Disclosure: The reviewer received a review copy of this book via Netgalley

Review: The Legion of Flame by Anthony RyanThe Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan
Series: The Draconis Memoria #2
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Release: 2017
Type: Novel
Source: Netgalley
five-stars

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The Waking Fire established this steampunk world where a small percentage of “blood-blessed” people get magical abilities from ingesting dragon’s blood. An expedition to the heart of the Arradsian continent discovered that the legendary White Drake has been marshaling drake and human forces for a malevolent conquest. In The Legion of Flame we continue to follow the main characters from The Waking Fire as they deal with the havoc unleashed by this new threat.

Clay Torcreek has met up with Captain Corrick Hilemore and must convince him to join an expedition to the polar ice based upon his vision that they will “save the world.” Meanwhile Lizanne Lethridge has become dubious of the Ironship Syndicate, but reluctantly agrees to a mission deep within the Corvantine Empire to find an individual who may be able to counter the White Drake.

This doorstop novel is bigger than the first entry, yet it moves along faster with an exciting pace. The story makes big moves, and the characters visit new locales. It doesn’t fall into the trap of many second-in-series books where there is either a lull in the action or a reboot of the story.

I particularly enjoyed the use of (and subverting of) Victorian/Edwardian adventure tropes such as the Lost World and the Hollow Earth. Also, the travels through the Corvantine Empire, a baroque mix of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, had a wonderful variety of self-interested characters and factions.

What Makes it Epic Grit:

  • Adventure and Wonder: It’s a steampunk adventure with intrigue, polar explorations, and a Lost World.
  • Believable Characters: Mostly. As with the first book, Lizanne comes across as way too competent. In The Legion of Flame she’s part James Bond, part Moiraine Damodred, part Snake Plissken.
  • Real Consequences: Some. The main characters seem immune to permanent debilitating consequences—hell, even Snake Plissken lost an eye! Otherwise, there is much mayhem and havoc that impacts a great many people.
  • Epic in Scope: Yes.
  • Subverts “Good versus Evil” Tropes: Yes.
  • Different Perspectives: The POV characters were expanded in this volume with the addition of a Spoiled!

Verdict: five-stars

This is a totally epic grit steampunk adventure. I can’t wait for the next volume!