Dragonsworn – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #26

Pages: 336

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There is nothing in the universe the cursed dragon, Falcyn, hates more than humanity . . . and in particular, Greek humans. In a war he wanted no part of, they systematically destroyed everything he’d ever cared for. Now he lies in seclusion, away from the world and waits for the day when evolution will finally rid him of the human vermin.

Medea was born the granddaughter of the Greek god Apollo, and among the first of his people that he cursed to die. But she will not let anyone rule her life. Not even her notorious grandfather. And when Apollo sends a new plague to destroy what remains of her people, she refuses to standby and watch him take everything she loves from her again.

This time, she knows of a secret weapon that can stop the ancient god and his army of demons. Once and for all. However, said device is in the hands of a dragon who wants nothing to do with politics, the gods, humanity, demons or Greek Apollites. And especially not her. He is the immovable object.

My enemy’s enemy . . .

When Apollo makes a strategic move that backfires, he forces Falcyn back into play. Now Medea either has the weapon she needs to save her people, or she’s unleashed total Armageddon. If she can’t find some way to control the dragon before it’s too late, Falcyn will be an even worse plague on the world than the one Apollo has set loose. But how can anyone control a demonic dragon whose sole birthright is total destruction?

It’s no secret that I thought that Dragonmark (the previous book) was a very weak reading. It scared the hell out of me, because it looked like Sherrilyn Kenyon was running out of ideas. To my relief, Dragonsworn is a much better book that erases some of the fears I had after reading Illarion’s no-book.

This time we follow the story of Falcyn, a dragon brother of Max and Illarion, and Medea, the daugther of the Daimon leaders. As we already knew, Apollo is a vengeful god who want to get rid of the Daimons making them fatally sick. Medea is looking for help and, thanks to her brother Urian, she learns about the curative capacities of a dragonstone. Too bad Falcyn’s stone is also craved by Morgen, one of the big bad wolfs of the Dark-Hunter Universe.

Even though I consider this book a leap forward from the previous one, it lacks emotion and good action. But that is just the consequence of making the good guys a bit more powerful in every book. By the 26th the main characters are gods with the ability to command armies of unbeatable demons or capable of snapping their fingers to solve their problems in a fast way (Thanos would be a mere novice among these guys!!). That means there is not really action, just a face-off to show who can muster more power without getting their hair undone. And even though everything seems a bit too easy, that doesn’t mean the pace is boring. On the contrary. One of the strengths of this book is the fast paced rhythm.

Another thing that is getting too old too fast is the multiple dimension hopping. Parallel dimensions are cool and all, but the last books in the Dark-Hunter saga and the Chronicles of Nick series have been an orgy of dimensional jumping that would give any reader a good headache in order no to get lost. I tend to feel more connected with the story in the books where most of the action takes place in our beloved mortal plane of Earth. But I must also confess that the thing I love most about Kenyon is her skill to bring the craziest elements to her stories and that sometimes means a lot of dimension hopping gathering the cream of the crop of the supernatural realms.

In my opinion, the main course of this book are the characters. And I don’t mean just Falcyn and Medea, which are OK, I mean all the rest. And being this a Dark-Hunter book, I would need about eight hands to count them all. In other books that could be a synonym of a disaster, but in a Dark-Hunter book it only means endless banter. That’s the main reason her characters are always so easy to fall in love with. They make the reader feel like one of them when they are gather in a group, no matter if big or small. No idea if that makes any sense, but it is how I feel.

The author even has time to drop a huge bomb for Urian (metaphorically speaking, of course, the former Daimon is quite well physically). I won’t reveal it over here, but I guess that what we are told will play a huge role in the next book, which is Urian’s book. I will try to read that one next month to be up-to-date with the main saga, so I can start thinking about the other series of Paranormal Romance I have started and abandoned…

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2019 – Book Gallery

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Dragonmark – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #25

Pages: 344

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Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed– a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost— to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone– to see the entire world burn…

Twenty-five main books is a really big number and Kenyon is not stopping anytime soon. But so many books and so many on-going sagas are paying a toll. The price has been paid with Dragonmark, one of the weakest Dark-Hunter books I have ever read

This story is supposedly to be Illarion’s book (more on that later). He is one of the oldest dragons, a solitary creature until he met Edilyn, a human daughter of a demon. As it is very common with shapesifters, Illarion knew she was her mate. This book tries to tell the love story between the two of them…

I say try, because the plot of the book is developed in a pretty wierd fashion. We start in the past, with Illarion meeting Edilyn and her brother Virag. They fall in love and, as any normal couple, go to a demonic realm to fight The Morrigan. It goes pretty bad, pretty fast… Edilyn dies behind the scenes. One chapter she was there, the next she wasn’t. The book had barely begun and, suddenly, Illarion’s book mutates into Cadegan’s book (again!!). A huge chunk of this book is a retelling of Son of No One, where Illarion is mere supporting character.

