But Dies Irae, a tyrant leading an army of griffins, hunted Requiem's people, burned their forests, and shattered their temples. Requiem fell. This ancient land now lies in ruin, its halls crumbled, its cries silenced, its skeletons littering the burned earth.
In the wilderness, a scattering of survivors lives in hiding. The griffins still hunt them, and every day promises death. Will Requiem's last children perish in exile... or once more become dragons and fly to war?
Blood of Requiem by Daniel Arenson tells the story of the Vir Requis or weredragons. When the first son, Dies Irae, of the royal family lacked the shape changing gift that would have made him the next King his inheritance was given to his younger brother Benedictus. This made Dies Irae upset in a way there really aren't words for. He killed his father and stole a magical amulet that allowed him to control all the griffins of the world. With that Dies Irae began his quest to annihilate the Vir Requis. Early in the book we are shown the the battle that amounts to the final stand of the Vir Requis, with them being led by Benedictus and the humans and Griffins following Dies Irae. The battle is long and bloody with the weredragons being on the losing side. When Benedictus gets a chance to kill his brother, he cannot do it and flies away to hide. As the story progresses you are shown that a very small number of the Vir Requis did survive by living in hiding.
This book has one of the strongest starts of any book I have read this year. Daniel is a master of description and he can truly bring the images from the book to life. The deeper into the book I got however, the less into the book I became. The characters that showed such promise in the beginning began to be a bit flat. The descriptions of the environments and the battles remained top notch, but I found myself wanting to understand the characters a bit better. They seemed to be stuck in a repetitive cycle of fight, lose, flee. There was a little bit of a twist thrown in dealing with the girl Dies Irae claims as a daughter, but she has shown herself to be a terrible person so I was not as interested in her character.
This book has many positive aspects to appeal to a variety of readers. As I mentioned earlier Daniel is truly gifted in sharing his vision of the world he has created. The Vir Requis is an outstanding race with some wonderful abilities and can draw in many fantasy fans. Dies Irae is a truly evil villain and his daughter looks to be following in his footsteps. The cover art is also absolutely amazing. I just wish the characters had been a bit more dynamic and the fight sequences had a bit more variety.
I will probably pick up the second book in the series to see where the story goes.
Review copy provided by author.