I received a free copy from Penguin's FirstReads.com. I wanted it because dragons, obviously
There are two things that made an impact on the story that (probably) won’t be a factor for others:
- The formatting in my copy messed up somehow when I put it on my e-reader. So it’s normally 592 pages, my mine was stretched to 752 pages. And it was all in italics.
- No map included, marked “TK”. But if you find yourself in a similar situation, the author has provided the maps online. Wish I had known about this earlier!
I liked the UK cover, that's the one I saw and received with my copy. I didn't see the USA one until I looked it up on Goodreads... Even though the dragon is more prominent and looks fucking awesome (YAY!), the UK cover has more style and matches the book better. While the USA captures how the defining beginning moment for the characters, the UK feels like the entire journey. If you could somehow combine the two, take the title look and background (minus the flames or no?) from the UK and put the USA dragon in the forefront, I'd be in love.
Of course, the more I stare at the USA dragon, the more I love it...*sigh*
-Loved the types of dragons, how they hunted and lived.
-Love the way magic and technology influence and evolve with each other
-Love the Gaslamp inventions
-Every character was great, including the minor ones
-Eventually enjoyed each POV character
-Eventually enjoyed the adventure more and more as time went on
-Eventually switching POVs caused the desired tension
-Eventually the POVs come together and the next book should be more cohesive.
The Bad & The Other:
-Deus ex machina to the rescue! Often anyways.
-At first, took a long while to get into,
-At first, switching POVs caused it to feel slow
-At first, politics weren't very clear so a lot of the setup and maneuverings were lost on me until later.
-I do wish we knew more about the magic system but that's clearly to come...
As you can see. I’m torn between how it started and how it ended. I can’t lie, the beginning was rocky. Not because it was bad, but it felt like I was reading three different in-universe books at the same time.
Our leading trio are on different sides, missions, and places. The brief moment in the beginning when they intersect wasn't enough to establish the connection with Hilemore's perspective but it was for Lizanne and Clay.
I wasn’t immediately sucked it but it wasn’t a struggle to continue either. It was easy to put down and leave. It was better when I could just sit and read it through, starting and stopping doesn't help The Waking Fire
's flow. I can't pinpoint exactly when I became invested but it definitely took longer than usual.
I'm thinking 200+ pages, but my formatting was all messed up so it's hard to tell. It wasn’t until much later that the switching POVs created tension instead of sabotaging it.
Lizanne and Clay POVs started with a bang and were my favorites. They were also the most intertwined. Lizanne's a badass but I wish there was more of her before
. She loves her mentor and I'd appreciate more backstory to understand how Lizanne changed. Was it going on for awhile? Were there hints? Has she disobeyed previously? Her progression wasn't sudden but...it wasn't smooth either. For Clay, I wish there was a bit more explanation in regards to world-building.
His past becomes revealed eventually but what happens to blood-blessed boys? Lizanne's school is an all-girls establishment as I understand it. Why didn't he come forward as one for housing, opportunity, etc.? He also claims to have an affinity for black, but I don't see much variation or difference in the blood-blessed abilities. They all
seem to wreck. Is it as simple as being able to use it to pickpocket or is that down to training and experience?
Hilemore was the most difficult for me. It picked up with the pirates but sea battles aren't my favorite. Like NASCAR, it's all about turning and speed.
I don't like how he dropped an important line of inquiry because all the action. He should've asked for proof, looked for it, and at least picked her brain some more. His chapters didn't pick up until Zenida was brought to the forefront. She saved his chapters. I kinda wish we followed her instead of Hilemore. However, given the ending, his inclusion makes more sense.
I don't know for sure where it's going obviously, but I think it'd be hard to understand him and continue with him without including his perspective.
Besides those minor points, I ended up really enjoying their stories. Seeing them traverse and grow amid the action was awesome. Now if only the plotting didn't revolve around dragons who are supposed to be against them yet saving them time and again...Of course, there could be an explanation later on (no idea on the odds of this happening though), but it's a feeble way to save characters that can't save themselves. The only exception is the instances in Clay's chapters because it is
explained and becomes a meaningful part of his narrative. Lizanne was extremely skilled and tactical but all their asses would've been grass without dragons conveniently killing their enemies at certain times. Besides the deus ex machina dragons and high risk investment value, there isn't anything to complain about.
The world-building is vast and unique; I can't wait to explore it more. Characters are fleshed out people and the minor characters shine. For me, finishing The Waking Fire
payed off and I will be continuing the series. I have little doubt the next installment will not have the same issues as this one and should plunge deeper into every aspect I want.
Torn between the beginning (2.5 starts) and the rest (4 stars), I'm cutting the difference and calling it Good. It was worth it in the end but it's hard giving 4 stars to a book that took so
long and could've gone either way.
If you love fantasy, want a new world to submerse into, and are willing to commit, I recommend The Waking Fire
. Especially if you love dragons. Why the blurb tries to play cute with calling them drakes, I don't know. In the book, they're called dragons the whole way through...
If you're looking for an easy-breezy read or are new to fantasy, I'd picked another book.
For others, I'd recommend previewing. It is a longer book and larger reading periods works better for the flow.