mythology, biology, magic, economy. Everything… down to the smallest detail, is treated with the same amount of thorough consideration. I loved it, all of it. The pacing is upmarket to literary, which I personally adore.
This is the second book this year (and only the second) that I’ve been able to give an unalloyed 5-star rating to, across the board. It’d be 10 on each particular if my rating system allowed for it.
It really is… THAT good.
Now I have to sit here and WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE, (and this one hasn’t even hit bookshelves yet!)
Woe is me.
The Legion of Flame will be released on June 27th in the US and the UK. Pre-order from the following retailers:
Ebook: Amazon.com – Amazon.co.uk – Nook – Kobo – iBooks – WH Smith
Hardcover: Amazon.com – Amazon.co.uk – Barnes & Noble – Indiebound – Waterstones – Wordery