Twilight of the Dragons (The Blood Dragon Empire #2) by Andy Remic
Twilight of the Dragons is the second in the Dragon Empire series by Andy Remic. This series is very dark and I will say upfront that it certainly won’t be for everyone. I have to say from the outset that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first, but, first things first – to the review and please note that there will be spoilers below in terms of the first book.
This story sets off almost immediately where the Dragon Engine concluded and there are a number of threads to follow. The three dragons being held captive beneath the mines have been let loose and are terrorising the countryside burning down villages and killing people. Meanwhile, back at the mine our would-be heroes are now on a revised mission, no longer a treasure hunt, but a quest to save the world from the disaster that has now been released (although if the opportunity comes along the way to snag a few precious stones then so be it). We have a storyline that sees Skalg in a far different role than I ever expected and we have the inclusion of the Iron Wolves.
Firstly, what did I enjoy about this. Well, I haven’t previously read Remic’s Iron Wolves and this series can be read without having done so – however, it was great to make their acquaintance here – in fact, truth be told I thought they stole the show a little.
I thought the dragons were just marvellously nasty. Nothing to like here. Fire breathing maniacs who own the skies and swoop down dramatically to leave death and destruction in their wake.
Then we have our motley crew – yes, they’ve escaped, but they’ve been brought low by the treatment they received at the hands of the dwarves. Led by Lilith they are journeying through the mines to an unknown goal. They still make a great bunch of characters – especially Beetrax who is just a gloriously larger than life character.
So, why didn’t I enjoy this book as much as the first? It has the feel of a book with second in series syndrome, the plot jumps about a lot and is interspersed with flashbacks. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the flashbacks as it was good to learn more of the background to some of the characters, but, it interrupted the flow somewhat. And, even though I say this feels like a book with middle book syndrome, I’m not entirely sure that this is the case as this feels like a conclusion. Granted, there is room for manoeuvre to continue but I’m not sure if that’s planned or not. On top of that, and this is still puzzling me, but in spite of what seems like a lot of action on reflection the story doesn’t go a whole lot further. I’m probably not articulating that very well but it has a feel of lots of dashing about with bloodshed and fighting, all really well described, but it somehow doesn’t have the scale of the first book and indeed the flashbacks almost feel like book filler. Finally, I think I mentioned in the last book review that Remic doesn’t shirk from the gritty in fact he paints his story quite liberally with it. But, I felt that in some respects this book just went too far for me. I got to a point where I was thinking ‘okay, I get it’ – leave something to the imagination.
I hope this doesn’t sound too critical. I think Remic is an excellent writer. He brings these scenes alive on the page. He can create an atmosphere of light hearted camaraderie and banter in one paragraph and then go to overwhelming despair the next and he is an expert at putting your emotions through the wringer.
Overall I enjoyed both books in the Dragon Empire series and if the author intends to write more I would definitely read on.
I received a copy courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.