Sam, the great Black Dragon, is finally willing to release some secrets about the Sorcerer Tom Weng and the dragon’s shameful secret
When the missiles start landing
The nature of the dragonspawn become a less pressing problem as Sam is attacked, nuclear weapons start flying and Lupi children start disappearing
The war with the Enemy is finally coming.
This is kind of what I’ve been doing and why I’ve just spent several several hours trying to start this review and then stopping because I’m not sure how to address this
There’s a lot I love here
I love that we’re back to that core battle – the battle against the enemy. We’re focused again on Lily and Rule. We’re involving the dragons and Lily’s friends and Cullen et al. It’s back to the main meta and the main plot
We continue to have the excellent world building – the wonderful development of things like the dragon’s culture and knowledge and world and unique biology. I love the excellent, detailed insight we got into even relatively minor players like the Gnomes – creating an impressive, involved culture and tradition and language system for being that have so little role but still get a full accounting and development.
We continue to have excellent commentary on politics and history and culture with some excellent moments like the politics of the FBI and law enforcement
All of it through the lens of Lilly who continues to be awesome and intelligent and insightful and so wonderfully competent.
We also have a lot of racial diversity. Lily is an Asian woman, the awesome Madame Yu is back in the picture. We have Black, Native American (including Benedict, a prominent character) and Latino characters in the police force, in the lupi packs, in every group that plays a role in the series. Racial diversity has always been more of a norm in this series than an exception – wherever we have a depiction of a large group of people there will be a racial cross section among them. And Lily with Gan, Cynna and her grandmother does not move in an all male setting or surrounding.
In terms of LGBTQ people… well if you know from previous books then we have some because we know Madame Yu is in a same-sex relationship – but it isn’t mentioned at all in this book, there are no other LGBTQ characters and some homophobia and transphobia included: including by Cullen ironically (or not) in a scene where he is calling out racism and anti-religious hatred. Well done for fighting bigotry – but by encouraging and supporting other bigotry? Yeah, thanks for that
But I feel frustrated a little. The ending is a cliffhanger which is always frustrating because there’s so much unresolved. Especially since the ending was one long strategy and action scene that was actually a little difficult to follow. It came with a lot of draconic explanations – but they were done in classic draconic manner: i.e. a lecture (a good lecture) with little explanation beyond letting everyone know that they can’t possibly understand. This whole scene is very long, very complex and a little hard to follow and understand. There are several moments where I am not sure what is going on specifically. It was a long confusing battle, the conclusion of this book – but it was a battle with no resolve. And that’s doubly frustrating because I don’t think there’s a huge amount of question as to what may happen here in terms of whether the kids are rescued or Lily survives etc. I mean, these aren’t cliffhanger tension moments. These aren’t mysteries. These aren’t big questions
There also feels like a lot going on here and none of it reaches a really satisfactory conclusion. I mean we had the mysterious attacks against the dragons which is going to lead to all kinds of consequences no doubt.
And we had the dragonspawn and the whole revelations about them and possible need to go looking elsewhere
And we had the bombing which may or may not be related to the attacks on the dragons.
And we have the new head of Unit 12 who Is An Issue.
And we have the kidnapping of the children.
But none of this is really resolved. None of it is explained. And I get that all of this is probably going to come together in one big shiny epicness in a future book. But it isn’t there now and that frustrates me. It frustrates me because I love the book and the story and HOW CAN IT END UNFINISHED but I am frustrated