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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy for all
I'm very fussy about my fantasy these days, the death of the great David Gemmell really dented my ability to read this genre, but every now and again a series comes along that is just a cut above the usual dross, something so well written, with great characters, tight plotting and well paced that i just have to read it, and keep reading it.... in the last few years the...
Published on 7 July 2011 by Parm

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An all-action ending
Again, this third book of the trilogy starts where the previous one left off, with the war still going on and the rogue dragon Snow still working to free more of her dragon pals from human slavery. The author's strength is in action, and there's no shortage of it here. The dragon/human battles are terrific, and Deas constantly reminds us of the dragons' vastly superior...
Published on 13 Mar 2012 by Mrs. Pauline M. Ross


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy for all, 7 July 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I'm very fussy about my fantasy these days, the death of the great David Gemmell really dented my ability to read this genre, but every now and again a series comes along that is just a cut above the usual dross, something so well written, with great characters, tight plotting and well paced that i just have to read it, and keep reading it.... in the last few years the only fantasy authors to do this are Hoffman, Roothfus Martin and now Deas.
This really is a must read for fantasy readers, but also for others outside the genre, there is much to be enjoyed and gained by fans of Historical fiction, action adventure etc.. its just one of those truly great series that keeps its quality from book one to the end of the excellent book 3.

what next for Mr Deas I wonder?

(Parm)

Product Description (from back of book)
As the various factions fight for control of the Adamatine Palace mankinds nemesis approaches. The realms dragons are awakening from their alchemical sedation and returning to their native fury. They can remember why they were created and they now know what mankind has done to them. And their revenge will be brutal. As hundreds of dragons threaten a fiery apocalypse only the Adamantine Guard stand between humanity and extinction. Can Prince Jehal fight off the people who want him dead and unite their armies in one final battle for survival? Noted for its blistering pace, awesome dragons and devious polticking Stephen Deas's landmark fantasy trilogy moves to a terrifying epic conclusion in The Order of the Scales
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An all-action ending, 13 Mar 2012
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Again, this third book of the trilogy starts where the previous one left off, with the war still going on and the rogue dragon Snow still working to free more of her dragon pals from human slavery. The author's strength is in action, and there's no shortage of it here. The dragon/human battles are terrific, and Deas constantly reminds us of the dragons' vastly superior size and strength - the earth shaking as they land, the turbulance in the air when they take off, the heat and smoke when they spit flames, and the numerous ways in which they can kill humans without even trying. He captures the physicality of riding them brilliantly too.

Unfortunately, the action seems to be a substitute here for a coherent story. The one truly interesting story - the dragons, their ways and their history, and dealing with the escaped Snow - is muddied by various distractions, such as the ill-fated religious uprising, and the political in-fighting between the royal families which culminated in a disastrous war. This ensures that the final confrontation with the rogue dragons is a desperate battle for survival, but it's hard to believe that the dragon kings and queens can be quite so stupid. To be honest, everyone comes across as stupid, dragons and humans alike, which is a pretty nihilistic world view, it has to be said.

Creating realistic characters or relationships has not been the author's strongest suit in this series, but the surviving characters have built some history over the course of the trilogy, and thereby acquired at least a little depth. For some of them, in fact, there are the beginnings of something more profound. Kemir's wavering between suicidal bravado and survival at all costs never seemed totally believable, but it does give his character an edge of pathos. And, astonishingly, I had a lot of sympathy for Jehal in this book. It's bad enough to be shot at by your mother-in-law, but to be taunted for being a cripple by the man who put the crossbow in her hands is a bit rich. I'm still not quite sure whether he cares more for his wife or his lover, though. It seems to depend a great deal on which one is with him and available, and therefore boring, and which is believed dead or held prisoner, and needs to be avenged or retrieved, and is therefore more desireable. The grass is always greener, I suppose.

The ending is not one of those uplifting, heartwarming, victory-against-all-odds affairs. This is not really a spoiler, because anyone who has read the first two books will know all about the author's wanton destructive tendencies. Towards the end, there was a real question in my mind as to whether even one main character or eyrie or tower would be left standing at the finish. As I said in my reviews of the previous two books, I think it's a dangerous strategy for an author to wilfully kill or maim quite so many main characters, since it tends to disconnect the reader - what's the point in getting invested in a character who might die at any moment? And these are not satisfying redemptive deaths, or even (it seems) essential for the overall plot, rather they are simply throw-away moments, not even shocking after so many previous examples. Characters simply disappear without trace, or are presumed to be dead. Sometimes they turn out to be alive after all, only to die for real a few pages further on, or else they survive endless trauma only to be casually dispatched with hardly a mention. At least one disappeared without my noticing at all. Maybe this is all meant to be a Terribly Clever Commentary (life's a bitch and then you get squashed by a dragon, maybe?), but I got tired of it pretty quickly.

