My rating: ❤❤❤❤of 5!
Length: 386 pages
Published: the 29th of February 2016
Far away from home, under the command of his brother, Raylan and his squad must retrieve an ancient relic stolen from their kingdom’s trading partner—the Tiankong Empire.
Traveling deep into unknown enemy territory to complete their mission, Raylan learns that the ancient relic holds unexpected life; a creature buried in legends, one not seen in their world for more than two hundred years.
With their enemies closing in, Raylan and his friends search, desperately, for a safe way home. Danger lurks around every corner: Warriors larger than any man, predators stalking them through the night and soldiers determined to hunt them down. Leaving them all little choice, except to keep moving as they strategically plot—and skillfully fight—their way back to those awaiting their return.
Well holy freaking moly, batman! What an intense and epic journey I’ve just been part of! I was approached by A.J. Norfield who offered to send me a free copy of his book, in exchange for my honest review. When I saw on Goodreads, that readers compared this book, to the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, even this romance fanatic couldn’t say no to some epic fantasy. And I’m not sorry I did!
I’ll be honest and say that the first 30% did drag for me, and I was ready to give up on more occasions than I can count. Why? Because I felt like the entire world was being thrown at me. It felt like we kept being introduced to new people, beings and places – without proper connecting with the ones I had already been introduced to. However, as soon as I hit that magic 30% mark, it became a real struggle for me to put the book down.
The relic Raylan and his group is set out to retrieve turns out to be a dragon egg, and when the dragon hatch from its shell, this story goes from (in my opinion) boring to epic at a seriously quick pace. The bond between Raylan and his dragon, Galirras, is nothing short of fantastic. In fact it almost puts that of Eragon and Sophia to shame!
As Galirras tore up the rabbit and fed on his very first, self-made kill, Raylan swore that he saw a grin on the dragon’s face. He had not seen many big predators feed after a kill, and he was slightly taken aback by the gory scene and the ferociousness of Galirras’ eating.
Misinterpreting Raylan’s stare, somewhat, Galirras looked at him.
“Do you want some? You can have a leg, if you want.”
“No, thanks. It’s all yours. That was an excellent kill, so enjoy it. I’ll eat something back at the camp.”
How freaking cute and polite, is this little dragon?
As Galirras comes of age, both he and Raylan learns many things from each other. By having to teach Galirras, there’s things Raylan all of a sudden also sees in a new light.
But while being busy learning, our heroes are still on the run. Trying to find their way back home, whilst constantly being followed by the Stone Kings followers. One particularly nasty follower seems to have made it personal, when we learn of his intentions of capturing Galirras for himself.
I’m actually having a hard time writing about the plot, without giving too much away. Because as they say, the devil is in the detail. And this book is no exception! So while it might sound like not a lot is going on, our band of heroes are on their feet and busy through and through. Not only to stay alive, but also with their internal relations, bonds and feelings!
So, before I finish my review I just want to talk about the world building. One thing that usually bores me in books, is when the world feels old. Which doesn’t often go hand in hand with my love for dragons, as you often find those fantastic beings in like Arthurian settings. This world that AJ has created, is absolutely fantastic. You get the whole “old time” vibe, without actually being bored. And the creation kept me on my toes, to keep up with the names and places.
This is only the first book in the Stone War Chronicles, and at some point I’ll have to read the others. I really need to find out what happens with our group of heroes.
Have you read these books? Or any other epic fantasy stories? Do you love dragons as much as I do? Let’s have a chat in the comments!