In the second installment of this Japanese mythology–inspired fantasy series, Iren Saitosan, a member of a warrior race known as the Maantecs, sets out to regain his magic-using ability, uncovering many secrets about his past along the way.
At the close of the previous installment in The Dragoon Saga (The Wings of Dragons, 2013), Iren channeled the spirit of the Holy Dragon inside his katana to stop the Fire Dragon from burning the world of Raa to the ground. The downside of this epic victory is that Iren can no longer use magic. Feeling frustrated and useless, he sets out to find his family’s old farmhouse, in hopes that his parents, whom he never knew, left clues as to how he can regain his power. Along the way, he rescues his old friend, the loyal soldier Balear, from execution; then, a beautiful, mysterious Maantec woman named Hana rescues them from danger, and she promises to help Iren find what he’s seeking. Hana possesses abilities that make her a valuable ally—but she may have her own agenda. Rondel, the fiercest old crone in Raa, teams up with the forest princess Minawë to track Iren through an array of vibrant, violent landscapes, but even with their own magical powers, they might not be strong enough to stop him from fulfilling his destiny. Author VanBrakle packs his story with blood-splattered battles, otherworldly creatures, and back-stabbing plots—all the hallmarks of a great saga. As in the first book, the strong female characters are the standouts: Minawë’s evolution from a grieving princess to a bow-wielding warrior is a far more compelling personal journey than Iren’s; Hana manages to be neither a hero nor a villain and neither a victim nor a victor but something else far more unique; and Rondel harbors complex, hidden motivations at every single step. The three of them will make readers forget who the main hero of the story is actually supposed to be.
A fantasy sequel with well-developed characters that doesn’t disappoint.