I now have two completed books sitting here, which is dangerously close to becoming a pile again, so I'll start with a few words about Dragon Rule by E. E. Knight.
This is book 5 in The Age of Fire, Knight's dragon series. It's hard enough to keep track of the many characters and tangled plot lines even having read the previous books. It leaves resolving things for book 6.
This series had a lot going for it, and at the beginning of this book, we seemed to be well on our way to actually achieving something, with dragons showing they could do a better job running things than the other races. Unfortunately, it felt like this book was an exercise in seeing how much of that it was possible to spoil without alienating the reader so completely that he'd give up. This book is full of treachery and nastiness, and the protagonists mostly get the sharp end. There is some thawing in the relationship between the two protagonists who despise each other (for good reasons going back to book 1). There is a little bit good that happens for the third protagonist. There are a few little hints that there is something bigger going on, a reason why the protagonists are better people than the others and a possibility of redeeming the society, but we run out of book with just hints among the ruins. This would probably be better if publishers didn't insist on everything being a trilogy; there definitely seems to be a story arc that should go somewhere better. But Dragon Fate isn't printed yet (I don't know if it's written or not), and stopping at this point left me ticked off enough that I'm not sure I'd pick it up again if a copy did appear in my hands.
5 out of 10.
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