Chris Bunch shows some real creativity in Storm of Wings by his ability to adequately blend real military action with fantasy themes. Undoubtedly, his service as a commander in Vietnam and his writing as a correspondent for Stars and Stripes gives him the background which makes his story so plausible.
Hal Kailas, our poor down-trodden adolescent hero, loves dragons and, through a series of events, he gets conscripted into the military. Hal’s fascination with dragons gives him some useful ideas and skills which both reward and punish him at different points in the story.
There’s nothing outrageously new in any of this, but what really sets the story apart is that Chris Bunch creates a military/war environment that feels real. His disdain for staff officers and for those who don’t understand the difference between actual fighting skills and parade skills is wonderful. I really liked the way that Hal’s military ethics developed throughout the story. These morals and ideals, such as not leaving your fellow soldiers behind, sound like they were written by someone who knows what that really means.
The plot of Storm of Wings is fast paced and the story had enough intrigue and a smattering of romance to keep it balanced and fun. Storm of Wings is quite good and gives a realistic flavor to classic epic fantasy — I couldn’t help but enjoy it.