Libri Draconis wouldn’t be a very good bookish dragon site if it didn’t talk about dragon books every once in a while. And Brian Naslund’s series starting with Blood of an Exile, and continuing with the recently released Sorcery of a Queen are excellent dragon books. And if you look closely, it even features a quote from my colleagues at Grimdark Magazine endorsing it, so another reason to pick up the books!
Many thanks to Jamie-Lee Nardone and Stephen Haskins for sending me a copy of Sorcery of a Queen in exchange for a honest review!
RELEASE DATE: 06/08/20
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SUMMARY: The dragonslayer Bershad and Queen Ashlyn are facing the greatest challenge of their lives.
Branded the Witch Queen and driven from her kingdom, Ashlyn flees to her mother’s people. Yet she won’t be beaten, resolving to master magical feats long thought impossible. But this could have unforeseen consequences. Meanwhile, Bershad has learnt why he seems invincible – and that he’s living on borrowed time. However, he remains determined to help Ashlyn regain her throne.
They will face a foreign emperor, commanding an army equipped with terrifying new weaponry. This aggressor will do anything to crush Ashlyn’s land, and claim its prized dragons. So to save her kingdom, both queen and dragonslayer must attempt the impossible to prevail. (from UK Tor)
OPINIONS: To me, the central conflict in Sorcery of a Queen is between the factions of Ashlyn and Kira, two sisters at war with each other, which is pretty refreshing for epic Grimdark fantasy. Neither is exactly morally good, or very queenly, but both are ambitious, complex and power-hungry, which makes for very interesting reading material. One of my favourite aspects of the series is the way sorcery is set up, as a sort of learned alchemy that is not inherent but rather macabre in itself and attained through experimentation and study.
The dragons are more set dressing that characters themselves, as the series is more concerned with the concept of dragons existing in the world and the implication that has for the story at large than the impact of individual dragons. Bershad, another of the main characters, is a famous dragonslayer, sorcery is partially based on dragon’s body parts and ingredients found in their lairs and Kira’s airships are built out of dragon’s carcasses.
The story itself is well-written and compelling, and just like the two titular queens, the remaining characters are morally conflicting, following their individual aims over any clear moral alignment. Sorcery of a Queen doesn’t suffer from second-book syndrome, in fact, due to its slower nature and focus on the discovery of sorcery I might have enjoyed this one even more than Blood of an Exile!
In any case, I am very much looking forward to the final installment of the Dragons of Terra trilogy. Add Sorcery of a Queen to your Goodreads here, and order a copy from Waterstones or any bookseller of your choice!