Age of Fire is a fantasy series by E. E. Knight that follows the lives of three dragon siblings. The three dragons separate shortly after their parents and fourth sibling are killed by dwarves. The first book follows Auron as he travels the world having adventures, making friends, and learning about dragons and why they are disappearing from the world. The second book follows Wistala, the only surviving female of the clutch, who is determined to avenge her parents' and sister's murder. The Copper is the main character of the third book who, after betraying his family, is betrayed in turn by the dwarves. He finds his way eventually to an underground society of dragons. The fourth, fifth, and sixth books rotate through the three siblings' perspectives after they reunite, and deal with the characters working to determine the role dragons will play in the world.The books in this series are:
A Date with Rosie Palms: When Rethothanna is berating The Copper's appearance she asks if his thrall has been doing the one armed hominid pastime.
Abusive Parents: AuRel and Irelia abandon the Copper after young Auron forces him from their egg shelf. It should be noted that this is a normal instinct for dragons; the only ones who think to stop it are those who want to improve the overall population of dragons.
Amazon Brigade: The Firemaids. Combative, sworn-to-celibacy dragonelles that serve as protectors of the Lavadome. Also their younger counterpart the Firemaidens, a similar group that comprises drakka.
Ambiguous Ending: In Dragon Fate. Did RuGaard and/or Nilrasha live? If so, did they have hatchlings together? There are only rumors...
Ambition Is Evil: The Copper might not be quite evil, but he's by far the most morally ambiguous main character. Also basically every villain wants to rule the world.
Ancient Aliens: Implied to be Anklemere, the ancient wizard, as well as trolls. And apparently, the Lavadome is also a spaceship.
Anti-Hero: The Copper wants to take over the world and doesn't bat an eye over the enslavement of sentient people, as long as they're not dragons. He also doesn't have many (if any) friends and hardly seems to care when dragons he's close to die. And of course, there's the whole egg cave debacle.
Anyone Can Die: Since the books take place over decades, many of the non-dragon characters end up dead, either to conflict or old age. Even then, plenty of dragons have their numbers come up.
Arc Words: AuRon, Wistala, and the Copper have improvise, adapt, and overcome respectively in the first three books. These three are reused in Dragon Strike as the names of the three parts of that book.
Arranged Marriage: RuGaard and Halaflora. He was mostly miserable at first, but he came to love Halaflora's gentle nature.
Babies Ever After: In the first novel, with AuRon and Natasatch. And in the last novel, Wistala and DharSii, and possibly also RuGaard and Nilrasha, depending on whether you think the story of their survival is true or not.
Bizarre Dragon Biology: Dragons have 2 extra neck-hearts, grow their wings which emerge at puberty, and must eat metal to keep their scales healthy.
Badass Boast: One that the Copper overhears in the 3rd book and gets repeated often:
The Copper: Dragons eat challenge and vent victory!
Bling of War: Lampshaded by Wistala when visiting the Hypatian capital, remarking that the chancellor's guards were straining under the weight of their immaculate armor and shields. Since she's trying to recruit them as war allies, she's a bit justified in her concern if this is their nobles' idea of combat outfitting.
Body Surf: After capturing the sun-shard, the Red Queen is able to use this to further her political schemes by possessing people who are wearing crystalline fragments of the sun-shard. After AuRon destroys her body and her (magically-grown replacements), the Red Queen uses this to possess Imfamnia.
Book Ends: The first book began with Auron as an egg in his clutch, in his home cave, with his family. The same book ends with AuRon in his new home cave, with his mate Natasatch, both looking over their clutch of eggs. The last scene in the final book takes a whopping 5 novels to cycle again, as Wistala and DharSii overlook their latest clutch of eggs in a new home cave, similar to AuRon and Natasatch.
Bus Crash: In Dragon Fate, Ayafeeia sends Yefkoa to seek Wistala's help. When Wistala arrives, she's simply informed Ayafeeia died during an ambush at a party.
In the same book, AuRon's old human friend Naf is briefly mentioned as having died of old age.
And in Dragon Champion, Auron says goodbye to Blackhard and the rest of the Dawn Roarers after Thing saves him from the Dragonblade. The next time the reader sees the pack, it's not even the same pack anymore, and Blackhard's grandson is leading it. But this is decades later anyway, and it's rare for a wolf to live past 14 years of age.
