Why I Read It: Book 1 Greatshadow was excellent, so I had to continue the series.
Where I Got It: As a review copy from the author (thanks!)
Who I Recommend This To: Adventure and Fantasy fans alike would really enjoy this series.
Publisher: Solaris (2012)
Length: 383 pages
Series: Dragon Apocalypse 2
I fell in love with the main character Infidel back in Book 1 by the third chapter. Alas, she is honorably wedded to her ghost companion Stagger, who makes it into the second book. As with Book 1, Book 2 is told through the eyes of tenacious Stagger, who does his best to keep following Infidel around despite his depleting spiritual powers. In this installment, James Maxey gives us a new set of interesting characters and an ever more complicated plot. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
In Book 1, Infidel swore an oath to return a certain weapon/holy relic that contains a shard of the primal dragon Hush’s broken heart to the ice ogres of the north and this is what Book 2 is about. Infidel once served with the Romer family of the Free Wanderers and she aims to book passage with them to the land of the ice ogres. Before she can leave the island city, she checks in with the Black Swan, who is getting a new body, a metal one. Maxey’s description, through Stagger’s eyes, of the Black Swan’s new spiritual residence had me giggling. Certain shapely bits are important no matter your age, apparently. This is where we meet Sorrow, a witch with one too many holes in her head who is a metal shaper. She shows up throughout the story, being a bit of a shaper of events and also providing some dry humor.
The Romer family once upon a time saved an important mermaid and were granted each a special power by her people. So they make an interesting collection of unusual seawomen and seamen. Cinnamon can give you any bad taste you ever imagined. One son turns into a shark, another swims through air. Gale, the matriarch and captain, controls the winds. Rigger can throw a few lines around you with a stray thought. Overall, they provide plenty of entertainment for the ride to the far north. Oh, and there’s a handsome hunk bedding the captain and his deranged dwarf brother who thinks he’s the long-lost Princess Brightmoon. This little side bit had me snort laughing to my cats.
There’s the set up. In only one place did I think the dialogue lagged a bit (there’s a conflict of dragons in the second half and I thought it was resolved a little too easily), but Maxey rallied for an unexpected ending twice over. This is one of those books that has all sorts of facial expressions crossing my features and the occasional ‘No Way!’ escaping out loud at the flying orca, or shape-shifting witch, or near-death of some beloved character. Truly, I was quite noisy while reading this book. If you are looking for the next excellent fantasy adventure read, pick up this series. I doubt you’d be disappointed.
What I Liked: Infidel is such a kick-ass character; Aurora gets a guest appearance in the second half; Menagerie provides an interesting plot point; Stagger’s sense of humor comes through loud and clear for a dead guy; once again, this book is the perfect mix of humor and seriousness; the cover is excellent.
What I Disliked: A minor point where the dialogue lagged for a page and a half and a certain conflict seemed too easily resolved, but I would not have noticed this if it wasn’t surrounded on all sides by excellent plot, characters, and writing.