Book Review: Son of War by Raye Wagner

by - 3:25:00 AM

 Title: Son of War
Author: Raye Wagner 
Pages: 72
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: 28 March 2017

From Goodreads: "Xan Tierney was raised by his father Ares to be ruthless and lethal. As a kynigόs, he spends his time eliminating monsters that prey on naïve mortals and foolish demigods. There’s no doubt he’s the best, so when the daughter of Athena asks him to let Apollo’s sons tag along on a routine hunt, he agrees. But the sons of Apollo are arrogant idiots, and what should’ve been an easy kill turns deadly. Forced to recuperate at the conservatory, Xan is surrounded by painful memories and fresh accusations. He can’t wait until he’s well enough to leave, so he can return to hunting. Unfortunately for him, the resident demigods have their own agendas. Xan may be the son of Ares, but his fighting skills are no match for the destiny the Fates have woven for him."

Thank you to Raye Wagner and Lela Grayce for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.

I've been in such a slump lately when it comes to my reading. I've picked up and started at least eight, maybe more, books but haven't really been able to sit down and commit to one. But Son of War was such a nice, quick read that I think it really helped to start pulling me out of my slump! I loved Xan in the main Sphinx series and this short story was so awesome to kind of remind me just why I liked his character so much and to also get a little more of his backstory.

This was a pretty quick read at 72 pages so there wasn't much of a "plot" to dive into, in my opinion. This story followed Xan as he dealt with the always wonderful Sons of Apollo at the conservatory. When a mission that should have been easy turns deadly, Xan is forced to spend time recovering at the conservatory, causing him to relive painful memories and deal with accusatory demigods. All he wants is to get back to hunting, but the demigods have their own agenda. Just because Xan is the son of Ares doesn't mean his fighting skills are a match for the destiny that the Fates have woven. As I said above, this was a quick read, but the story was a wonderful one that blended seamlessly into the world of the Sphinx series. You get to read about Xan before he meets Hope and see how he takes on the role of Senior Demigod at the Seattle conservatory. He's just as sassy, strong, and stubborn as he is in the main Sphinx series books and it was great getting to read a short story that was filled with him and his snarky comments, especially when it came to Endy! This was a great story that's perfect for the Xan fans from the Sphinx series and even good for those that may just need their fix for another story set in that world to tide them over. It moves very fast but is still very enjoyable and even has a quick cameo from a very recognizable character from the main series! The length and quick pacing don't take away from the story at all but rather add to it and really gives the reader the feeling that they're reading from Xan's point of view.

Again, as this was a short story, there wasn't much time for some serious character development. You do get to see Xan, albeit reluctantly at first, accept his leadership role and immediately take action with it. I did like seeing that small bit of growth with him, going from being stubborn and resisting the decision that was made for him to accepting and really taking on his new position. There were several other demigods from the main series that made appearances, including Dahlia, Thenia, and the Sons of Apollo. This story definitely reinforced the fact that the Sons of Apollo are, in fact, idiots who refuse to take direction or listen to any form of authority. It was just nice to see my initial opinion of them was not wrong and that they've pretty much always been that way. Dahlia was fantastic, as always. I really loved the banter between her and Xan because I felt that their manner of speaking really shined in this story. You get bits and pieces of their foreign dialect and the different way that they speak in the main series, but this one just really brought it out of both of them and I could not get enough of it! Also, I really enjoyed Thenia. She had a more minor role, but I just really like the dynamic that Xan and Thenia had. It was hard seeing her struggle to kind of lead the conservatory, but I liked that she had respect for Xan and his ability to lead and basically trusted him to help train the demigods and lead them as Senior Demigod. The other characters were good as well, but they all had such minor roles that I can't say much about them outside of that. All of the characters, major or minor, are always well written in any Raye Wagner book. This story was definitely all about Xan, however, and I really think that Raye did a fantastic job making him shine, sarcasm and all.

One thing that is consistent with every book I read by Raye Wagner is the writing. It's always fantastic. From Curse of the Sphinx to Son of War, you can really see how her writing has evolved and grown and it's such a treat to watch her continue to get better and better with each new book. Short stories can sometimes suffer due to their length, but Son of War had a great balance of description, characters, and plot that all added up to make a great installment in the Sphinx series. You never feel like you're missing out on any details, and I think this would be a great read even for someone who hasn't read any of the other books in the series. It's very easy to sit down and get lost in this world and it was so enjoyable to get back in this series, if only for 72 pages!

Once again, Raye Wagner has written a fast-paced and fun story that is sure to give fans old and new an exciting reading experience. Whether you've read all of the Sphinx books (so far) or are a new reader, I highly encourage you to pick up Son of War  when it releases later this month!

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