In this follow up to Skyfarers, Joseph Brassey returns to the crew of the Elysium and the world of the Drifting Lands Following their victory over the Eternal Order in the previous book, the Elysium has taken in Elias Leblanc, formerly Azrael of the Eternal Order, and life has returned to normal or as normal as things get for a crew of rogues That is, until the Behemoth Iseult appears suddenly over the port they are visiting The behemoths are city sized vessels constructed in ancient times which serve as deep sky tradeships, moving in vast convoys through the dangerous skies far from any of the drifting lands The Iseult, as it turns out, has just lost its captain, and faced with a choice between three equally unpromising successors, the leaders of the Iseult ask Harkon Bright commander of the Elysium and renowned mage and problem solver and troublemaker to serve as the adjudicator in the contest between the three would be captains As it turns out, even aside from the Captain selection, all is not right aboard Iseult, there s dissatisfaction among the lower decks and rumors of necromancy recall the ship s troubled history I thought Dragon Road was a surprisingly good book I was kind of ambiguous about Skyfarers which was rather painfully mediocre in so many of its plot elements and writing Dragon Road is a much better andconfidently written book Partly I think this is because the plot is much less rote as Brassey combines a novel setting ancient city sized trade ship with feudal power structure with an interesting plot captain mysteriously dies, power struggle to succeed, ancient evil rises, trouble in the lower decks that keeps gettingcomplicated but in a way that doesn t feel like the author is just addingandcomplexity to distract from a lack of ideas on how to move his plot forward, and by the end all the pieces of all the disparate problems faced by the Iseult gradually fit together in a way that makes sense and all seemed to fit the ship s history I also thought that Brassey s cast of characters were much better written Aimee isn t always acting like she s got something to prove and repeatedly has good insights and Elias works SO much better as a troubled protagonist trying to redeem his past than as a troubled antihero villain I will say that apart from those two and Harkon who has managed to survive two books, despite being the powerful old mentor, most impressive the rest of the Elysium s crew kind of all blend together and I d often have trouble remembering which was which because they all kind of have the same roguish personality, which is kind of strange because a lot of the new characters unique to this book were farinteresting and memorable maybe he ll improve Clutch, Vant, and Vlana in book three All in all, whereas I finished Skyfarers and just kind of shrugged, with Dragon Road, I quite enjoyed the book and I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here. Joseph Brassey s first book, Skyfarer, is among my favorite debuts of the past few years for me, it was like Final Fantasy XII in book form and while I will recommend Skyfarer without reservation seriously, if you haven t read it, go read it you don t actually need to read it to enjoy Dragon Road It s remarkable how well this sequel stands on its own While readers who have read Skyfarer will have a deeper understanding of the characters and enjoy seeing them change and grow, Dragon Road actually works as a standalone story that doesn t require extensive recall or knowledge of the first book In an SFF market where sequels endlessly set up the next book rather than telling a complete story, a sequel that is largely self contained is a welcome change.The plot of Dragon Road was twisty enough to keep me guessing, but straightforward enough that I was never confused It takes just the right amount of time to unspool The crew of the Elysium are a close, oddly matched, and colorful cast of engineers, pilots, and warriors, and our POV characters Aimee, an adventurous portal mage, and Elias, a villain turned hero are uniquely talented badasses who often go up against threats that would eviscerate lesser heroes Some would call this clich I call it fun To conclude, Dragon Road has cool battle scenes and political intrigue and ancient cults and living spirit engines, and there s even a touch of romance thrown in for good measure basically, all the elements that make a series pitched as Final Fantasy meets Star Wars a really fun read If you like any of these things, you will like this book, and I eagerly look forward to my next adventure with the Elysium s crew Recommended. A Murderous Plot Aboard A City Sized Flying Ship Must Be Averted Before A Crazed Cult Sends A Million People To Their DeathsWhen Portal Mage Harkon Bright And His Apprentice Are Asked To Help Select A New Captain For The Immense Skyship Iseult, They Quickly Find Themselves Embroiled In Its Machiavellian Officer S Court Meanwhile, Their New Recruit, Elias, Struggles To Adapt To His Unexpected Gift Of Life While Suffering Dark Dreams Of An Ancient TerrorAs The Skies Darken And Storm Clouds Gather On The Dragon Road, The Crew Of The Elysium Come Face To Face With Deadly Intrigues, Plots From Beyond Death, And A Terrible Darkness That Lurks In The Heart Of A Thousand Year Storm File Under Fantasy Atmospheric Disturbance Eternal Order Trust No One Storm Riders I often read YA because it is simple and easy to power through, not to mention quite popular so I can write