Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of In the Books, featuring When The Dragon Roars (The Starks trilogy #2) by Nesly Clerge.
About the Book: Secrets and lies force their way to the surface in Nesly Clerge’s newest novel of deception, crime, and buried history. Frederick Starks thought he’d already lost as much as one man could: A beautiful family, the luxurious life wealth provides, success, admiration—all stripped from him in one moment of madness that resulted in a fifteen-year sentence in a maximum security prison. Certain that life has gotten as bad as it can get, Starks contrives a way to rise to the top of the inmate hierarchy. But his assumption is wrong. Amid stunning revelations, betrayals, and violence, Starks faces one challenge after another, until a life-altering event forces him into the most brutal confrontation of all: the truth about himself.
My review: I had the pleasure to read the first book, which left me waiting to see the outcome of Starks’ revelation. I have to admit, I loved his physical transformation. It was the perfect way to symbolize to the reader as well as Starks’ fellow inmates that something traumatic had happened. It was refreshing to see something so drastic happen instead of a dozen pages explaining his change through attitude shifts and so on.
With his physical change, Starks is also forced to further deal with his personal demons. One of which was heartbreaking, but it set up the third book perfectly. We get to see him stubbornly grow while dealing with various levels of depression, embarrassment, and anger. Every time he seemed to make progress, something major would happen to derail his plans, forcing him to adapt. In doing this, the author did a phenomenal job of taking me out of my comfort zone as I didn’t know what to expect from chapter to chapter. He even fooled me at one part, getting me to buy in, and that’s not an easy thing to do.
With the characters so well thought out, it’s no wonder the description was perfect. With each turning page, I could feel and smell Starks’ environment. I even got hungry for some packaged sandwiches and sweet rolls. Lol
The biggest difference between this and the previous book, in my opinion, was it didn’t focus as much on claustrophobia and isolation as much. It did, however, take the isolation mentality in an entirely different direction, and that only enhanced the story. Instead, the scope of the story revolved around Starks’ internalizing issues while dealing with the enormity of rising within the prison’s hierarchy. It was a cool balancing act that served the story well.
As with this book, I will impatiently wait for the third installment. If you love prison dramas/thrillers, this is the perfect series for you.