Child of The Daystar (Wings of War, Book 1)

By Bryce O’Connor

Child of the Daystar is the first entry into The Wings of War series. It introduces readers to the story of Raz i’Syrul, a sort of humanoid dragon, who is captured by slavers early in his life, and is subsequently raised by a kindly group of nomads. After a series of unfortunate events, we then witness Raz’s rise to fame (infamy?), in which he becomes a badass mercenary/gladiator type (hey, wouldn’t you, if you were a 7-foot tall dragon dude?).

This is one of those books that I felt conflicted about while reading. It’s not exactly young adult, insofar as there is plenty of combat, viscera, etc. But it does have the sort of cadence that I’ve come to associate with YA fantasy literature (similar to Red Rising, The Hunger Games, etc.), and there were times throughout the book when I thought about putting it down (mostly in the first half). But I never quite did, and when all was said and done, I think I’ll probably pick up the sequels at some point (I know, I know, I’m damning it with faint praise). O’Connor has a strong hand with the action sequences, and I appreciated how Raz’s dark side helped to flesh out his character. I will dock a few points for the bad guys being transparently evil, but I suppose there are straight-up demonic slaver-types still around in the world today, so it’s not that much of a reach.

The amazon reviews for books two and three of the series look positive, so hopefully that’s an indication that the series grows stronger as it progresses. At the very least, book one was a relatively quick and entertaining read. I’ll gladly designate it as “guilty pleasure” reading; if you’re looking for for a drink that goes down easy, and like combat-filled fantasy, ¬†this isn’t a bad choice!

Rating: 2 – Guilty Pleasure

If you liked this, you may enjoy: Red Rising, The Hunger Games. 

 

 

 

The Red Rising Series

By Pierce Brown

I took a trip to Iceland last fall, and in the process found myself frantically downloading books to my Kindle before I left. In the process, I ended up with Red Rising, which I hadn’t heard anything about previously.

Full disclosure: this isn’t a well-written book. I think the average sentence length is probably like 8 words, and let me tell you, this ain’t Hemingway.

“But Sam,” you say, “in your ‘About Me section,’ you say that you’re not interested in trashing authors’ work, right? Why so harsh?”

Also full disclosure: I basically inhaled this book, and its sequels Golden Son and Morning Star. Is it fine literature? Nope. Is it highly derivative of the Hunger Games? Yep. Did I read all three books within like 48 hours? You betcha.

Here’s the basic plot: in a futuristic dystopian society, a member of the downtrodden “Red” class manages to infiltrate the upper tier “Gold” class, and embarks on Hunger Games-esque adventures. And while I panned the writing of the first book, to be fair, the author is young, and improves over books 2 and 3. Throughout, Brown commands a strong control of the plot, and keeps the cliffhangers coming. If you enjoyed the Hunger Games (or even Harry Potter, for that matter), you’ll probably find something to like here. At the very least, it’s a good way to spend a lazy afternoon.

Warning: though this is something near young adult literature, there is a fair bit of violence and gore (a la The Hunger Games).

Rating: 2- Guilty Pleasure

If you like this, you may enjoy: The Hunger Games, Harry Potter