Writing a review for a sequel, a second volume of a series, or any kind of narrative follow-up can prove difficult. Oftentimes, the sequel is incredibly similar to the predecessor, and I have to work to ensure I don’t write another review simply repeating myself. That isn’t a problem with Dragons in the Weaving, which continues from where its predecessor left off to tell a starkly different tale. Other times, which I do find myself struggling with here, when the books in question have plenty of twists and turns, I need to be certain to avoid spoilers not just for the book I am reviewing, but the previous entry too, despite how much bearing it has on the plot.
Dragons in the Weaving is the second novel in Leia Talon’s Roots and Stars duology, which itself is part of The World Tree Chronicles. If you have read my review of the first part, Falling Through the Weaving (if not, click this handy link, have a read, then come back for my thoughts about the duology’s conclusion), you’ll see that I noted the cliffhanger the book ended on, with its story to be concluded here. As much as I suggested you wouldn’t want to read the beginning of Roots and Stars in isolation, that is doubly true here: Dragons in the Weaving picks up immediately where Falling Through the Weaving left off, continuing protagonist Shelta’s story.
I would suggest these books are best read back to back (which happens to be the way I enjoyed them), as they tell one story between them. So much so, that as much as Dragons in the Weaving tells a different side to the story, having increased the stakes and scope considerably, it feels very much like the third act of the story that started in the preceding volume. I commented that the first book felt a little overlong, which is something this entry suffers from too, despite being almost one hundred pages shorter at 361 in paperback (or an estimated 335 in its digital format), which leaves me to ponder whether the story would have worked better in a slightly condensed form told in a single book.
Where Falling Through the Weaving’s fantastic elements were fairly narrow, Dragons in the Weaving’s are broad. Talon has increased the scope considerably; with the mystery surrounding Shelta’s time travels now resolved, this is a book full of dragons, gods and goddesses, wizards, and a view to saving the day. With this scope comes Norse mythology blended with Gaelic mythology, as well as Arthurian legend. As a fan of various myths and legends, it is always a pleasure to see them incorporated into fantasy, and Dragons in the Weaving brings them all out in epic fashion for a story with a truly massive scope.
On a character level, however, I wish there was more to these mythological figures. They all play to their archetypes and are written faithfully to the classic stories of old. However, as they play a major part in the story, they aren’t keenly developed. While it would be unfair to compare their characterisation to Shelta whose point of view guides the entire duology, they don’t come with the same level of depth that characters like Kilian brought to the first volume. Instead, their gravitas comes from the mythology behind them, and what they represent in the world of The World Tree Chronicles.
With the broadened scope, most returning characters play a smaller part in Dragons in the Weaving, but ring true to the characters from the first book. Again, the focus is squarely on Shelta, which is the way it should be. The narrative spends less time exploring Shelta’s past, and more time looking to the future and Shelta’s role in it, with less characterisation coming through her backstory. While it doesn’t add as much to the character, this largely works as it continues her story. I did find the character moved on from events fairly quickly though, meaning some of her character beats didn’t ring quite as true for me.
Shelta’s characterisation looking more to the future than the past works well with a narrative and themes about building a better future. Themes of wanting the future to improve upon the current day are carried over from the first book and expanded upon, and Talon uses these themes to project a sense of hope for our future.
Much of this hope comes from the power of music, and the effect this has on the soul, which is a recurring theme throughout both Dragons in the Weaving and its predecessor. As with that predecessor, the prose brings a lyrical quality to the story, presenting the beauty of the world through these words. The gods may be aloof and distant, but Shelta’s humanity shines through, and it is this humanity that plays a central role in the book’s climax.
I can’t discuss the prose without making special mention of the beauty the author brings to dragons; mighty creatures that are a sight to behold, bringing with them a true sense of wonderment. Throughout this book, the prose is a sterling achievement; a thing of beauty that transports the reader from Asgard, to modern times, to the years 789, 1753 and 1888. Despite whether the place and time is familiar to readers, a mythological realm, or a place lost to time, the writing transports the reader there, creating a living, breathing and believable setting.
Dragons in the Weaving is a beautifully told story, however its increased scope has resulted in a novel that doesn’t shine quite as brightly as its predecessor. With more characters to explore and a higher stakes story, the world loses some of its character. As the second part of the Roots and Stars duology, it concludes the story being told—and while this may not be quite as a successful entry, the story told between these volumes is still well worth reading, particularly for its wondrous prose.
Brighid smiled at Julia. “You, little star-child, bring your light into the Tapestry.” Her voice dropped, bringing a sense of eternity. “Each individual adds to the radiance of the whole. Each choice illuminates or diminishes the essence of that being. For most humans, life is a wavering dance between wanting to shine, brief bursts of brilliance, and the dimness of fear. And yet you’re made of the purest light. You are so much more powerful than you comprehend.”Dragons the Weaving: Roots and Stars, Book Two, “Intertwined”
Dragons in the Weaving: Roots and Stars, Book Two was provided by StoryOrigin for the purpose of an honest review.
Dragons in the Weaving is available in both physical and eBook forms from book retailers (including—but not limited to—Amazon).
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Interested in purchasing Dragons in the Weaving?
Please find a link below; please note I do not collect any proceeds from the sale.Dragons in the Weaving: A Time Travel Fantasy Romance (Roots and Stars Book 2)