Note: This review will contain spoilers regarding Dragon Bones, the first half of the duology.
Dragon Blood picks up not too far from where Dragon Bones left off, with Ward and his kingdom rebuilding from the aftermath of the battle at Castle Hurog. While this book was still plenty entertaining, it did not quite hold the up to its predecessor. It is still a good book, just not quite as good. We get some lingering questions from the end of Dragon Bones answered and the story continues in a predictable but still entertaining manner. The issues seemed to lie within the details.
The pacing and strength of the writing in the first book stayed more or less the same throughout the novel. In Dragon Blood, the book starts off just as strong but that seems to wane as the story goes on. The ending especially feels rushed; it felt like the story was leading into something much grander and epic than the quick and decisive ending we were presented. Something of a similar issue seemed to be present with the characters. While all the surviving characters from the first book do make an appearance, some of the folks who were Ward’s companions in Dragon Bones barely get mentioned in this adventure.
Another thing that seemed to hurt more than help Dragon Blood was a forced love story. Yes, for many works of fiction writers feel obligated to throw in a love story. That does not automatically make this a positive thing. I will not say who the love interest is for spoiler reasons, but if you have read the first book it is not too hard to figure out as there is pretty much only one suitable female candidate (not Ward’s sister, this is not Game of Thrones). The romance in and of itself was not necessarily a bad romance, it just felt too forced when the first book barely hinted at it.
Overall, Dragon Blood is worth the read just as much as the first book was. Even as a two-parter, it is a pretty short story that is good for people who do not want to jump into a longer series or just do not have the time for that right now. For the overall page number the characters are well built, the lore is well-developed, and the story is (mostly) well-paced. More little fantasy books that are weaker, rather than stronger, than the Hurog duology.