The Caligula: SiDrakkon who is somewhat this even before he takes the Tyrancy.
Chameleon Camouflage: A Grey dragon skin changes color to match whatever they're resting against. At one point AuRon notes that this ability is even detailed enough to match the strata of the cliff face he's clinging to.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Infamnia, again and again. The people she has betrayed or back-stabbed include all of the main cast, her current mate, and separate Empires, including her own. And betrays her mate again, after he thought to himself that she was too stupid to betray him. Then, it turns out that only the first betrayal was of her doing; although even then, Tighlia was the one who put her up to it. Everything else was the Red Queen's doing.
The Copper does this to His mother and sister in the egg cave and later on to His brother and sister when they work for him though he regrets the first one.
Rayg in his later years, helping overthrow both RuGaard and many citizens of the new Dragon Empire to gain the Dragon resources needed for his plans.
Infamnia and Rayg's tendency toward this is Exploited by AuRon, as they both prepare to execute them. He points out that after betraying so many, it's only logical that the both are now on the other's hit list. One pregnant pause later, they weakly affirm that they wouldn't betray one another, but all AuRon has to do is say "Watch out!" for them to attack each other.
Cloning Gambit: Through use of magic, the Red Queen was able to grow herself new bodies for her spirit to inhabit whenever her body was destroyed. AuRon destroys her method of doing this in Dragon Strike, which forces her to resort to possessing Imfamnia instead.
Continuity Nod: Events from different books, which are each from a different dragon's perspective, are mentioned in the other books
Cursed with Awesome: AuRon is a gray dragon, meaning that he lacks the scales that give dragons resistance against most weapons. However, his skin can also change colors, slowing him to blend in to his environment. Also, he can fly farther and swim better without scales weighing him down, and doesn't have to eat metal, allowing him to live far away from hominids.
Cycle of Revenge: A theme throughout the series, but especially highlighted in Dragon Avenger- Wistala eventually tries to end this as regards the Dragonblade line by making peace with the current one and his family, rather than take revenge on him for killing her father.
Cynicism Catalyst: RuGaard's attitude towards hominids sours after the dwarves he leads to his home cave betray the terms of their deal by killing his mother and sister, despite telling him that they would only be temporarily restrained while AuRon and Wistala were taken away.
Destructo-Nookie: Shadowcatch stays behind to delay Oustrelia when the siblings escape to the Sadda-Vale, waging a guerrilla war against her and her allies. One instance, she gets the jump on him, tackling him off a mountainside, and they mate. They part better terms afterward, and though they don't become mates, Oustrelia raises Shadowcatch's clutch.
Doomed Home Cave: The 3 (originally 4) siblings grew up in a cozy cave, although the Copper got the worst part of the deal. Of course, that home gets invaded and destroyed.
Dragon Hoard: An atypical variant: dragons hoard because they need metal to make scales.
Dragon Rider: A few somewhat nonstandard uses. The first encounter of them is the Wyrmasters' dragon riders, which are created by stealing eggs from their mothers and causing the hatchlings to imprint on humans, raising them to serve as dull-minded, obedient mounts. Later, the Lavadome dragons start a more traditional pairing of dragons and riders, but the dragons are very much the boss of the partnership.
The Dragons Come Back: RuGaard wants this to happen, and for dragons to return to the glory days of ruling over the hominid races. Slightly subverted in that dragons were never gone, but have been in a decline in numbers in recent millennia.
Several of the dragons of the Lavadome Imperial Line share characteristics with the cast of I, Claudius, both Tyr FeHazathant and Emperor Augustus are unaware that their wives - Tighlia and Livia, respectively - are plotting to ensure their own relatives ascend to the throne - Tighlia's brother SiDrakkon, and Livia's son Tiberius. end up being killed by their wives, who in turn end up being neglected by their relatives once they end up in power. A few years later, SiDrakkon and Tiberius - both depraved, and prone to wasting time pleasuring themselves - end up being murdered by their chosen successors; SiMevolant and Caligula, who are considered worse; to the point where they conduct an incestuous relationship with one of their sisters - Imfamnia and Drusilla. Ultimately, they are slain in a plot and succeeded by a crippled relative - RuGaard and Claudius - thought of a joke by the other members of the Imperial Family.
