As a host for Dan Wright's tour for his upcoming "Final Ragnarok: She Returns" (coming August 7), I had the privilege of reading and reviewing an ARC!!! Check out my review below:
Final Ragnarok: She Returns by Dan Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As the first half of a two-book ending to the Draconica series, Final Ragnarok: She Returns puts the action pedal to the metal and doesn't let up until the end. I've followed the series from the beginning, fell in love with many of the characters, and even gained a new book boyfriend (Finn Taurok). That being said, I am now left on pins and needles, wondering if I'll be laughing or crying when it's all over.
The story begins with a new villain on the scene: Rapture, who resurrects some real nasties from the last novel: Kthonia and the Kthonian Knights. She needs them to help bring "Her" back so all life on Draconica can be destroyed. To do so, Rapture must have the blood of all the Dragonkin. This means the sisters we have come to love: Daniar, Rana, and even bad girl Zarracka are in serious danger. By this time they've all settled into their lives (ok, so Zarracka is still being held in Daniar's dungeon, but she's sort of resigned herself to it). Queen Daniar and Prince Kalak have a new baby daughter, Rosa, and their son Benji is in training to bring his fire/ice powers under control. Rana is blissfully married to Emperor Finn Taurok, who has brought a long-awaited era of peace to their kingdom.
Unfortunately, they're not meant to enjoy their happiness for long. Once the Kthonian Knights arrive on the scene, things go from bad to worse, to OMG, no!!!! I won't spoil anything for you, but suffice to say that if you have followed the series, you will be biting your nails the entire time, praying all will turn out for the best. Mr. Wright is going to make us wait, however, until the final installment in 2015. I suspect he's a bit of a sadist. ;)
Two things irked me (beyond the sadism), the first being Sir Baxter Coyote. He's a new character who happens upon Zarracka when she's lost in the forest and in a bit of trouble. At first, I found him comical and even endearing. He is trying desperately to be a "hero", but fails miserably, and he's trying hard to win the affections of Princess Z. She, of course, ends up saving his hide more than once. I loved their early interaction and thought Z had FINALLY found her a man. I waited for Baxter to grow some courage and respect for his lady, but it didn't happen. He's cowardly and crude to the end. Like many other story elements, I HOPE he will do a turnabout in the final installment, because I really want to like him more!
Here is the other thing I don't quite get--the Dragonkin sisters have dragon breath powers and can sprout dragon wings and fly any time they want. Yet, they seem to forget that quite a lot when they're in a tough spot, especially the flying thing. It's not a huge deal, but as I'm reading, I'm saying out loud: "Zarracka, you can FLY, for goodness sakes! Why aren't you?" I can understand being prevented from using their powers, but forgetting they exist is a a bit of a stretch.
Other than those minor things, the writing is fast-paced, easy reading. Like the other Draconica novels, I loved the the manga-style illustrations. This time, artist AtelierEdge has provided his talents throughout. If you're a fan of action-packed manga/anime, you'll enjoy this series. I'd recommend them to young teens and beyond. Fly away to the world of Draconica, starting with "Trapped on Draconica".
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