But the travesty doesn’t end there. Illarion is rescued from the demonic plane and the plot travels to the present. I could barely believe what happened then… Kenyon retells us Max’s book, Dragonbane!! That was the previous one… I don’t have a great memory, but it is not so bad!! Almost 80% of Illarion’s book is not about Illarion. I think this story was just meant to fill some contractual obligation with the editorial, because I don’t understand why the author would do something like this on purpose. I hope this doesn’t happen again…

Is Illarion’s short story any good? The part in the past is pretty basic. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl’s jerk of a brother steals from boy and all hell is set loose… It looked pretty interesting, actually. Virag (the brother) is a nice character that I want to meet again in the future. After the huge retellings, Illarion takes again the spotlight. If you remember, in Max’s book he joins Apollo’s gang to save his mate (yes, she didn’t really die). What happens after that is very short, but good; so, overall, the story is decent. The final revelation is SOOO sweet. I’m savouring it!!

Kenyon is lucky to have such an amazing (and huge) cast of characters. Thanks to them, even a poor book like this one can be enjoyable. Any other author would have got a strike on my chart, but I can’t really be that tough with her. I like her books too much. Let’s hope the next one makes me forget this book (another way to say I don’t want more retellings!!).

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2018 – Book Gallery

The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie

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Author: Joe Abercrombie
Series: The First Law #1

Pages: 517

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Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult.

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

I enjoy reading Epic Fantasy, but lately I was hitting really slow paced and boring books in that genre. I was recommended to take a look at The First Law saga. The promise was really good characters. If there si something I love about a book is special characters that I will remember for a long time. Joe Abercrombie delivers a bunch of them that has made the reading of the first book a truly great experience.

This book is basically a big character presentation. We have Logen, the warrior from the North with too many enemies and few friends. Jezal, the arrogant swordman who wants as much as possible with as much little effort as possible. Glokta, the cripple who wants to show that he is still very capable of great things. Ferro, the “dagger-happy” woman from a dangerous land. And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, a great magic user with a quest in mind: gathering all the others to embark for a dangerous mission.

Even though the book is in the thicker side, there is not much story development. It’s just the first stones for a good looking foundation. We have several side stories, being the main ones Glokta’s investigations and Jezal’s Contest for best swordman of the Union. Both of them very enjoyable and fun to read. When those threads end, the story is all about getting them together to meet each other. Beyond that, the rest are just glances to the political situation of the Union’s neighbours: the war against Bethod in the North, the brewing trouble with Gurkhul, the unstable situation in the Old Empire… I bet those stories will get a much more relevant role in the next books.

This book is not meant to hook you up with the story. The story is also good, don’t get me wrong; but the main asset of this first part are the characters. I have loved their company most of the time. Maybe the weakest link in that aspect is Ferro, but she doesn’t have as many chapters as the rest of them. Logen has made my blood very cold. He seemed such a good-hearted guy… but in the end… when he becomes the Bloody-Nine for a brief moment… I’m still digesting it!! Glokta is grumpy, but it’s obvious he is a good guy. At first I wanted to see him fail his tasks, but little by little has grown on me and now I’m worried about his new assignment.

My favourite is Jezal. Since the first moment I met him, I knew he was my kind of character! Arrogant, too sure of himself; but more often than not he is proven a fool. Gladly for him, his luck knows no bounds, which makes his ego a really fat creature. I love his biased look at everything that happens to him. I’m going to enjoy so much when he is thrown from the high horse he is riding… Of all the members of Bayaz’s crew, Jezal’s part is the most unclear. Why do they need him? His only skill is just fencing and we know he is not the best at it… Too bad no one has told Jezal about it!! Some of my favourite scenes with him are: the self-worship in front of the mirror, his ego burst during the final match of the Contest when Bayaz was buffing him, his kind of cute declaration of love and everytime he throws a tantrum behaving like a spoiled kid.

We don’t have many details about Bayaz’s quest. I guess that is going to be the main course of the next book. It looks interesting with such strange band of heroes. The worst part of my devotion towards them is that, if some of them die, I’m not going to recover any time soon.

So, yeah, I love the book! I can’t wait to read the next one, so I will try to grab it before the end of the year. That date is approaching fast, so I don’t know if I will make it.

 

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2018 – Book Gallery

Dragonbane – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #24

Pages: 320

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Out of all the mysterious boarders who call Sanctuary home, no one is more antisocial or withdrawn than Maxis Drago. But then, it’s hard to blend in with the modern world when you have a fifty foot wingspan.

Centuries ago, he was cursed by an enemy who swore to see him fall. An enemy who took everything from him and left him forever secluded.

But Fate is a bitch, with a wicked sense of humor. And when she throws old enemies together and threatens the wife he thought had died centuries ago, he comes back with a vengeance. Modern day New Orleans has become a battleground for the oldest of evils. And two dragons will hold the line, or go down in flames.

This is book 24 of the Dark-Hunter saga. 24!! And I’m not even up-to-date. This month, the 27th will be published. Some people may be tired of Kenyon’s crazy world, but I love it even more now that it has got so big. My intention was to catch up with this saga before the new release, but I have to be honest with myself and drop the dream. I like to mix my books to make the hobby more fun. I will catch up, of course, but I’m not in a hurry.

