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Summary

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for generations. The lucky ones are born gifted: some have the power to call down dragons, others can be magically transformed into bigger, stronger, faster killing machines.   

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Tau Tafari wants more than this, but his plans of escape are destroyed when those closest to him are brutally murdered.  

With too few gifted left the Omehi are facing genocide, but Tau cares only for revenge. Following an unthinkable path, he will strive to become the greatest swordsman to ever live, willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill three of his own people.  

The Rage of Dragons launches an unmissable epic fantasy series about a world caught in an endless war and the young man who will become his people's only hope for survival.

©2019 Evan Winter (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"A captivating epic fantasy from a major new talent." (Anthony Ryan, author of Blood Song)

"Intense, inventive and action-packed from beginning to end - a relentlessly gripping, brilliant read." (James Islington, author of The Shadow of What Was Lost)

What listeners say about The Rage of Dragons

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic start to a fresh new epic fantasy

What a fantastic start to a fresh new epic fantasy tale.

So let’s start with this. The blurb says Rage of Dragons is Game of Thrones meets Gladiator. Well it’s very like Gladiator in many ways, but to say it’s anything like Game of Thrones is doing a disservice to both parties. This book is nothing like GoT. Nothing.

I think this is my first African-inspired epic fantasy book. I certainly can’t remember reading another one. It has a distinct flavour to it from the beginning through to the end, and it really helps to focus the immersion. In a market still largely populated by euro-centric settings, this made the book very fresh to me and I loved it. It felt new, different, and unique.

The narrator, Prentice Onayemi, was fantastic. He really helped bring the characters to life and put a lot of heart into the performance. A narrator can make or break a book when it comes to audio and Prentice certainly helped make this one. It’s fair to say I’ll be continuing the series in audio when future installments release.

So RoD is the story of a civilisation at war with its neighbours. The Omehi people are refuges/invaders and have been fighting against the native population for two hundred years. The war is unwinnable. They’re also a people who have built their society around not only war, but a rigid caste system designed to benefit those of strong blood (basically people who are taller and stronger in this case). Oh, and 1 in every 1000 (I think) women are born gifted which gives them magical powers that can tear a person’s soul out of their body into the underworld, enrage a person to make them giant killing machines, or even call down dragons. Thrown into this world we follow Tau, a commoner with no gifts or special power, or any prospects other than being just another expendable soldier. But Tau has something no one else has… a singular purpose, a drive that makes him push himself beyond his abilities and beyond his station.

There’s a lot of fighting in this book. The world Winter has created revolves around war and we follow a young man training to be a warrior. The fighting is well done with a good balance between description and narrative flow. It works well.

We only really have the one character arc. Tau is our only Point of View (mostly) and he develops naturally. At times he is frustrating as the hells, but then you don’t want your character to be perfect. Still… I wanted to crawl inside the book and slap some sense into him once or twice.

There’s quite a few twists and turns throughout and though a couple are obvious, others are not so much. It also does a fantastic job of setting up the conflict and world for the next in the series. This one is epic fantasy and makes no apologies for it. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

I have a couple of gripes. There’s some single chapter point of view swaps that make no sense to me. The rest of the book is told through Tau’s perspective and swapping heads just twice was odd and jarring. There’s also a few turns of phrase that were so awkward they pulled me out of the story to scratch my head and in one case laugh… in the middle of a gruesome battle scene. Oh and a sexy-time shaving scene. Ok, that last one is a personal niggle because shaving scenes aren’t sexy, they’re weird and awkward.

I enjoyed the hell out of RoD and can’t wait to continue with the story. I’ve no idea when book 2 will be coming out, but I’ll be picking it up as soon as it does.

I’m going with 4.5 stars for this one so I can round it up to 5. 😀

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great

Loved listening to this book. The narrator had the perfect voice for this story which was gory, sexy and addictive.

2 people found this helpful

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A slow burner

I do like my fantasy books but am normally fairly vanilla with them in that I like the basic premises people associate with them.
I bought this on the basis of others reviews and am really pleased I did. It's a slow burner and can take a while to understand some of the words used to describe classes and people, however it is well worth sticking with.
The fallible hero and other characters are very well done and you care about their individual personalities.
The set up for the next book is excellent and I am already chomping at the bit for it.

As far as the person reading this, they are just....just..excellent. they have a soft voice that draws you in and help bring each of the different people to life.

Well worth listening to and sticking with.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed bag

I really enjoyed the world building and there were interesting themes explored. However, as the story progressed it just got clunkier and repetitive. The narrator was not great - really limited range and horrible pronunciation of names which threw me out of the story. I switched off after a while with all the battle scenes and though I made it through to the end of the book, I won't be hanging around for the next one as I was not vested enough in any of the characters or the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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4/5. Very cool Mr. Winter

It was a very fun listen and a fantastic first novel by author Evan Winter. I felt that the book tried to do too much in the space it had, and as a result the character work was weaker than I had hoped. Without spoiling anything, much of the development for the protagonist feels forced and, especially at the end, inconsistent. The setting however makes up for it, both for the place and magic systems built up. It's wonderfully original and feels extremely dynamic, helping keep the pace, meaning I finished the book very very quickly.

The audiobook however I felt was let down by the narration. I feel that the big emotional scenes of the book were poorly serviced by the narrator's emotional expressiveness (or lack thereof).