Evil Matriarch: Tighlia, being responsible for the deaths of Tyr FeHazathant's childen AgGriffopse and Enesea, and the banishment of DharSii and NiVom all so that her brother SiDrakkon would be able to become the next Tyr.
Fantastic Racism: Most humans and elves hate Dragons, dwarves are divided among those who hate them and those who see them as potentially useful. Dragons tend to see most other sentient races simply as food. There's also, in the first book, an increase of racism towards dwarves and elves by humans.
Faking the Dead: Possibly done by RuGaard at the end of Dragon Fate. AuRon seemingly witnesses him having his neck broken by a troll, but as Nilrasha leaves with his body, he is sure he sees him wink at him. In addition to this, they Never Found the Body, and stories later surface that both RuGaard and Nilrasha supposedly got away and started a family.
Finger-Licking Poison: Although it's not made clear exactly how SiDrakkon died, RuGaard later finds SiMevolant in possession of a poisoned weapon that resembles one of SiDrakkon's bath oil containers; suggesting he tricked him into using it.
Freudian Excuse: The Copper has one. His desire to enslave all hominids and have dragons become the dominant race probably comes from the torture and betrayal he suffered at the hands of some dwarves. He was tricked into thinking that Wistala and Auron would be taken away, and his mother and Jizara would live, but the dwarves had other ideas. The Copper inadvertently caused his parents' (and sister's) horrible deaths at the hands of the Wheel of Fire dwarves, the Dragonblade, and some elves who wanted to sell the hatchlings to the Wyrmmaster.
From Nobody to Nightmare: The Copper was ostracized from his family at early age and was considered a cripple and misfit by the Lavadome Dragons. By the end of his book, he's their leader, and has his sights set on conquering the world.
Generation Xerox: AuRon's daughter Istach is said to look like an older version of AuRon's dead sister Jizara, which even results in RuGaard momentarily mistaking her for Jizara when he first meets her.
Groin Attack: RuGaard wins a scuffle with his fellow members of the Drakwatch by inadvertently doing this.
Guile Hero: RuGaard has always been this, but his Crowning Moment comes when he smooth-talks his way out of his dwarven kidnappers (who mistrust all dragons, since it was Wistala herself who decimated their clan), hires them later, and relies on them in the final battle.
Half-Dragon Hybrids: Consumption of dragon blood will give the drinkers dragon's power, and eventually dragon-like characteristics such as obvious scales, bony ridges, and higher intelligence in the case of animals like bats and mice. The Dragons exploit this heavily, as selling bottled blood is a major source of income for their Empire.
Taken even further in the last book, since the Red Queen (in Infamnia's body) has been secretly killing and harvesting dragons for decades to create an army of hybridized de-men and trolls to conquer the Dragon's Empire.
Humans Are Special: Humans obviously aren't the focus of the series, but they've created many game-changing inventions and new, powerful empires in a matter of years, while the other species seem to be stuck in Medieval Stasis. One dwarf had this to say:
Dwarf: [Dragonkind], elven, and dwarven kind are alike. Since the dawn of time, we've stood on pillars, looking down into the humans laboring in the dirt. But the humans, they've just been laying the foundations of a pyramid, and each generation adds a little more until one day, they will look down at us.
Ill Dragonelle: Halaflora was born with several developmental disorders. Her skin is a little too tight, her complexion is a little too thin, and her hearts are a little too weak. Because of her... undesirability, she was married off to RuGaard and sent to live in some backwater Protectorate to keep them both out of political affairs, but they come to care for each other anyway. And then she dies (or so Nilrasha claims) by choking on a haunch of meat.
The Infiltration: AuRon, on the Isle of Ice. Also Wistala with the Wheel of Fire.
Likes Older Dragons: At the end of the fifth book, Wistala falls for DharSii, who is at least 150 years her senior.
Life or Limb Decision: Twice. AuRon rips off most of his tail after Starlight bites the end of it, to prevent the lethal venom from killing him. Later, in Dragon Strike, Nilrasha chews off her own wings, pinned under rubble, to prevent being executed while helpless. Ouch.
