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Storm of Wings Paperback – August, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

“Fans of military fantasy and dragon lore should enjoy this fantasy adventure.”

From Booklist

In the first book of the new Dragonmaster series, Hal Kailas grows from a callow 13-year-old, fascinated by the dragons living in the crags just above his isolated village, into a battle-savvy Dragonmaster. Dragooned into the Derain army, Hal faces his first blooding in the cavalry during the vicious war against the Roche. After he becomes the sole survivor of his unit, he joins the dragon fliers, with whom his astuteness, bravery, and capability earn him promotion and honor. But his main concern lies with wreaking revenge for the deaths of his cavalry comrades. The action in this series-opener is nonstop and violent, with many deaths attributable to the stupidity of those responsible for running the war. Despite a victory at the end, readers know, along with Hal, that the war and the killing have only begun. Bunch's military background stands him in good stead as he concocts strategy and depicts battle in the air and on the ground. A good bet for military sf and fantasy fans. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Dragonmaster Series, 1
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit Book Co. (August 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841491047
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841491042
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,870,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a much-better-than-usual story, and perhaps the best of Chris Bunch's (usually quite good) writing I've yet found.
The story of Storm Of Wings starts out fairly conventional; a lower-class child, of a not-long-ago-subjugated people, tangles with the spoiled child of the local lord, and takes it on the lam to avoid having consequences falling on either himself or his family. Adventures ensue; the child becomes a hero, and is vindicated.
Trite, yes?
Hal Kailas starts his life adventures in a common manner, but the story does not stay common. All manner of clichés are avoided, or are turned on their heads: The run-away peasant-child doesn't discover the Terrible Secret that will free his people. He doesn't even try. The hero doesn't stumble into the hands of a renegade weapons master/mage/pirate/thief. He doesn't even connect with the dragons, about which the story revolves, save for the incident that chases him away from home, for quite a while. Instead, he becomes a wandering laborer, neither abused nor heroic, but merely surviving and traveling. So much for the standard clichés!
The next, drunken, encounter with a dragon also fails to produce a cliche, and Hal merely finds himself the subject a few hours amazement that he's alive and uninjured. Beyond that, he remains merely Hal, Vagabond. Things begin to change course as Hal finds himself enviously watching a barnstorming dragon-rider performing for coin outside of a random town. Again, the cliche is avoided; this is no knight-of-the-air, nor is the rider heir to some long and noble tradition. Instead, this man's a showman, and belongs to the first generation to successfully tame a dragon well enough to saddle it. It's all for the money.
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Format: Paperback
We have something really special here! Too early to say if STORM OF WINGS will go on to Tolkienish heights with the lovers of the genre but what a start! And in all honesty, I would re-read this over Fellowship Of The Ring without a moments hesitation.
Dragonmaster is beautifully written but more than that the story is all class. I felt an affinty with Hal during his early struggles as a boy then in the army. Then the journey with him as he becomes a dragon rider, with his own squadron eventually, is a pure pleasure to be a part of.
From the plight and perils of Deraine and Sagene to the evil Roche, Hal Kalias goes from peasant-child who must leave his home to finding a place on the front line. In time he becomes a Lord. Then a dragonmaster. And you will savour each page as you share the journey.
Battles atop the backs of dragons adds another dimension to the story. I was reminded of world war 1 biplane action as the factions take to the skies with bow, aiming for the 'meat' rather than the machine (or in this case, the dragons). You too will be whisked away to magical places that you want to learn more about -- nothing in this book is a chore to read.
Action comes thick and fast from the outset. Along the way the human condition is echoed through characters that battle the same vices and virtues as the rest of us. There's Hal's first crush; dealing with rivals; finding love; forging relationships with a select few; tolerating fools; fighting against hopelessness and keeping an even keel: it's just so well done. His battles are not just fought upon his mighty dragons but within, the battles of emotions, thoughts, and stuggles of the mind that must be conquered too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chris Bunch shows some real creativity in Storm of Wings by his ability to adequately blend real military action with Fantasy themes. After reading a bit more about him, his ability to do this is supported by his personal history and makes things that much more plausible.

Bunch takes your cliche poor, down-trodden, hero adolescent and carries him through a series of events that culminate in his being conscripted in the military. The main theme of the hero is a fascination with dragons that both rewards and punishes him at different points in the story. Nothing outrageously good in any of this.

What really sets the story apart is that Bunch creates a military/war environment that is real. His disdain for staff Officers and for those who don't understand the difference between actual fighting skills and parade skills is wonderful. I really liked some of the moral sentiments that Bunch evolves in the main character. Things like not leaving the soldiers he is serving with and other ideals really ring strongly of someone who knows what that really means.

The writing is fast paced and the story had enough intrigue and a smattering of romance to keep is balanced and fun. I am surprised that I have never heard of this before because it's really quite good and gives such a fun, realistic flavor to classic Fantasy that you can't help enjoying it.
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