Title: Recovery (Reawakening: Book Three)
Author: Amy Rae Durreson
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 370 Pages
At a Glance: The world building in these novels is gorgeous and detailed, without ever becoming cumbersome, and the romantic elements are pure and forthright yet complex as well.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Resistance, exile, plague. Raif has survived them all, but now he finds himself in search of a new purpose. Traveling north to wake the dragon Arden, he hopes he has finally found a leader worthy of his loyalty, but Arden turns out to be more of a frivolous annoyance than an almighty spirit lord. Now bound to Arden’s side despite his frustration, Raif follows the dragon to the rich and influential lagoon city of Aliann, chasing rumors of the Shadow that once cursed his homeland.
With the election of a new duke at stake, Raif struggles to make sense of the challenges he meets in Aliann: a conspiracy of nixies and pirates, selkie refugees in desperate need of a champion, a monster that devours souls, a flirtatious pirate prince, and a machine that could change the world. For nothing in the city of masks is what it seems, from the new friends Raif makes to the dragon he follows—or even himself.
Review: I don’t often quote myself, but here I am, preparing to quote myself:
“This series is a thing of beauty for lovers of high fantasy. That’s really all that needs saying about both Reawakening and now, Resistance”.
Which was the final line of my review of Amy Rae Durreson’s Resistance, back in December of 2015, and I can now say that the same truth applies to Recovery, book three in this author’s brilliant Reawakening series. The world building in these novels is gorgeous and detailed, without ever becoming cumbersome, and the romantic elements are pure and forthright yet complex as well.
Giving his heart to a dragon who’s been asleep for a thousand years is Raif’s duty. A dragon who awakens with a world of hurt weighing on his own heart. A dragon who infuriates with his tendency towards playfulness when Raif would prefer Arden be commanding and resolute in their quest to find and lay waste to the Shadow. Arden might not be what Raif anticipated in a dragon lord, but in the end, it all leads to a life of incomparable riches—riches upon which one can’t place a tangible value. The price of loving a dragon is steep, however, and Raif finds himself in the fight of his life. A fight in which his own heart pays a heavy toll for a lie of omission that may cost Raif everything. Or, will offer him an unimaginable boon.
A dragon’s strength is drawn from the collection of humans who vow their allegiance and pledge their hearts to the dragon lords, so as each of them have awakened, they’ve set about the reestablishing of the hoards they’d lost centuries before during the Dragon Wars. As Raif and Arden make their way to the city of Aliann, the place where Arden hopes to establish his greatest treasure, the friction grows as Raif realizes Arden is not the type of dragon he’d hoped to serve. Raif is the staid sort—let’s be honest, he needed to loosen up. A lot. But he has good reasons for being so serious. And, while Arden is cheeky and appears frivolous, he also conceals a deeper secret that Raif will eventually learn cuts both ways. Raif is the oil to Arden’s water as they travel together, and they arrive in Aliann only to discover that while Arden works undercover to win the hearts of the people, there is a dark malevolence in its own disguise that’s attempting to take over the city. A deadly enemy that knows Arden’s one true weakness. A deadly enemy that underestimates Raif’s convictions, his heart, and his destiny.
One of my many favorite things—because the entire book is one favorite thing after another, to be honest—is the way Durreson populates every one of these stories with an array of characters who each stands out in their own way. From dragons to selkies to nixies to a hydra to pirates to the Queen of the River to the humans who populate Aliann, Recovery is filled from cover to cover with characters that enrich the whole of the story and fire the imagination; in particular, the pirate Kastrian, Prince of the Sea. I ended up loving him a lot more than I thought I would, and it appears he will feature prominently in the next book(s), as will another of Arden’s brothers, Markell. Another highlight among the many is I absolutely love that this world allows for strong male and female and non-binary characterizations. Durreson doesn’t populate this series with caricatures or cookie cutter characters, which I appreciate as much for their representation as I do for the smart dialogue.
But, of course, the heart of the story is the love that grows between Raif and Arden, a love that is tried and tested and proves, beyond the Shadow of evil, that it is true and enduring. This is a story of faith and courage in the face of seemingly impossible odds, a recovery of spirit, a recovery of hope and heart and strength, a reclaiming of life and the future.
I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of everything that happens in Recovery, or that’s happened in the Reawakening series up to this point. The politics and mythology, loyalty and the quest for truth and justice as a force of darkness threatens to destroy, gives an edge of danger and cruelty to the desire to love and be loved in return. And, the best part is that it’s all crafted and woven seamlessly through Amy Rae Durreson’s most capable prose.
You can buy Recovery here: