The Red-Stained Wings, by Elizabeth Bear

Review copy provided by the publisher. In addition, the author is a dear friend.

I love middle books.

I know that there are people who complain about them, but I love them so much. I know what I’m getting into, there’s still room for new twists and surprises, and my standards for whether the author stuck the landing are different because it’s supposed to be an intermediate ending, not a final one. (When it’s not even an intermediate ending, then I get mad. This has an intermediate ending. This is a good place to pause and think about things before the last book in the trilogy.)

There’s a lot here. Animal familiars and predators, toxic dragons, draught and deserts, plotting and betrayal and trust. (I put them in that order for a reason.) There is a mechanical man, a bear-dog, complicated interactions with dolphins and a river goddess. There is despair and hope. There are so many reasons to continue with this book, and I’m so glad there’s more to come.

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