Dragonforge by James Maxey

Rating 7.5/10
An enjoyable read: fast paced, action-filled with unexpected twists.

After the death of King Albekizan, Shandrazel and his allies struggle to keep the kingdom intact as the radical human prophet, Ragnar gathers forces to launch a full scale rebellion against the dragons. When all out war erupts, legendary dragon hunter, Bitterwood, must face his own personal daemons and choose where his loyalty really lies.

Bitterwood, the first book of The Dragon Age Trilogy, left the kingdom in a state of uncertainty. Bitterwood had killed King Albekizan, leaving Shandrazel in charge and with the responsibility that his new kingdom be led properly, without tyranny and oppression towards the humans. His intentions are to create a commonwealth where both humans and dragons can live in peace.

The second book in the series, Dragonforge, picks up exactly where the first book left off. We find ourselves once again in the medieval setting of a world that has been destroyed by the folly of the human race. Dragonforge does not revolve around Bitterwood as much as you might expect (although he does make an appearances he is not a major character) so on one side we have the dragons, led by Shandrazel and the old �magician� apprentice Jandra, who I think of as the most important character in the story. On the other side we have the humans, which each have minor roles in the storyline (Pet, Burke and Ragnar). Maxey has further fleshed-out the characters still on existence from the first book and  I found this to constitute a real improvement as I found them a bit superficial in Bitterwood.

Bitterwood featured a massive, high-end science-fiction twist and in Dragonforge Maxey elaborates more on the why, how and when. What I did find a big plus was the introduction of the character Burke the Machinist. Burke is a master in creating machinated tools, and the creations he makes for fighting dragons was more of the classic fantasy style. The chess playing monkey might not have been a weapon but was a nice touch.

In Bitterwood we were presented with three dragon types: Sun, Sky and Earth.  What I enjoyed and secretly hoped for was more information about the origins of these dragon types and thankfully Maxey shows much more background information about each specific lineage of dragon: how they were made and how each have their own ecology, and how some became violent while others a bit adolescent. It was certainly a great addition.

Dragonforge proved to be a enjoyable read. Maxey keeps his fast-paced, action filled storyline interesting by combining unseen plot twists, although I must say that Bitterwood had more humor in it (Mr. Hey You) was brilliant. I still don't know how to fully enjoy the science fiction aspects of The Dragon Age series. I like the concept of a world which reverted back to the medieval era due to the cause of the downfall of the human race itself but for me, if Maxey would have just stuck with Burke the Machinist from the get go as the only technological advancement, it would for me have been better acceptable (and the story might have been more livelier still).

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