I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long, long time. I finally got myself the audiobook after a friend’s insistence that I really should make this my next read and boy, was she right!
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.
This story follows the Omehi people, who are fighting what is essentially an unwinnable war with the people whose land they occupied when they were forced out of their own. Their society is built of different castes, based on bloodlines and magical powers. The Gifted have the magical powers, the Nobles have the political power, and the Lessers are basically servants and fodder for the war effort. Tau is a Lesser, but he is a Lesser on his own personal mission. When the Nobles that Tau spends his whole life serving betray him, he seeks vengeance. But, as Nobles are gifted fighters, it will take a lot of training for Tau to reach a level where vengeance is possible. Tau is willing to go to great lengths to get his revenge.
This is a story of vengeance. It takes the ‘farmboy goes on quest for revenge against the people that killed his family’ idea and it makes it fresh and unique and very, very hard to set aside to get other things done. It even throws in a childhood love interest from the tiny village they’re from in and manages to make that feel like an archetype I’d never read before. This is a fantastic bit of writing, people.
Tau is a great character, because he’s not infallible, even when he is at his most badass, and we see his failures just as much as we see his wins. The noble class that he is revenging on was seriously in need of some revenging, and so I was 100% on board with his quest the entire time. I don’t mind a training montage or training school in a fantasy, and I have certainly read enough of them to prove that, but again, The Rage of Dragons and Tau’s unique method of training in the second half of this one was unlike anything I’d read before.
Prentice Onayemi did a wonderful job with the narration. He made this world a reality in my imagination and I ended up finishing this audiobook in two sittings because I was that immersed in it. I love it when this happens. Each character sounded unique, and the ones that had unique ways of speaking (one character coughs a lot, for example) were all really well presented. I also really liked his portrayal of Zuri.
So, all told, I liked it a lot. If you’re looking for an African inspired epic revenge fantasy, you need look no further. The Rage of Dragons has got you covered. Can’t wait for the next book in the series! Thankfully, I don’t have to wait much longer. 4.5/5 stars!