Thank you so much to Angry Robot for the early digital copy of Flame Riders by Sean Grigsby! This is a fast paced military fantasy, that is book 3 in a series but can be read as a standalone. All opinions are my own!
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Flame Riders
- Series: Smoke Eaters, #3
- Author: Sean Grigsby
- Publisher & Release: Angry Robot, 06/22/21
- Length: 320 pgs
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟 for fans of military fantasy and action stories
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
The third and final instalment in Sean’s rip-roaring ‘firefighters meet dragons’ fantasy series
In the final instalment of the Smoke Eaters series, the New United States Army has taken over and America has devolved into a full-on dragon apocalypse. Smoke eaters are banned and have gone into hiding to avoid being held prisoner by the soldiers.
Guiellermo Contreras is a private in the NUSA, and when he’s accused of potentially being a smoke eater upon pain of death, he escapes and sets out to find the heroes who disappeared years before. But what he discovers is that the NUSA has been working on something unthinkable, and it’s going to take more than a few smoke eaters to stop them.
First off I just want to say that I may increase my initial rating once I’ve read the first two books!
Additionally the cover art is absolutely stunning for all three books.
This is a fast paced novel that occurs after some kind of apocalypse brought on by dragons, and apparently a Phoenix had something to do with it as well.
There is a ton of action and many fun fighting scenes where sci-fi and fantasy cross paths for hi tech battles of smoke eaters vs dragons. I would have liked more info on the experiments being done and technology used by the two forces.
I liked the team of characters and banter quite a bit. Brannigan and Happy were my two favorites, although I couldn’t really get behind Guillermo (the main character). He had a good start and end but lost me in the middle after he kept freezing up and putting his teammates in danger. Brannigan was absolutely hilarious and I kind of definitely want to go back and read his book.
One thing that Grigsby did well was create a lingo and sense of team for the smoke eaters, using terms like “scaly” to refer to a dragon and there is a definite sense of cohesion within the crew.
There was some pretty coarse language as well but not too much more than I’d expect in a military based book.
My main thing was that while the book definitely could work as a standalone, there is no background to know why there are dragons everywhere, how they got there, or who the heck all the returning characters are. I would definitely recommend for anyone looking for a hi tech fantastical military adventure, but would probably recommend reading the trilogy to meet the full cast of heroes first.
Thank you again to Angry Robot for the early read!!