Overall 4/5. An original setting carries the story hard, but it isn't like the characters are unlikable either. I'm looking forward to what Mr. Winter puts out next- I'll be very sad if things don't get better with a start this strong given the author's potential.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic, rich, unforgettable

I finished this 5 weeks ago and intended to review it then. It still leaves an impression now. Why oh why isn't the next one ready?

Tau (I may have misspelled it) is brilliantly drawn. If you like to see a character grow and change because of what is happened, because of his choices, and because of the situations he is propelled through, then this swordsman will grab you.

He grinds through hell and blood to gain any scrap of skill he grows into, and you feel his hurt, his experience, everything.

The start is a slow burn, it will take you a little time to feel why the first chapter is at it is but give that rich warm narration the patience it deserves and you'll be rewarded.

This isn't a shallow piece of brain candy, it's an involving detailed brain feast.

The central characters are not dragons themselves, but the people and their fight. It doesn't have simple good and evil, but you will feel a sense of right and wrong, through every slash and blow.

Swordplay is a major part of Tau and of the story but don't let that fool you. If a well developed character battling his way through the problems of his world in a manner that is far from simple has any appeal, then read this.

I loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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Incredible

There's something too compelling about a hero overcoming prejudice and getting revenge. Add to that the unusual African inspired setting and the incredible narration and you've got a recipe for one of my favourite fantasy books ever. Blown away.

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fantastic book!

I loved this book! It is a combination of swords and sandals style warfare combined with a fantasy world of magic, demons and dragons.

the story itself is as exhilarating and unforgiving.

the Narrator was great, using a soft tone whilst narrating which contrasts perfectly with the harder spoken characters.

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An Exceptional Book

First thing I have to do is congratulate Prentice Onayemi for his masterful narration, his performance was expectional and made the story told even better.

The story it's self is thrilling at every point, Evan winters skill as written is evident throughout out. The fighting is exceptional well written and paired with Prentice performance makes it easy for the kinds eye to visualise. I can't sing enough praises.for this book, it has twist and turns, thrilling and edge of the seat moments throughout.wjile the over arching story is slowly and cleverly reavelaed.

I haven't read a book that I can compare this too, it is well worth the purchase!

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Ending like a punch

Story gradually gets better and better, to one of more surprising and mesmerizing endings.
It makes me forgive this book some small flaws, like slow start, or how frustrating mc was for most of the book. Gladly he got better by the end.
I will recommend this book to all high fantasy fans I know.

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  • A fellow human being
  • 07-11-20

Interesting idea, bad execution

In short, this reads like an action movie, or a video game,
There aren't a lot of deep ideas in this book, The main character doesn't really pay any discernable price for it's actions, and the solution to almost every problem the protagonist face is try harder.
That being said the book has it's fight scenes and cathartic closures, mostly in it's midpart, which is probably the best.
The setting and worldbuilding are unreal in the sense that they wouldn't hold in an actual scenario. The economy is illogical and a lot of details don't really make sense. The characters get wounded and come back to battle to quickly for it to matter that they have been almost mortally wounded a few hours back and that kind of makes everything not matter some times.

That being said, if you understand that it's not a book to think about too deeply, it's a fun ride and has it's fair share of cool fight scenes. If I pick up the next installment, it's because I want to turn my mind off, not on.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-19

Five Stars It Is

My friends usually tell me, I am too harsh with criticism and I'm a naysayer. They say I should suspend my disbelief if I am to enjoy a book. Sometimes I think they maybe right. But not right now. Not after finishing this book. This is a debut novel from a first time author and now it's also how I tell my friends to fuck themselves.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-09-19

WOW

A wonderful book, so much so that 60 odd books later on Audible this is my first written review.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • david
  • 03-03-20

I really loved this book

I am giving it 5 stars because I ended up loving the story and the main characters arc.
it is a revenge story where the main character trains harder than anyone else and is ready to sacrifice himself to accomplish his task.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 17-01-22

Really enjoyed this. Worth the credit!

Worth the credit. Was fun and cool and interesting. Enjoyed the whole story and recommend it for anyone looking to try it out

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Patrick Metzler
  • 10-11-21

Excellent epic fantasy

What starts out as an “cultural underdog coming of age” story quickly turns into a captivating world-building and intrigue rich masterpiece.

For me this series feels similar (not in content, but in concept) to the excellent Red Rising series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-08-21

Magnificent. African. Powerful.

I was completely blown away by this beautifully crafted African fantasy. Compelling, nuanced and breathtaking in its scope, this is a story I want more of. I am proud to be African.

A NOTE ON OTHER REVIEWS
I have been extremely disappointed by the thinly veiled racism in so many of the reviews and the fact that there seems to be no moderation of these. It is important that we protect the work of black and African writers and narrators from being buried by this conscious and unconscious bias.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan Jamieson
  • 11-06-21

Absolutely Incredible

I cannot believe this is Evan Winter's first novel. The characters and story are just amazing. I sat listening to the last three hours of this book in one sitting. I cannot recommend this incredible work of art enough

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Barelyspicy
  • 22-04-21

Underwhelming

70% of the book was 2.5/5, there wasn't a lot of progress in the story and most of the chapter were mostly about Tau training and boring revenge talk. the last 2 chapters are what turned it to 3 stars for me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-12-20

W is for WOW!

Fantastic! and an unexpectedly much better start to this series : ' The Burning ' . I thought it was hype but from the moment I started listening to this fresh take on the high-fantasy genre,with it'sAfrican themes and very action packed pace, I was hooked. Starting the sequel right away. 7; stars! *******.