Thursday, 11 December 2014

FANTASY REVIEW: Dragon Wine 1 and 2: Shatterwing and Skywatcher - Donna Maree Hanson

Release Date: 11/09/14
Publisher:  Momentum


Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison's best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.


The first title in the series and whilst its only out in Australia, I was lucky enough to be contacted about it by the publisher as they thought that I’d love the story. Whilst I’m generally a little apprehensive, I do love to try books that are popular in other countries as for me I always feel that they have something to add that I may not come across.

What unfurls within is a tale of daring, of courage and of course with a kickass plot alongside dragons. I mean come on, Dragons, who doesn’t love them? Yet what Donna brings to the table with this is a scientific understanding of the creatures and generates enough believable plausibility to leave the reader looking at the sky’s wondering why they aren’t up there gliding around.

The characters are solid, the pace wonderful and when added to some good dialogue all round leaves this as an opener that will more than please the reader. Magic.

Release Date: 09/10/14
Publisher:  Momentum


There is more to fear from the sky than dragons.

Violence and devastation spreads through Magra as the Inspector’s influence grows throughout the once peaceful lands. But Salinda, one of the Inspector’s most important weapons, has escaped. After being rescued by Nils, the last of his race, she is brought to the wondrous subterranean city of Barrahiem. With Nils’ vast store of knowledge and access to pre-Shatterwing technology, Salinda sees a way to defeat the Inspector, but only if she can convince him that humankind is worth saving.

Above ground, Brill and rebel leader, Danton, march for the observatory of Trithorn Peak, the only city yet to fall to the Inspector’s forces. With them are one of Trithorn’s Skywatchers, and a mysterious young woman whose eyes reflect a power not unlike Salinda’s. This misfit crew must work with Trithorn’s remaining Skywatchers to prepare for a desperate battle, not only for the observatory but for the future of Margra. For it is not only the Inspector that threatens their precious lands, and the Skywatchers are the only ones that can save them from the final moonfall.


OK, the second book from the DragonWine series by Aussie author Donna Maree Hanson and to be honest having loved the first I had high hopes for this one. What occurs within is a tale of cracking heroism, top notch action which when backed with some solid characters all round gave me a reading experience that I had a lot of fun with.

Whilst some of the characters felt a little flat, it is the principle characters that come across wonderfully well and with a lot of the hardwork in their placement done in the original novel, this one is opened up just for their emotional aspects as well as to further the plot. For many readers the first book is the key title that announces them to the reader yet for me, it’s the second book that’s the teller about the author as with this one they have to work with deadlines, extend plots and of course make sure that enough happens within the book so that it doesn’t allow the series to either stall until the third part or just act as a filler for a project that was really only intended for two. Whilst that hasn’t occurred with this book, I did feel that a lot of the magic of the explanations of the original were lost within this one which tended to gloss over the facts that had been presented before rather than reinforce them.

All round a solid second title and one that will keep me reading for the third.

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