At the end there were enough dangling plot-threads to knit quite a long scarf. Like who did steal the white dragon, for instance. Actually, I thought we solved that in book one, but obviously I was wrong. How the magic spear works. Who or what the Silver Kings really are, and their relationship with the Taiytakei. Why they wanted dragons, and why (since they had some seriously powerful magic) they couldn't just take them. Actually, the whole magic system was a mess, a real hotch-potch of this and that, none of it made clear or apparently connected to anything else. It felt as if we needed another book just to join all the dots (assuming they could be joined).

And then there were the motivations: I was never very clear exactly why all the dragon-kings and queens were so hell-bent on war, and so ignorant (or perhaps careless) of the threat of the rogue dragons. I get that a lot of knowledge had been lost over the years, or had degenerated into myth and legend, and I also get the secrecy of the alchemists, but the whole point of a multiple realms arrangement is to prevent this kind of collective madness (checks and balances, and so forth). But maybe they were just too inbred after centuries of intermarrying. And as for the dragons, revenge isn't a very clever strategy either (and although they said that wasn't their objective, it's hard to think of another word for what they did). Once free of human enslavement, they should have been planning for their own future: finding safe, hidden eyries, and working out that the best way to provide themselves with a reliable food supply is to nurture the humans who breed the cattle. So not a lot of intelligence on display on either side.

There's a great deal to enjoy in this book. The battles are terrific, and if you like dragon action, this is definitely the series for you. The dragons are brilliant, actually. Daft, very often, but brilliant. The pacing is better this time, with less backstory to be shoehorned in, so that the action lurches page-turningly from battle to town burning to confrontation to battle again with hardly a pause for breath. There are also some laugh out loud moments, some deliciously spiteful exchanges and a wedding that ranks up there with one or two of George R R Martin's (no, no, not that one - and not that one either - Tyrion's, maybe, or Littlefinger's, in terms of gloriously mismatched but very funny couplings). This ought to have been a good four stars, but for me it never quite lived up to the promise of the first of the trilogy, and the muddled ending and the cavalier treatment of so many characters holds it down. If I'd cared much about any of the characters I'd knock this back to two stars out of spite at what the author did to them, but let's say three stars for the action and humour. And the dragons, of course. Gotta love the dragons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fiery Conclusion to an Excellent Dragon Epic, 20 Jun 2011
The story which began in The Adamantine Palace and grew in The King of the Crags reaches a fitting and fiery conclusion in this, The Order of the Scales. Notorious for his revival of Dragons as they should be - fierce and furious - Stephen Deas, in this final volume of the `Memory of Flames' trilogy, shows us that he is more than capable of putting an end to the entertaining tales he begins. On this final (for now) trip to the Dragon Realms, he offers us more of what we loved in the previous novels and blowing it up to a whole new scale. Dragon lovers, this one is, without a doubt, for you.

The Order of the Scales is, broadly, the epic clash that has been foreseeable since the first moment we set foot in the Dragon Realms. On top of rogue dragons, the previous two tomes have established a harsh political climate between the Dragon Kings and Queens as well as other mounting problems which means a final `venting' or the pressure that has built up across this world. On the political side, Jehal and Zafir are still in the forefront, but others continue to play significant parts in the scheming, back-stabbing and bickering. Hinted at mysteries which Deas has been holding back until now finally see the light of day in this third installment.

There is a discernible shift in this third novel, away from the court-side intrigue in favor of observing the consequences of the first two novels' actions on the characters. Kemir's dire condition is, perhaps, the best example of Deas's care for the characters, though his storyline did end - and appear to become insignificant - a bit too abruptly for my tastes. As mentioned, Jehal features prominently once again, and he exhibits the some of the greatest amounts of growth amongst all of the characters. Truly it has been interesting to see him evolve so thoroughly over the through books - kudos to Deas for that.

Perhaps a bit shallowly - but thankfully - one of Deas's greatest strengths remains how he can deliver an enthusiastic, and brilliantly executed, dose of heart-thumping dragon action. The Order of the Scales sees a dragon battle on a scale not seen many times before, even in Deas's two other novel. This is, after-all, what he and his books have come to be known for.Past the political and human turmoil and the fighting, the novel unwinds in a surprising way. Deas does not disappoint in that he brings the trilogy to a satisfying end, but he does also manage to leave enough dangling that he can pick up some of the threads in the subsequent novels he appears to already be working on.

