Dragonforge, by James Maxey, is the sequel to Bitterwood, which was one of my favorite books of 2007.

With Shandrazel now dead, his son has become king and is determined to bring about the end of kings and establish a commonwealth. But not all of the dragons and humans agree with his method of peace. Hatred and vengeance runs deep. And when the villainous Blasphet escapes from prison, he contributes to the dissention and chaos in the land.

I thought I loved Bitterwood, but Dragonforge is even more fantastic. The character development is exceptional, bringing back most of the characters but concentrating on the most important. Maxey has improved the story flow in the midst of jumping from character to character, making for easier reading and less confusion.

I can’t think of another book that contains so many outstanding and complex characters: Jandra is a human, apprenticed by a dragon, and now controls more technology than she understands. Her family was killed by the very dragon that raised her. And she relates more to the dragons than to her fellow humans. Bitterwood became a legendary dragon slayer when his family and home were wiped out, and his whole goal in life became revenge fueled by hatred. Graxen is a sky dragon who is now a messenger for the new king. When he meets a kind female of his race, Graxen begins to form forbidden feelings which leads to danger and deceit. Hex is the brother of the new king, who has returned from his ended exile. From his years of isolation, he has formulated his own ideas about peace and freedom. Hex has become a philosopher with high ideals. He begins to form a strong friendship with Jandra on their quest to find Bitterwood and his young charge.

The story of Dragonforge involves battles, freedom, intrigue, religious zealots, and a forgotten age of history. But, to me, the true story lies in the lives and experiences of the main characters. The main themes just add to the heightened excitement and heartbreak for each of the characters and their different point of views.

Dragonforge is an epic fantasy adventure with roots in science fiction. Maxey’s sequel has exceeded my expectations, leaving me eagerly awaiting the next installment. And Dragonforge has definitely topped my list of favorites for 2008 so far.


Dragonforge releases June 24th from Solaris Books.

Related Reviews:
Bitterwood

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