Goodreads Review – The Brightest Night (Wings of Fire #5)

The Brightest Night (Wings of Fire, #5)The Brightest Night by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More than the other books in the Wings of Fire series, The Brightest Night has a distinct three act structure. The first act is lame, as Sunny is separated from the others in an incredibly stupid way. The entire plot is ramping up from the last two novels with the RainWings and NightWings but Sunny’s tale begins to feel like an annoying side jaunt that we shouldn’t have time for.
Act 2 picks up as we get a deeper look at the Sandwings, and Sunny’s unique family, including the return of old characters and a nifty Game of Thrones style battle.
Act 3 suddenly thrusts the overarching plot back into the lime light as our heroes decide how to stop the war. Everything wraps up a bit too neatly, yet I also appreciate that the entire SandWing Civil War
and Dragonets of Prophecy plot is solved, not dragged on through book after book.
Ultimately it’s a satisfying conclusion to these characters and the first series arc, and landing somewhere in the middle of my ranking of the first five novels.

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Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Rise of the Tomb Raider

Playing through all the Uncharted games last year may have ruined Tomb Raider for me.

Adventuring through my backlog of games, one game at a time. 

Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Played On: PlayStation 4

A funny thing happened on my way to playing the second game of the rebooted Tomb Raider trilogy: I played all five Uncharted games. Particularly Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy have set my personal standard for cinematic third-person action games. I couldn’t help but constantly compare them to everything that annoyed me about Rise of the Tomb Raider, resulting in an experience that is middling at best.

The Uncharted comparisons are not entirely fair. Rise of the Tomb Raider precedes Uncharted 4 by a year, but such is the curse of backlog gaming!

Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Rise of the Tomb Raider”

Goodreads Review – The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire #4)

The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire, #4)The Dark Secret by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Coming off the strongest book of the series thus far is the weakest. The Dark Secret picks up on the interesting major plot thread left dangling at the end of Book 3 and explores the mysterious Nightwings, whom we know nothing about.

The problem is we’re left with only the PoV character, Starflight, completely separated from the rest of the dragonets for about 90% of the book. The Wings of Fire books are best when the diverse group can play off each other, and this one suffers for almost completely lacking that interplay. It doesn’t help that the neurotic hand-wringing (talon-wringing?) Starflight is one of the weakest and least likable characters.

The actual secret is disappointingly predictable and Nightwing society isn’t nearly as interesting as others we’ve seen. Yet even a weak Wings of Fire book is still pretty good; it’s well written and well paced, and the climax is suitably exciting. But compared to the first three it’s definitely a small step down.

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Goodreads Review – The Hidden Kingdom (Wings of Fire, #3)

The Hidden Kingdom (Wings of Fire, #3)The Hidden Kingdom by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Definitely my favorite Wings of Fire book yet. Glory was always the most interesting of the dragonets. Very defensive and sarcastic, but also carrying the most emotional baggage, from abusive caretakers to not even being part of the official prophecy. Her POV is immensely satisfying.

I also enjoyed that it breaks away from the “go somewhere, get captured, eventually fight their way out” formula of the first two books. The peaceful RainWing tribe is vastly different from the other areas. But we also get brief glimpses into NightWings and IceWings. The overarching plot lays down interesting developments that stay unresolved, but also make getting to the next book even more exciting. And we still get a really fun climax that’s far different than the action-packed endings of the first two novels.

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Goodreads Review – The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire #2)

The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire, #2)The Lost Heir by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the Wings of Fire series centers on Tsunami the SeaWing as the Dragonets travel to her homeland. This time we’re treated to some lite political intrigue surrounding the mysterious deaths of the Queen’s royal daughters, of which Tsunami is a returning surviving heir.

The overall mystery is a bit lackluster and few of the new SeaWing characters are interesting. I also didn’t like that most of the dragonets are sidelined for the entire middle of the book, leaving just Tsunami to explore and deal with the new characters and setting. Yet that also gives her a much bigger chance to grow and develop as a character.

I’m giving it four stars like the first one because it’s still very well written, with excellent pacing and a good mix of violent action and quiet introspection. I am a bit worried that the books will feel formulaic as the dragonets travel to each different kingdom and end up as prisoners having to escape – thankfully they themselves call that out at the end of this book!

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Official Discord Server!

For fans of my YouTube channel, including our weekly D&D live play show, we now have an official Discord server. Multiple chat channels are set up where we can talk tabletop RPGS, board games, video games, and discuss the current D&D campaign.

You’ll also be able to easily look up helpful information surrounding our D&D campaign, such as reschedules, resources for maps, and our house rules.

Patrons also get a special Patron role, as well as access to private Patron-only text and voice channels.

Goodreads Review – The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1)

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire, #1)The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This will always be a special book for me, as the first novel my 7yo asked me to read to her. We do a chapter every night!

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1) is a masterclass in fantasy world-building and character development. Our five young heroes may be familiar if you enjoy certain friendship-based action-adventure cartoons. They each belong to a different dragon tribe, such as SeaWings or NightWings, each with their own unique characteristics and abilities. Yet they’ve also been imprisoned and sheltered from the outside war, knowing little of the waging dragon war going on around them.
Their bond with each other is tested and explored in fun ways, though this novel primarily focuses on Clay the MudWing and Tsunami the SeaWing. We’re eventually introduced to more characters and events in a world ruled by, and ravaged by warring dragon tribes, though it’s a bummer that our heroes spend much of the story under someone’s thumb and reacting to events rather than making choices on their own.
The Dragonet Prophecy tells a satisfying story while expertly teasing future events – the perfect starter book for a grand YA series.

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