Mad Doctor: Rayg, briefly, after his Face-Heel Turn. His practice consisted of permanently crippling and lobotomizing several dragons.
Meaningful Rename: DharSii did this for himself after leaving the Lavadome. His original name is never revealed.
Mercy Kill: In the first book, after many long years of travel, Au Ron finally returns to the dwarven Delvings, as he promised his good friend Djer he would. Sadly, the Delvings have been ravaged by dragon attacks, and Djer got a faceful of dragon-flame while saving another dwarf. Au Ron finds him lying in a cave with all the other soldiers injured in battle, only that Djer's burns literally cover his entire face, even burning his lungs. He asks Au Ron to end his life, to spare him the agonized death of wound infection. Au Ron is hesitant at first, but goes through with it, crushing Djer's skull, and then demanding a proper burial for his lost friend.
Nilrasha and RuGaard go missing at the end of Dragon Fate and are thought to have died, but a group of blighters later claim to have helped a dragon pair resembling them escape to a safe location.
No Name Given: Because he lost the egg shelf fight, the Copper receives no name from his parents, as an outcast. Though he's later given the name RuGaard by another dragon, he's referred to as 'the Copper' in the narration until the final book.
No Pronunciation Guide: The pronunciation of AuRon is known, thanks to a note at the beginning of Dragon Champion, which also tells us that adult male dragons have their name's emphasis on the second syllable, and Natasatch sounds like "not as such" as shown in the scene where AuRon meets her. However, there is no pronunciation given for anything else, and this in a series that contains names like Aethleethia, OuThroth, and NoFhyriticus, and words like "tchatlassat", "foua", and "haspadalanesh".
Not Hyperbole: The Red Queen once said she was far too busy to die. She wasn't lying, even decades after her apparent death.
The Obi-Wan: NooMoakh for AuRon and Rainfall for Wistala.
One Steve Limit: Averted, as male dragons usually share the first few letters of their name with their father.
Our Dragons Are Different: In many ways they are the standard Western variety: they're big, don't like hominids, like treasure, etc. But they have no wings until they're about fifteen to twenty years old, can only breathe a limited amount of fire at a time, eat their hoards because it strengthens their scales, and are generally treated as something more like actual living creatures, rather than impossibly strong magical constructs.
Our Demons Are Different: Called "demans" they're not supernatural in origin or particularly evil, just another humanoid race, with horns and spines down their back who live underground.
Our Orcs Are Different: called blighters according to dragon legend they were the fist sentient race. In fact dragons were supposedly created to keep them from overrunning the world. once they had a high level civilization but are now just squabbling tribes who often fill the Mook slot.
A lot of Dragons hold this view, sometimes gobbling up thralls who've displeased them and attacking nations who refuse to pay ungodly amounts of tribute. Other characters call them out for this, but only Wistala, being raised with hominids on her heart, seems to care.
Protectorate: This is what Tyr RuGaard's dragon empire is called, with a family of dragons overseeing a "state". In reality, it's more often a dragon setting up shop in the local government building, demanding tribute, and boasting of their possesions to attract a mate.
Questionable Consent: In payment for sheltering the Exiles from the Dragon Empire, Scabia demands that Wistala be impregnated by her son-in-law NaStirath and give the eggs to his mate Aethleethia to raise as her own. She reluctantly agrees, and only avoids it when NaStirath sends Wistala's Love Interest DharSii instead. They still had to hand over the eggs, though.
Rashomon Style: The opening chapters of the first three books all relate the lives of the main characters from hatching onward, which means that the time the three spent in the egg cave is covered separately by all three characters. Young Auron is seen in a less and less sympathetic light each time, and Jizara's character is expanded more. AuRel and Irelia also almost seem like different dragons depending on the narrator.
Really Gets Around: Imfamnia. First she's betrothed to NiVom - although this arrangement ends when she and Tighlia frame NiVom for assault - then she becomes the mate of SiDrakkon - her great-uncle by marriage - and after his death she becomes the mate of SiMevolant - her brother. After SiMevolant's fall from power forces her to flee the Lavadome, the other dragons begin calling her "the Jade Queen" - "Jade" being the draconic slang term for "mistress".
