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.
**** PLOT HIGHLIGHTS -- SPOILERS ****
I can't remember everything clearly, and I don't want to spend a long time on it. At the start of the book, RuGaard (the Copper) is actually doing a good job as Tyr. But there are a couple of different factions who don't approve, and don't care what they ruin to get him out of the way. Nilrasha, RuGaard's' second mate, lost her wings in the last book, which leaves her unable to get around to do the duties of the queen, so RuGaard taps Wistala to act for him. She is so dedicated to the idea of actually treating bipeds as equals that she has trouble maintaining the confidence of other dragons. AuRon has mated with Natasach and raised a clutch of four, and he doesn't want to be involved, but he allows himself to get sucked into Dragon Empire politics, because Naf won't accept any other dragon as Protector for Dairuss after he ran off the previous one for being corrupt and worthless. But he'll be set on by the Aerial Host if he doesn't accept someone, so AuRon agrees. And Natasach likes being in society again. AuRon grudgingly starts to accept that RuGaard has grown from the desperate wretch who sold out his family as a starving outcast hatchling, just enough to be willing to join RuGaard in the exile he's forced into. Wistala mates with DharSii. There are hints that if all of the pieces of the big crystal that figured in the earlier books get put together, it can stop the other dragons from being such venal scum, and hints that there's something special about the three hatchling's lineage that makes them smarter and better than the other dragons.