reviews that relate to multitudes of other readers However, every now and again I get a gem like this to come across my desk and I cannot wait to read review it I am truly a fan of sci fi fantasy books Worlds set in extraordinary circumstance and adventure abounding on the horizon This book was superb Whatcan you ever ask for from a fantasy book other than complete badassery I have to be careful not to gush like a simpering fangirl over this one If you are looking for a book that delivers what the meaning of hero should be, then snatch up this series I mean what else do you need to know Aimee and Elias battle their way through vicious sword fights, skirmishes with sorcery, fecund necromancy, and something ancient, deadly lurking ever closer In short, Dragon Road is a book which reminds me why I love to read I, for one, can t wait to revisit these novels and look forward to the next installment soon Five out of five stars This book was awesome Full of magic, flying ships, mystery, and monsters There was lots of great fight scenes and zombie creatures Can t wait for another one HEY, HEY NETFLIX DRIFTING LANDS SERIES WHEN Seriously, these books are so gorgeously cinematic every description is beautifully wrought, be it setting or combat, character or aesthetic Everything in this series is visceral, and I can t get enough of it.ALSO HELLO YES, I LOVE SPACESHIPS, AND CITY SIZED SPACESHIPS MAKE ME SO DAMN HAPPY. This is the second book in The Drifting Lands series by Joseph Brassey In this one Aimee and her mentor Harkon Bright are asked to help select a new captain for the immense skyship Iseult, after it s previous captain dies under suspicious circumstances They quickly find several players are vying for the captaincy and each one has their own agenda There is also a dark force at work that wishes nothing less than the total destruction of the skyship Iseult Meanwhile Elias is struggling with his dark past as he tries to become an accepted part of the crew of the skyship Elysium, and to help in their fight against the darkness infesting Iseult It will take all of Aimee and Harkon s magic and cunning as well as the help of Elias and the rest of the crew of the Elysium if they are to prevail This book is a great follow up to Skyfarer and I hope there is a third book forthcoming I come back to the Drifting Lands and to Joseph Brassey This book is certainlycomplex and nuanced than the first one, Skyfarer Still this book is about adventure, about crisis solving and high powered spellwork While it eschewes the traveling and exploration and Firefly like dynamics of Skyfarer, it offers a broader, firmer setting, far less generic than it used to be.Our crew of skyfarers and in particular the shared protagonists Aimee and Elias are called to meddle in the politics of flying city ship Iseult, and there they find that the political realities of this itinerant realm are intertwined with a magical evil force that could mean the end of the community Political strife and morally bankrupt leaders are apparently hell bent on fanning the fire and using that to maintain control, and while our crew is foreign, they are in the position to make a difference They will, because they are REALLY opinionated heroes DDragon Road is fast paced, full of spells, martial arts, magic swords, flying ships and monster bashing It also has intrigue, social conflict and TWO master disciple relationships It s a full on political adventure with lots of slashbucklings I enjoyed it immensely, and thus, my vote is 4 stars.There s stuff I felt were a letdown, and hence no fifth I feel like the author didn t have enough faith in character bonding as an interesting plot device There s lots, but in my opinion it feels like it is contained and constrained by the urgent and cruel reign of the plot This book is evenplot driven than its predecessor, and characters feel regularly pushed to the sidelines by the simple activity of running along and do stuff that must be done to avoid the constantly looming end of the world Elias alone is really well treated, but I feel I would have liked to pass a littletime with Aimee and the crew than this Action and bigger than me conflict are what this book is made of, and you get this is spades I would have liked a bitbanter, socializing and for the whole novel to beabout the crew and less about Elias and the new characters antagonists This is an especially fantasy problem There is so much space devoted to introducing the setting and the meaningfulness of its people I feel the already existing ones got the short end of the stick At the end of the book I still end up confusing who s who on the main crew, which is a bit of a problem The only real communal life scene I was treated to the squittens felt forced and compressed between heavy plot driven scenes, like it was some guilty treat among healthy vegetables I feel like the author enjoyed it, but I just didn t, precisely because it didn t appear liberating, but just a recess in a school I just transferred to I m not enough of a member of the crew for it to be pleasurable, I m afraid, and that is not my fault.I like short books This one felt slightly too short where it shouldn t have So I m giving four stars, while I will remember forever the deep enjoyment and the emotion and the drama of the fighting and the action, the rawness of the emotion of the life and death situations, which were MASTERFUL. Terrific fun Such a fantastic book I was happy to provide a blurb.