This was a very entertaining story from an author I’m growing to like more and more, and that’s a great thing because Holmberg is an insanely prolific author.
In this one, the main character is Fes. At the start, it seems like Fes is the stereotypical street thief archetype, and that’s not a bad thing. As the story progresses, we find out that Fes has some special talents that allow him to find artifacts from the long-vanished dragons. Again, this is hardly groundbreaking material, but Holmberg manages to write an entertaining tale around these common tropes.
Soon Fes finds himself caught up in a quest to recover a very powerful dragon relic. He ends up teaming up with Alison, a woman with whom he has a lot of history, and this makes for some great character interactions.
And that’s where I think this book does well. In terms of the plot and world, there’s nothing that jumps out at you as wildly original, but I didn’t care because I cared about the characters. At the beginning Fes is more of an anti-hero only in it for the money. As the story progresses, however, you see more and more of his character, and he develops into someone who’s in it for something more than just the money. By the end, I found myself rooting for Fes and his comrades.
This book is also set against the interesting backdrop of a civil war of sorts within the empire. We don’t get the full picture from either side in this story, but it does set up a conflict with great potential for the rest of the series.
Overall, this is the kind of simple but entertaining fantasy I enjoy reading. Holmberg is quickly becoming one of my favorite “comfort read” authors. It’s the kind of fantasy I like: inspired by the classics, but with enough modern twists to make it feel fresh. I see a lot of potential in this series.
I will also add that I’m currently on the fourth book now, and the series keeps getting better with each book.