Long ago stood the kingdom of Requiem, a land of men who could grow wings and scales, breathe fire, and take flight as dragons. Requiem ruled the sky.
But Dies Irae, a tyrant leading an army of griffins, hunted Requiem's people, burned their forests, and shattered their temples. Requiem fell. This ancient land now lies in ruin, its halls crumbled, its cries silenced, its skeletons littering the burned earth.
In the wilderness, a scattering of survivors lives in hiding. The griffins still hunt them, and every day promises death. Will Requiem's last children perish in exile... or once more become dragons and fly to war?
Feuding brothers, humans that can shift into dragons, armys of men riding griffins, love, hate, jealousy and forgiveness. Blood of Requiem pulls all these elements together and makes this original fantasy world come to life.
Benedictus is king of Requiem. He is also Vir Requis, which means he can shift into dragon form. Many of the people of Requiem are able to do this. Dies Irae, older brother of Benedictus, can't shift. This is why his younger brother is king instead of him. The story starts off with the slaughter of all the Vir Requis and Benedictus being cast out by his younger brother.
The conflict in this book is really between the two brothers. There is bad blood, jealousy and envy that has had years to grow and fester. It takes place on such a large scale because Benedictus and his army can shift into a dragon and Dies Irae can command the griffins and uses them for his own army. It escalates into a war that wipes out almost all of the Vir Requis.
I kept finding myself really wanting to feel sympathy for Dies Irae. His father put him down and embarrassed him simply because he couldn't change into a dragon (bad parenting 101). He always felt like a failure, and that quickly turned into unquenchable anger. Who wouldn't be mad about that? But in the end I had to give up on feeling sorry for him because he placed the blame on everyone but himself. We can't change the cards we're dealt, but we can play them however we want. A lot of people grow up in abusive or negative homes, and they can choose to wallow in self-pity and rage OR they can make the choice to be stronger for it, to live well in spite of their upbringing. I must say that it makes for a character I loved to hate!
I really liked the idea of humans being able to shift into dragons. While in their dragon forms they are still able to think and talk like humans. How cool would that be? Soaring across the skies, moving through the clouds. Very cool!
Fans of fantasy will want to check this one out!
Publication Date: May 17, 2011
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Source: Thank you to the author, Daniel Arenson, for my review copy! Check out his website at http://www.danielarenson.com/