Mechanical dragons! Mecha dragons fueled by magic and piloted by daring aces, who protect the sky against a foreign army! I really wanted to care about this book, because the premise sounded awesome, but ultimately it just felt a bit bland to me.
First off, the book is divided between four POV characters, and those four don’t really interact with each other. Even after the POVs “pair off”, so to speak, the two pairs are literally miles away from each other and it felt as if I was reading two books about two separate groups of people. It took me a while to become interested in the characters and their story, because I kept bouncing back from one POV to the other, and they were all narrated in first person which was confusing at times.
Havemercy is what saved the book for me. I really liked her, and I kept feeling she needed more scenes. She was a huge part of Rook’s life and she only showed up once or twice, which was a shame. I did like the middle part of the book, when things finally started moving and the characters interacted more. The end was disappointing, though, and there was too much focus on the relationship between Hal and Royston which was boring because it was obvious that they were going to be together anyway.
I think my biggest problem with this book is that it doesn’t really have heart. It never made me care too much about the characters, because I never felt that they were really in danger. The Ke-Han were never going to invade, Royston and Hal were never going to be separated, Thom was never going to be sent away by the Esar. There was never any immediate sense of danger. There were many casualties in the end, but I got the feeling that the book didn’t care because it wasn’t any of the main characters, and so I didn’t really care either.
Part of the issue could be that the authors started off as fanfiction writers. If I had already felt an emotional attachment to those characters, I would have liked their story better. But the authors failed in getting me attached to the characters in the first place. It’s a shame, because there’s some really good worldbuilding and this could have been a stellar book, but it just didn’t grab me and it didn’t make me want to read more books set in this universe. Pity.