What Goodreads has to say:
What I have to say:
"So [Hidden Revolt] isn't really Les Mis with dragons. All right, no more dissembling: it's totally Les Mis with dragons (if early nineteenth century Paris was the capital of an evil steampunk empire.) C'est la vie."If that was a bribe, I'll take it. Your book is now getting at least a four-tree review, Jeffrey Bardwell.
So anyway, I love Les Mis. I love revolution. I love dragons. Hidden Revolt had it all.
That said, I'm not sure it beats Rotten Magic, which remains my favorite in the Artifice Mage Saga. Still, it's pretty fun.
Things get progressively darker, grittier, and more chaotic as the Artifice Mage Saga continues, definitely proving that nobody's hands are clean. (Honestly, NOBODY has clean hands in this series, except for maybe sweet little Styx, but I'm sure that's only temporary.)
Speaking of Styx -- the wooden automaton given life by Devin -- how much more awesome can you get than Frankenstein, Les Mis, steampunk, dragons, and revolution all in the same book?????
Excuse me as I try to (momentarily) stop being such a literary nerd (English majors die hard).
Let's talk about Devin, the artifice mage himself. This book is a turning point for him. K, maybe I could also have said that about the last two books, because every moment seems to be a turning point for Devin, he's just turbulent in general. But this is the book where he really seems to start growing up. He realizes some things. He learns some lessons. He starts to grow humble. (He's not entirely there yet, but we'll give him credit for making progress, at least.)
The proof comes toward the end of Hidden Revolt, when Devin faces a dragon and has a sudden moment of self-awareness: "All those other scaly beasts in the sky and yet here you are, alone. You hunt alone. You live alone. I used to be like you." In the next moment, Devin calls to his boss band of revolutionary mage ninjas (like seriously, that's kind of what they are), and together they fight the dragon. Devin's realized it doesn't pay to fight alone. Perhaps he's not quite the dragon-boy after all -- or at least, not anymore.
If I have any gripe with Hidden Revolt, it's the same one I had about the last book in the series (Broken Wizards), and it's a weakness I'm very sensitive to because it's something I struggle with as a writer of fiction. These characters talk too much. In some moments, that's fine, because part of the point is that they can't get their revolution off the ground because they just go around in circles talking. But when the characters are trying to escape from the emperor's prison, or facing a humongous fire-breathing dragon, having a leisurely conversation doesn't feel natural.
Luckily, with a little unintended help from the emperor, Devin and his friends do manage to get their revolution off the ground, and I assume the next book in the Artifice Mage series will address this thought-provoking question which Devin ponders mid-way through Hidden Revolt:
"Can people who just spent all their energy tearing something down suddenly turn around and start building?"We'll see if Devin's dragon revolution can succeed where so many others have failed. We'll also see whether or not Armand Delacourt Vice is still alive and if so, whether or not he's eventually going to commit suicide by... I don't know... jumping off a bridge.
Meanwhile, can someone please write a straight-up version of Les Mis with dragons? It's now the story I never knew I always wanted.