My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publisher: Arboreal Press
About the Book:
Lodian history declares left-handed people dangerous and devil-spawned. For teenager Iren Saitosan, the kingdom’s only known Left, that’s meant a life of social isolation. But when the Left’s reputation gets him drafted into a mission to assassinate a bandit lord, for the first time Iren becomes part of a team. It’s a chance to make friends and earn the respect of his country, but it could also kill him. His new katana imprisons a dragon’s spirit with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast. On top of that, no one on his team is who they appear to be. His new allies could turn out to be his greatest enemies, and the assassination attempt is only the start of a far greater struggle. Someone on the mission is plotting treason: a brutal, thousand-year-old plan to avenge the Lefts. Iren must figure out who – and how – to trust, and the fates of two nations will depend on his choice.
“If I were a kind woman, I might tell you to lay down your weapons and surrender if you don’t want to die.” Iren had thought Rondel’s voice couldn’t get colder or more frightening, but he’d been wrong. “However, I am not a kind woman.” She drew her dagger with her left hand. Sparks jumped over the blade just as they did on her eyes. “I follow Okthora’s Law: evil must be annihilated.”
The bandits all drew their bows and began firing rapidly. Rondel had nowhere to run, trapped between the tall townhouses lining either side of the street at the edge of the square. Iren cried out again, but this time, determined to see the tragedy through, he kept watching as arrows bombarded her location. At first he didn’t follow what was happening. Then his jaw dropped.
Rondel was dodging the arrows, her body blurring as she did so. The arrows aimed for all parts of her, yet she easily avoided every one. Her ancient body swayed with precision and balance so fluid, she made King Azuluu’s finest dancers look clumsy by comparison. Iren couldn’t believe it. Rondel had said that Maantecs’ speed and strength surpassed those of humans, but surely not by this much. He considered it highly unlikely that he could dodge all those shots if he and Rondel traded places. He could barely see most of them, and he had an even harder time tracking Rondel’s movements.
The barrage kept up until every bandit fired every last arrow he possessed. When they saw that Rondel remained unharmed, three of the Quodivar threw down their weapons and fled. As soon as they did, Rondel dropped into a run, her body blurring across the distance. She crossed the square in under a second. Her dagger flashed, dropping all three thieves at the same time. The other bandits, probably hoping to catch her off-guard, drew their close-range weapons and charged as one. The hag simply looked up, her eyes still sparking, and ran forward to meet them at a blinding pace. Several flashes ensued as Rondel’s blade danced, and then she emerged uninjured on the far side of the Quodivar. All but one of her enemies collapsed. The lone survivor, the man who had jeered at her so confidently mere moments ago, knelt before her with panicked tears in his eyes.
“Wait!” he called out. “I didn’t mean it! Zuberi said he would kill me if I didn’t take over Veliaf! I had no choice. Please, you believe in mercy, right?”
Rondel’s sparking eyes stared unfeelingly down at him. “No.”
The dagger swung hard and fast.
I was so happy to hear about The Wings of Dragons because I happen to be a Left myself, although I’m not devil-swawned nor dangerous– at least I don’t think. Insult my family, friends or football team and I might have to change my mind!
This book opened with a prologue of sorts, being in the point of view of the main character’s mother and showing the death of Iren’s father, and we soon find out she died as well. After that we skip to Iren as a teen, and the kingdom’s only known left. Which kind of sucks seeing as left-handed people, like stated above, are considered dangerous, devil-spawned people. Not your childhood fairy tale–way better!
I’d say this book runs at a medium pace, not too fast not too slow– you really get a nice look at the setting of the book was perfectly described, I felt that I was there–which I guess I should have been scared about being a Lefty! My favorite was definitely the main, Iren, but the others were well developed as well. Iren was pretty cool, at times he was whiner but he’s a teenager and all considered I think he had his reasons!
I would recommend this book for teens on up through adults, and I am happy to say that I feel guys would like this book as well, not just girls. There are definitely not enough books targeted towards them so I’m always happy when I find one I can recommend when someone asks for one and recommend this book I will! Like I said before, the pacing is perfect and the author is just really talented! I honestly cannot wait for the second book. Not sure when it’s set to release, but y’all should definitely get a jump start on reading this one so you’re ready for it!
*I received this book for review from the author, but this in no way affected my review or opinion*
About Josh VanBrakle:
Josh VanBrakle is an unrepentant lefty who is overjoyed to live in an age when authors can type their stories instead of handwriting them. His love of dragons, magic, and epic fantasy led to a dream of publishing a novel that refused to let itself get pushed aside. While he has written stories since childhood, Josh is a late-bloomer to professional writing. He first trained in forestry and economics, and in his day job, he works for an environmental non-profit promoting rural land conservation. Originally from Hershey, Chocolatetown USA, Josh now lives in the Catskills region of upstate New York with his wife Christine and their two ill-behaved cats.