As anyone who regularly reads my blog will know I tend to mostly read and review crime fiction, however, I’ve been wanting to get back into science fiction and fantasy as well because I am basically a geek at heart. So, when this book appeared on Netgalley I was immediately interested. It’s a mixture of sci-fi, fantasy and crime so sounded ideal for me to dip a toe back into sci-fi/fantasy with and that’s exactly what I did, so read on and find out what I thought.
Blurb: A murderous plot aboard a city-sized flying ship must be averted before a crazed cult sends a million people to their deaths. When portal-mage Harkon Bright and his apprentice are asked to help select a new captain for the immense skyship Iseult, they quickly find themselves embroiled in its Machiavellian officer’s court. Aboard the Elysium, the warlord Azrael, saved by his former enemies, struggles to adapt to his unexpected gift of life while suffering dark dreams of an ancient terror. As the skies darken and storm-clouds gather on the Dragon Road, the crew of the Elysium come face to face with deadly intrigues, plots from beyond death, and a terrible darkness that lurks in the heart of a thousand-year storm.
Dragon Road is out now and can be bought from Amazon UK here and from other retailers.
My Review: I’m not quite sure how to start this review. This is a book that I believe would appeal to a lot of people, as it crosses genres, being both crime fiction and sci-fi/fantasy. It took me a little while to get into the story but I think that is partly because I hadn’t read book 1 in this series (not necessary but will give you some background knowledge of the characters) and because it’s different from what I usually read so I had to get used to the idea of giant ships that are basically flying cities, and a few other new concepts. Once I’d done that though this book was a joy to read. The characters are really well written that even though you’ve known the crew of the Elysium for a matter of a number of pages you are concerned for their safety and loving the connections and conversations between them all. It feels like an actual family on board the ship, despite the fact that some members have clearly been together longer than others.
The character of Azrael is an excellent example of the skill of the writer. Having not read book 1 I don’t know exactly what he has done but due to the bits of background dotted through the story I did get an idea of his past and it’s not pretty to say the least. However, despite that I had great empathy for him and wanted him to find peace from his past and the nightmares and find a new life for himself. Despite the horrors he has clearly committed the author has managed to give him a humanity that even the nice characters in other books don’t always have. Although I had probably the most empathy for Azrael I did care about the other main characters and a few of those on the skyship Iseult as well.
This story is a mixture of action scenes and investigation. Some people on the Iseult don’t agree with Harkon Bright and his apprentice being involved in helping select a new captain after the previous one dies suddenly. The investigative scenes are very well written but even better, if possible, are the action scenes. There are some explosive (in more ways than one!) action scenes and they grab you and draw you in so fast you can barely catch a breath. Despite the amount that is going on the scenes are so clearly written that you keep up with everything, feel everything the characters feel and need as much of a rest as they do once the scene is finished.
There is so much in this book that I could keep writing, but that would make for an incredibly long review and I don’t want to do that. What I will say is that if you already love sci-fi and /or fantasy then this is definitely a book worth reading, the amount of depth in it is just astonishing. If you’re not into sci-fi/fantasy but fancy trying some then you could do worse than to start with this. It might take a bit of time to get into it but believe me it is worth every minute! I’ve already got Skyfarer (book 1) on my to-read list and can’t wait to add book 3 as well. I cannot wait to get back to the Elysium and find out where they go next!
About the author:
JOSEPH BRASSEY has lived on both sides of the continental US, and has worked as a craft-store employee, paper-boy, factory worker, hospital kitchen gopher, martial arts instructor, singer, and stay-at-home Dad (the last is his favorite job, by far). Joseph was enlisted as a robotic word-machine in 47North’s Mongoliad series, and still trains in – and teaches – Liechtenauer’s Kunst des Fechtens in his native Tacoma.