The story which began in The Adamantine Palace and grew in The King of the Crags reaches a fitting and fiery conclusion in this, The Order of the Scales. Notorious for his revival of Dragons as they should be - fierce and furious - Stephen Deas, in this final volume of the ‘Memory of Flames’ trilogy, shows us that he is more than capable of putting an end to the entertaining tales he begins. On this final (for now) trip to the Dragon Realms, he offers us more of what we loved in the previous novels and blowing it up to a whole new scale. Dragon lovers, this one is, without a doubt, for you.
The war has come and it has come on the wings of hundreds of dragons. As Prince Jehal fights desperately for survival, the eyries are emptying and the realms’ dragons fly to the fight. The dragons lust for blood, their riders for glory.
Bu there is a terrible secret at the heart of this war. Supplied of the alchemical potion, the one thing that keeps the dragons under control, are drying up. And without the potion the dragons will return to their full, feral, fire-breathing fury. The war between the realms could become a war for mankind’s survival. A war we can only lose.
And in the mountains the sell-sword Kemir thirsts for revenge and watches as the woken dragon Snow gathers other freed dragons about her and begins her own fiery revenge for the centuries of servitude the dragons have endure under their puny masters...
The Order of the Scales is, broadly, the epic clash that has been foreseeable since the first moment we set foot in the Dragon Realms. On top of rogue dragons, the previous two tomes have established a harsh political climate between the Dragon Kings and Queens as well as other mounting problems which means a final ‘venting’ or the pressure that has built up across this world. On the political side, Jehal and Zafir are still in the forefront, but others continue to play significant parts in the scheming, back-stabbing and bickering. Hinted at mysteries which Deas has been holding back until now finally see the light of day in this third installment.
There is a discernible shift in this third novel, away from the court-side intrigue in favor of observing the consequences of the first two novels’ actions on the characters. Kemir’s dire condition is, perhaps, the best example of Deas’ care for the characters, though his storyline did end - and appear to become insignificant - a bit too abruptly for my tastes. As mentioned, Jehal features prominently once again, and he exhibits the some of the greatest amounts of growth amongst all of the characters. Truly it has been interesting to see him evolve so thoroughly over the through books - kudos to Deas for that.
Perhaps a bit shallowly - but thankfully - one of Deas’ greatest strengths remains how he can deliver an enthusiastic, and brilliantly executed, dose of heart-thumping dragon action. The Order of the Scales sees a dragon battle on a scale not seen many times before, even in Deas’ two other novel. This is, after-all, what he and his books have come to be known for.Past the political and human turmoil and the fighting, the novel unwinds in a surprising way. Deas does not disappoint in that he brings the trilogy to a satisfying end, but he does also manage to leave enough dangling that he can pick up some of the threads in the subsequent novels he appears to already be working on.
Brutal, chaotic and heart-wrenching, this concluding entry in the ‘Memory of Flames’ trilogy brings this chapter in the history of the Dragon Realms to a fast-paced and well-wrought end. The Order of the Scales is not a perfect novel, but it is just as good as anything Stephen Deas has given us in the past, and in some ways better. Certainly, readers who enjoyed The Adamantine Palace and The King of the Crags will not feel let down one bit by this third novel. Already out since May in the UK, The Order of Scales will see US release in Ferbruary 2012.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Reading Age: 15 and up
Stephen Deas's Website: http://www.stephendeas.com/
Buy The Order of the Scales:
If you get the chance, check out also the interview I ran with Stephen Deas last year. Find it here.