Scars Are Forever: The Copper has been crippled for life due to the plethora of injuries he's sustained, barely able to walk, half blind, mostly fireless, and unable to fly without assistance. Used to a lesser extent with AuRon, who lost a tail and has a stiff replacement. Meanwhile, Nilrasha and NoSohoth have lost their wings, meaning they can't fly either.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: After Infamia and Rayg both boast their victory to an immobilized AuRon, he points out that each of them would likely betray the other in short order. They actually stop their laughter, and all it takes is a shout as Rayg goes in to finish him for them to erupt into conflict.
Self-Made Orphan: The Copper, if indirectly. Whatever his intentions, he did knowingly lead assassins to his home cave.
Can be subverted due to the fact his parents pretty much left him to die.
Sequel Non-Entity: AuMoahk, who abruptly vanishes from the story following the end of Dragon Rule. The ending of Dragon Fate hints that he may have died, although it doesn't specify how or when.
Series Continuity Error: A few in the later books; a particularly glaring example of which is SiDrakkon getting mixed up with his successor SiMevolant. Not only do several dragons attribute SiDrakkon's lusts to SiMevolant, but Imfamnia herself seems to forget that she was mated to SiDrakkon before SiMevolant. Of course, since Imfamnia was being possessed by the Red Queen at this point, this could be a case of the Red Queen not doing the research...
Stuffed into the Fridge: Some time after the attack on their home cave by dwarves, Wistala returns inside and finds the bodies of her mother and sister; sans heads, skin and limbs, which have been removed to be resold. Towards the end of the same book, Wistala meets the same dwarves and finds that they build war machines that launch fire through a dragon head mounted on the front; Wistala quickly recognises the heads of her father, mother and sister amongst them.
Switching P.O.V.: The latter three books rotate between Wistala's, AuRon's and the Copper's points of view.
The Mistress: RuGaard's Love Interest Nilrasha wanted to be his "jade" after his Arranged Marriage to Halaflora. Apparently he was the only one who took his Mating Flight seriously; everyone else (including Halaflora) assumed they were secretly together.
The Power of Blood: Dragon blood has valuable alchemical properties, able to invigorate drinkers while also fetching a pretty coin. Sustained drinking cause biological shifts resulting in more draconic features.
The Starscream: Silverstar but he got killed before he could put his plot into action.
Infamnia and Rayg, enough that they end up betraying each other after both betraying NiVom.
The Unfavourite: Male, living losers of the egg shelf fight, or 'outcasts'. Most notably the Copper.
Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Jizara is revealed to be this somewhat in Dragon Outcast. She is the only one of the siblings (or their parents) to sympathize with the Copper or even remotely treat him well; part of the reason she died is that she was waiting for the Copper to escape with her, Auron, and Wistala.
The Unfought: King Gan looks like he's shaping up to be the big bad of the hatchling part of Dragon Outcast, but the Copper only has a brief fight with him one day and later simply leaves the cave.
Utopia Justifies the Means: Wyrmmaster and Tyr RuGaard again. (Of course, RuGaard's utopia is only for dragons, and he doesn't consider it a sacrifice to subjugate and kill humanoids, so it's debatable.)
We Used to Be Friends: RuGaard and NiVom, as a result of RuGaard being made Tyr at the end of Dragon Outcast.
What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out if Nilrasha really did or didn't kill Halaflora, but Nilrasha herself said that she let her choke to death, even when she knew a technique to save dragons in that exact situation.
We have an offhand mention that Rhea passed away in the penultimate book, which is further reinforced by the fact that even Rayg is an old man by then, but all we know about Rayg's wife and children is that they were sent "somewhere safe."
AuMoahk, AuRon's gold son, doesn't appear in Dragon Fate, while his brother gets an expanded role compared to the previous books. However, since the final chapter of the book makes reference to AuRon and his "surviving family", it could suggest that he was killed at some point; perhaps as a result of the Red Queen and Rayg's final move against dragonkind.
Where I Was Born and Razed: Somewhat, as the Copper is quick to lead angry dwarves back to his home keep. Somewhat forgivable, as his family had all but ostracized him at that point simply for existing.
You Just Told Me: Averted. The Wyrnmaster calls AuRon by his real name while he is is under a false identity, but he catches himself.