Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Review - Firedrake

I just finished the second book in the Tome of Fire trilogy, Firedrake. This book takes place some time after the first with quite a few shakeups in the Salamander 3rd Company. If you have listened and read the connecting stories for the trilogy this isn't a big of a shock and even it you didn't allot of it was predictable. This time we are given 3 intertwines stories that dive deeper into the mystery posed in the first book. There is Dak'ir ascension and first trials, Elysius's capture/escape and the appearance of Vulkan He'Stan in a quest to recover an artifact. This is a lot of ground to cover in a short time and I have to give credit to Nick Kyme he does a good job tying them together.

His style compared to the other Black Library writers is a little heavy handed with not a lot of foreshadowing or hiding of purpose. Each character plays their part and though they grow throughout the book the growth  isn't in dramatic changes. It feels more like I am playing the cards I am dealt. This does lead to a few characters ending up in predictable situations with the classic saved at the last minute solutions.The pacing on this one is better than the first book with each segment moving forward to a logical breaking point before the next story arc takes over.

The biggest change is the detail level he gives in this book. 40K authors are know for creating lavish worlds full of little details and that is the shining point of this book. There are no blank walls or empty battlefields. You are given everything from the scale of the room to the dust floating in the air. If you are into building terrain and looking for ideas this book is great for that. I am already picturing a couple of custom tables from the book.

Over all I liked the book and it is pretty fast read with only a few gripes. The gripes being the same ones I have with all the 40K book where once an objective is reached the story ends with a short hop back to their ship/home world to await the next mission. Just once I want to see a real fighting escape. The other issue is the epilogue feels more important than the rest of the book. This could be due to it being a middle book in the trilogy. They normally server as a place holder for what is next. On the plus side it answers almost all the questions asked in the first book Salamander even if we were about 80% of the way to the answers already.

Is it worth reading, yes. Though not the best Black Library book it has more than enough to hold its own and is an enjoyable read. If you read the first or any of the connecting stories then you have to continue. There is nothing worse than stopping in the middle. If for anything then to find out if Dak'ir and Tsu'gan kill each other before the series ends.

3 blotter rounds out of 5.

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