The Order of the Scales by Stephen Deas


As the various factions fight for control of the Adamantine Palace mankind’s nemesis approaches. The realms’ dragons are awakening from their alchemical sedation and returning to their native fury. They can remember why they were created and they now know what mankind has done to them. And their revenge will be brutal.

The strength of Stephen Deas’ dragon novels has always lain with his impressive depiction of the monstrous creatures and in the final book in his debut trilogy this remains truer than ever. While the characters go on with their various scheming, plotting or futile attempts at survival, Snow and her growing flock of awakened dragons wreak all kinds of destruction across the realms.

Following this final journey is a by all accounts a nerve-wracking experience. The previous installment exemplified Deas’ ruthless writing style and his sacrifices here show no sign of change. As more and more dragons awaken and the book moves inexorably closer to the final battle of the skies, the anticipation is truly exceptional.

However, when not indulging in violent instances of teeth and claw, the story falls behind ever so slightly. As is his style, Deas uses POV narratives for each of his characters who each take their turn in short chapter spotlights. The fluctuation between Kemir, Jehal, Jeiros, Meteroa, Vale and a few other minor players is less well-balanced than in the previous novels, seeing some characters ignored for prolonged periods while others are indulged in too heavily.

That said, like the preceding books, The Order of the Scales is a quick read and it’s only in a few instances that the story feels really laboured. Sadly, many of these instances involve Kemir and Snow. The ‘life and death’ tension so solidly established in The King of Crags is far less distinct here as a certain numbness has formed around the possibility of Kemir’s death by dragon tooth. Snow’s arrogant, unpredictable and violent nature does much to displace this, but it’s still some way off from their previously compelling interactions.

The now crippled Prince Jehal serves more as a facilitator to the final showdown than anything else in this installment having lost a degree of charisma and flare, while Grand Master Jeiros undergoes much more interesting developments, with one sequence especially likely to keep the reader in suspense.

Deas also teases us here with previews of his other races and species in the form of the Silver Kings and the elemental man, as well as allowing us a less obstructed view of the Taiytakei. All seem promising additions to his world which we’ll hopefully get to experience to a greater extent in future novels.

Though perhaps not quite on par with the previous books, The Order of Scales remains a great read that will satisfy any dragon devotee. The final battle had a lot to live up to and Deas does not disappoint. A riveting, relentless and violent war of wings, Deas’ dragons are the scariest thing in fantasy today and something to be savoured again and again.

Review by

1 positive reader review(s) for The Order of the Scales

1 positive reader review(s) in total for the Memory of Flames series

All reviews for Stephen Deas's Memory of Flames series

The Order of the Scales
Memory of Flames #3

As the various factions fight for control of the Adamantine Palace mankind’s nemesis approaches. The realms’ dragons are awakening from their alchemical sedatio [...]

Dragon Queen
Memory of Flames #4

In the years before the Dragons laid waste to man's empire, the fearsome monsters were used for war and as gifts of surpassing wealth to buy favour in the constant poli [...]

More Stephen Deas reviews

The Thief-Taker's Apprentice

Berren has lived in the city all his life. He has made his way as a thief, paying a little of what he earns to the master of their band, Hatchet. But there is a twist to th [...]


The Order of the Scales reader reviews

from South Africa

I may not be the dragon lover but this book has made me love dragon stories and I think this is because I love fantasy books and it really is mind taking very interesting it is allowing people of any age to fall for it.

8.4/10 from 2 reviews

Write a reader review

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

Fool's Assassin

by Robin Hobb

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service [...]

Series: Fitz and the Fool #1
Published: 2014

Score: 101

Our rating: 9.9 | 2 positive reader reviews


Ship of Magic

by Robin Hobb

On the northernmost point of the Cursed Shores lies Bingtown, a bustling hub of exotic trade and home to a proud merchant nobility famed for its extraordinary vessels. Only [...]

Series: The Liveship Traders: Book 1
Published: 1998

Score: 100

Our rating: 9.7 | 4 positive reader reviews


Harrowing the Dragon

by Patricia McKillip

Spanning a quarter of a century, an anthology of previously uncollected short fiction by the World Fantasy Award-winning author explores a world of magic in such works as & [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2005

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews


The Dragon's Tooth

by ND Wilson

For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone t [...]

Series: The Ashtown Burials: Book 1
Published: 2011

Score: 94

Our rating: 9.3 | 1 positive reader reviews