Brutal, chaotic and heart-wrenching, this concluding entry in the `Memory of Flames' trilogy brings this chapter in the history of the Dragon Realms to a fast-paced and well-wrought end. The Order of the Scales is not a perfect novel, but it is just as good as anything Stephen Deas has given us in the past, and in some ways better. Certainly, readers who enjoyed The Adamantine Palace and The King of the Crags will not feel let down one bit by this third novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 13 July 2013
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This is a brilliant novel, very happy to have read! Dramatic, dynamic and makes you want to keep reading and reading!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon stop overcharging for Kindle e-books, 3 Dec 2012
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Amazon you need to respect your customers - stop abusing your monopoly over Kindle e-book distribution by overcharging. It should NEVER be more expensive to buy the e-book version than a hard copy version. Can you imagine how galling it is to receive endless spam e-mails from you telling me that the hardback version of a book is cheaper than the electronic version. And pay your taxes like everybody else.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Order of Scales, 23 May 2012
Thought this book was fantastic! Amazing ending just the way I wanted! totally gripping and great read. Fast paced and brutal! Loved it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good gritty read, 30 May 2011
Deliciously devious characters all plotting and scheming, making and breaking aliances...but for what? When the only power they have comes from the tenuous control they have of their dragons. But what if....? I loved these books. The storyline is gripping and the chapters are not overly long or too wordy. Brilliant!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great conclussion, 28 May 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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To be honest I make no bones about having fallen for Stephens writing from the beginning. It has great hooks, it depends on character driven plot lines and the author is not above character's petty minded bloodbaths in order to reach goals. Add to this a story that whilst relatively short is one that packs a lot of punch for its weight and will more than please the readers with its gritty style which when backed with decent dialogue and superb prose makes it a hard book to put down.

All in a great end to the original trilogy and one that will more than fulfil the brief that many readers have been demanding. Finally with one trilogy under his belt and a high octane young adult series to follow I see Stephen remaining a firm fan favourite for years and one that really does do fantasy to a high standard. Yes he might not be for everyone as it is not the à la mode Epic that has become so popular but it's one that does what it does well with magical character description and depth of personality that make this a top notch series to help expand from YA Fantasy reading to the adult world. Great stuff.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid conclusion to the series., 26 May 2011
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The dragon realms have fallen into open warfare. As armies of dragon-riders do battle in the skies over the nine kingdoms, different factions maneuver and jockey for position during the chaos. The Taiytakei scheme to gain control of dragons themselves, whilst the alchemists fret over their dwindling supplies of the potions that control the dragons. If the supply runs out, a cull must take place. In the middle of it all, Jehal, the Speaker of the Realms, furthers his own ambitions and Snow, a dragon freed from the control of humans, continues her plans to liberate all dragons from the yoke of humanity, forever.

The Order of the Scales brings to a conclusion the Memory of Flames trilogy, following on from The Adamantine Palace and The King of the Crags. The first two novels left the world of the dragon-riders in a precarious state, and The Order of the Flames pushes it over the edge into full-blown warfare. Those who enjoy the idea of vast armies of hundreds of dragons engaging in battle will be well-catered for here. However, Deas maintains the focus on the characters, most notably Jehal and Kemir, and shows their plots and lives unravelling in the face of the chaos they have both set in motion.

As with the first two books, this is a relatively short volume by epic fantasy standards (340 pages in tradeback) and Deas packs a huge amount in. There are moments when a pause for breath might be appreciated, or subtler moments of characterisation might be expanded upon, but the ferocious pace of the series is one of its hallmarks, and Deas packs in enough side-detail to give the world the feeling of depth without resorting to filler. As a result it's a relentless read, though I'd recommend re-reading or at least skimming the first two books to reacquaint yourself with the storyline and characters, as Deas takes no prisoners with characters picking up exactly where The King of the Crags left them and carrying on without a pause for breath.

As the conclusion of the series, the book is extremely ruthless, with a startling number of major character deaths. It's also a somewhat messy finale, with numerous plot strands left dangling for future books. And yes, there will be more books in the same world, with another volume, The Black Mausoleum, already on the way to follow up on the ending of this trilogy. There is enough closure to make this book mostly satisfying, though those looking for happy, neat ending are directed elsewhere.

The Order of the Scales (****) is a fast-paced and violent conclusion to an interesting series, epic in scope but low in bloat and marked out by memorably vicious characters (scaled and unscaled). The novel is available now in the UK and will be published on 9 February 2012 in the USA.
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The Order of the Scales
The Order of the Scales by Stephen Deas (Paperback - 9 Feb 2012)
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