Even though it’s been years since I read Charles D. Shell’s Dragon Called Blood, the first book in the Blood History series, it was easy to slide into his sequel. Kinship of a Dragon continues the adventures of Corbin and his bonded dragon, Blood. And I was so happy to see Dante, my favorite character again! In this outing, Dante owns the Daily Shout newspaper. He’s always angling for a story, usually to Corbin’s annoyance. But you can’t not love the guy. And he does manage to save the day now and then… or start a war. But I digress.
I really enjoy Charles D. Shell’s easy-going writing style. Even though his characters live in a fantasy world with all the traditional trappings, they speak in a clear, modern manner that’s easy to follow and yet doesn’t seem out of place. Forsooth, anon, wench, well met, bid thee farewell? Nah. The dialog is much closer to our modern day vernacular.
Each chapter starts with a quote from The Chronicles of Rukus Shadowfoot, a ‘book’ that only exists in this story. He’s a smart(ass) guy, and so is his advice. Quite a lot of it applies to modern-day American politics. “There’s nothing more inspiring than a politician with a cause. There’s also nothing more terrifying than a politician with a cause.” Other times, his quotes simply made me laugh. “Ah youth! If I’d known then everything that I know now… I would have made completely different stupid mistakes.”
Now, about this plot. If you enjoy epic war stories, this one’s a doozy. The book is over 650 pages long, which gives a lot of room to follow the life cycle of a war from the first spark to the last whimper. This one begins with a demand to take a woman into custody—a demand which quickly spirals out of control, dragging our group of friends along for the ride. And while the situation is dire, I still enjoyed the clever wit that managed to keep a toehold in the mayhem from the first chapter to the last. And oh, that last chapter! Got me right in the feels, it did.
Naturally, I won’t give away that ending, but it was extremely satisfying. Writing a second book in a series can be tricky business. An author needs to smoothly pick up where the first book left off, tell a complete story, and leave enough trailing threads to lead into a third book. Charles D. Shell seems to have the hang of this.
Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields in Michigan, where she grows herbs and vegetables when she’s not playing games with a cat named Chives. She’s fond of crafting, reading in the dark, literary worldbuilding, and pulling up dandelions. Visit Lori at brassbrightcity.com and ceejaywriter.com.