DRAGONS' WRATH was a fairly standard type of story, but one that contained enough plot twists and turns to hold my interest all the way to the end. The book didn't blow my mind, or stand my world-view on its head, but it did keep me entertained and amused. It's not deep, it's not heavy, but it's quite a bit of fun.
The plot moves quickly and provides us with very few dull moments. For much of the time I genuinely didn't know what direction the story was going to move in. That is especially praiseworthy when one considers how uninspired the bare outline of the story might have read, featuring, as it does, a treasure hunt, an ancient relic and a political power-struggle. So the fact that Justin Richards managed to make these somewhat tired elements not only interesting, but also quite unpredictable, is striking. The storyline manages to twist in logical and interesting ways, reviving any reader who may have grown weary of too many adventure stories based on long lost riches and power-mad dictators.
There was one section that kept annoying me though, and I was fortunate that the offending passages weren't thrown into the forefront too many times. Richards sets up the power-struggle in such a way that the focus of a tyrant's ambition is ultimately not really necessary, given what his main objectives are. A few times it is mentioned that some of his motivations are really just for show, as he already has a great deal of political power and influence. It kept nagging at me, because it felt as though this was getting in the way of the story being told. I thought it was shooting itself in the foot by cheapening and lessening the main thrust of the plot. On the other hand, this really wasn't referenced to all that often, and the resolution to this particular strand went a good way towards regaining my favor.
In this, her second book since branching out on her own, Benny is shown to be quite capable of carrying a series by herself. She's still a very engaging character, but more importantly, the fictional universe itself contains more than enough outlying pieces for the star to interact with. This series is getting richer as it goes along, and there are lots of little pieces for the authors to draw on if needed, or to ignore if unnecessary. It's certainly boding well for the later books in the series, and I'm quite looking forward to getting to the rest of them.
DRAGONS' WRATH was definitely a solid and enjoyable adventure. If you really wanted to skip it, you probably wouldn't miss anything terribly important. But it's a fairly diverting and compelling story, so I really couldn't recommend doing that. Read this one on a lazy Sunday afternoon.