The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan Series: The Draconis Memoria # 1

The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
Series: The Draconis Memoria # 1
On Sale Date: July 5, 2016
Epic Fantasy, Dragons
Ace, 592 pages
Source: Finished copy from publisher
My Rating: 3.5/4 Stars
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Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Trading Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from captive or hunted Reds, Greens, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that bestow fearsome powers on the rare men and women known as the Blood-blessed.
But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighbouring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly. The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.
Claydon Torcreek is a petty thief and an unregistered Blood-blessed who finds himself pressed into service by the Protectorate and sent to wild, uncharted lands in search of a creature he believes is little more than legend. Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin facing gravest danger on an espionage mission deep into the heart of enemy territory. And Corrick Hilemore is the second lieutenant of an Ironship cruiser whose pursuit of ruthless brigands leads him to a far greater threat at the edge of the world.
As lives and empires clash and intertwine, as the unknown and the known collide, all three must fight to turn the tide of a coming war, or drown in its wake.


I love books about Dragons. Add to that pirates, spies and adventure on the high seas and across uncharted lands, and I'm definitely excited. 

In The Waking Fire, Anthony Ryan's newest series, The Draconis Memoria, features a world where Drakes (Dragons) are highly prized for their blood properties.

Reds, Greens, Blues, and Blacks are hunted and captured in order to extract their blood which in turn creates powerful elixirs used by a rare group of men and women, known as the Blood-blessed, who can harness superhuman like powers making them as sought after as the rare Drakes hunted. 

The Waking Fire is one BIG, gorgeous book to gaze upon. The story is told through three, alternating points of view with each one giving some setup to the worldbuilding and story.

It took me about 10 chapters to start getting into the groove and feel of it. When I did, I found myself repeatedly trying to pick up at every opportunity. 

The fantasy setting is a mix of Steampunk and swashbuckling adventure. There's adventure into uncharted islands, naval battles and duels with pirates.

Deadly drakes threaten while enemies from across the sea ready for an epic maritime battle. There's plenty of odd gadgets, many similar to what you would find in Steampunk, but many of these are also retrofitted to coincide with the Blood-blessed's abilities to manipulate them with the enhanced Drake's blood. 

Though the pace was a bit slow and steady at first, as many first in a series epics are, Ryan knows how to steadily increase tension with lots of dangerous buildups and reveals.

The story revolves around three charactersI POV's and I found myself glued to the book as one character would be at a pivotal spot, only to switch to another character's POV, causing a few near curses and frustration, but it works wonderfully in the long run. Getting to know each character this way - with each in its own adventure just added to the story.

Claydon Torcreek is a petty thief conscripted into the service by the Protectorate sent to uncharted territory in search of the fabled White drake.

There's definitely an adventuress feel to his portion of the story. One that I really enjoyed as it reminded an Allan Quatermain/Indiana Jones adventure. Guns, dangerous terrain to overcome, mysterious islanders with evil intent, a touch of romance ... and Drakes! Battles with Drakes.

Lizanne Lethridge our lovely heroine, is a formidable spy and assassin sent on a dangerous mission of espionage deep into the heart of enemy territory.

She has the coolest gadgets and is completely kick-arse. Through Lizanne, the readers are treated to not only espionage but war and battle planning. Plotting and action ensue - whether she's leaping across buildings, firing at Drakes or blowing things up, Lizanne puts the badassery in spying. 

Corrick Hilemore is the second lieutenant of an Ironship cruiser who ends up in a den of pirates with kidnapping, duels and naval battles to keep things interesting.

Corrick had the least page time but when he's present, the reader can be assured of some watery battles and brigands about.

The Waking Fire By Anthony Ryan overall ended up being a very entertaining read and series opener.

Recommended to readers of epic fantasy, lovers of dragons, hide and seek adventures, and swashbuckling. A slower beginning needs patient readers while characters and plotting have time to percolate into epic yumminess.