Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult

Review: The Wings of Dragons by Josh VanBrakle

The Wings of Dragons book cover
Image from Josh VanBrackle; used by permission

Title: The Wings of Dragons (The Dragoon Saga #1)

Author: Josh VanBrakle

Genre: Fantasy

Left-handed people are chaotic, dangerous, and devil-spawned. So declares Lodian history, but teenage prankster Iren Saitosan, the kingdom’s only known Left, thinks that’s an exaggeration. When he accidentally almost kills Lodia’s heir to the throne, however, Iren becomes an unexpected addition to an assassination squad. The appointment is suicidal, and Iren’s chances aren’t helped when he learns that his new sword imprisons a serpentine dragon. Adding to his problems, someone on the assassination team is plotting treason. Iren soon finds himself trapped between competing loyalties as a former ally launches a blood-soaked plan to avenge the Lefts, a vengeance one thousand years in the making. Against a backdrop of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic, Iren will need to uncover the forgotten history of Lefts and dragons if he hopes to survive.

I picked this up because I like dragons, plus the Left thing sounded pretty unique. Then the author promised Japanese mythology (which is totally awesome), and I was hooked.

Iren was lacking in social skills and very naive, especially in the beginning. I enjoyed him, but I thought he seemed a lot younger than 17. But as the story went on and he actually got to do stuff, he matured and grew into his awesome skills. I liked him more and more as the story progressed.

There are other characters that I could mention, but I won’t. Half the fun is trying to figure out who’s on what side. Character A’s a good guy. No, they’re a traitor. Wait, they’re not a traitor. Yes, they’re a traitor, but they betrayed the bad guys. Character B is a good guy. Maybe they’re a traitor…? Nope, definitely not a traitor. What the holy heck they were a traitor the whole time?! And so on and so forth for just about every major character except Iren.

Okay, so the assassination team plot? Not all that important. The sword that’s given only a passing mention? Hugely important. The assassination team thing acts more like a catalyst to get things started, and then something Iren has to do that keeps him from discovering the important stuff. It’s secondary to the what-the-heck-is-going-on questions that Iren has. And trust me, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

The mythology seemed a little wonky at times. It was like a cross between Japanese and traditional high fantasy, and the two didn’t always mesh quite right. When they did, it was absolutely awesome. When they didn’t, it wasn’t overt, but I got this sneaky feeling that something wasn’t quite right.

After the ending of The Wings of Dragons, I have no idea what book two will be about. But I’d still be up for reading it. I have a feeling that whatever Josh VanBrakle comes up with, it’s going to be great (and I bet I’ll have no idea who the good guys are).

I recieved a free review copy of The Wings of Dragons from the author. His generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.

The Dragoon Saga:

  1. The Wings of Dragons
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2 thoughts on “Review: The Wings of Dragons by Josh VanBrakle”

  1. Jalyn, thanks for a great review! I’m glad you enjoyed The Wings of Dragons. I appreciate your comment on the mythology; that will definitely be something I’ll look closer at in book two. My favorite line? “What the holy heck they were a traitor the whole time?!” That’s exactly the reaction I was going for. 🙂 All the best, Josh VanBrakle, http://www.joshvanbrakle.com

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the review. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with the mythology in the second book – like I said, when it meshed right, it was awesome.

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