This book is the book of Maxis, the weredragon that has been living in Sanctuary for a long time. He was betrayed by his mate and left her. The dragon thought she was dead, but suddenly appears in Sanctuary looking for him. Unfortunately, she wasn’t alone. Her queen Nala is with her, a long time enemy of Maxis. Even though he thought Seraphine hated him, she doesn’t tell her queen that her mate is close. Everyone leaves except Sera and the make-up ride begins.

The story is rather simple. What is complex is the world that Kenyon has been building over the years, so there are a lot of pieces all over the table. Keeping track of everything could be daunting, but the author does her best to make the book easier for the reader. The cast is so big, that a big chunk of the book is just to introduce one character to another and build the relationship among them. If there is something I love about Kenyon’s style is her sense of humor and outstanding banter in the dialogs. That makes the reading such a wonderful experience. It’s like a Christmas dinner with a family (a rather huge one). It doesn’t matter how long you have been away… you are always welcome!!

That is why I can forigive Sherrilyn almost everything. I can even forgive that this book is a bit… lazy. Several times, she builds tension around a situation and then it ends abruptly: the rescue of Max’s children, the recovery of the Emerald Tablet, the escape of Sera and Max after the accidental stabbing… All those situations seemed pretty huge and dangerous, but they are resolved “behind the scenes”. As a reader, that left me a sour aftertaste. I wanted a big fight against the demons, but I guess that wasn’t in Kenyon’s plans. I was expecting more for those moments, so I’m a bit disappointed by them.

As always, the best part of the book are the characters. It’s obviously that she loves creating new pawns for her world and Im glad for it. In this case, Hadyn (Max’s son) is my favourite addition. I have no idea if she plans to make a book for him, but I hope there is one in the future!! Yeah, I have a weird crush even though we barely know him!!

My favourite moment of the book: the reunion between Nick and Acheron. It’s not a proper meeting, but they get to be in the same room and they behave!! They even exchange a few words!! As a huge fan of Ash and Nick, I am relieved to see that their friendship is not as dead as it seemed. Or maybe it was just that the situation called for adults and not kids throwing tantrums. Nah, I prefer the optimistic explanation. If there is something I have a huge respect for in the Dark-Hunter books is the optimism. It doesn’t matter if everything looks lost, there is always a light that the heroes can follow to triumph.

Obviously, they are going to need that light to face the Apollo and Kessar situation. Is there going to be a bloody conflict or will be resolved easily as the situations in this book? I’ll know the answer with the next one, which I plan to read this year if everything goes as planned.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Cloaked in Shadow – Ben Alderson

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Author: Ben Alderson
Series: The Dragori #1
Pages: 350

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Zacriah Trovirn is concerned with two things in life: hunting and dodging Petrer, the boy who broke his heart.

Heartbreak becomes a distant concern when Zacriah is taken to the Elven capital of Thessolina, where he is forced into King Dalior’s new legion of shapeshifters. But Zacriah isn’t a shapeshifter. In truth, he doesn’t know what he is.

Zacriah joins forces with new friends and they soon find themselves embroiled in a clash between the three Elven continents. With war looming on the horizon, Zacriah must learn to use his latent power to fight and protect those he loves before they are destroyed.

After reading several good reviews about this book, I decided to give it a chance. It seems that Ben Alderson is kind of famous as a book reviewer in the United Kingdom, but beyond that country he is unknown. That has never stopped me before, so this time wasn’t different. Just becuase I don’t know who he is, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read his books. It sounds crazy, but I have been told that no long ago… Besides, it’s Epic Fantasy with an M/M couple. What else could I ask for? Actually, there are several things the book is lacking…

This book tells us the story of Zac, an elf who is keepig his air magic a secret. He, among many others, is invited to the capital to celebrate Prince Hadrian birthday. The food of that party was laced with a poison that doesn’t affect shifters, so the King can separate them from the rest. Zac is not a shifter, but his secret magic keep him from falling asleep as the rest of normal elves. The shifters are told that they have been chosen to become soldiers, because the kingdom is being attack by ruthless enemies. They are promised gold for their families, so Zac decides to remain silent and pretend he is a shifter. Quite a difficult task if you ask me. Of course, the very first day they are asked to shift into their animal persona to sort them by strength. When our main character is order to change, he refuses (duh!) and is sent to Prince Hadrian office.

There begins the main chunk of the book: the romance between Hadrian and Zac. There is much more romance in this story than in other Epic Fantasy books I have read, so maybe it won’t be your cup of tea if you are not a fan of that genre. It’s not heavy romance, but its presence is almost constant during the whole book. Hadrian and Zac team-up to unravel the mystery behind the enemy attacks, which are not what they seem. Obviously, they get to know each other and fall in love fast.

Being honest, that is exactly what I like the least about this book. There is zero chemistry among the two of them. The main culprit is Hadrian, a character that is pretty… boring. The author tries too hard to make him the perfect gentleman in shiny armor, but he lacks charisma everywhere. Besides, the Prince is the main reason that Zac’s life is in danger. Am I the only one that remembers the dreadful duel was Hadrian’s idea? The same duel that ruins Zac’s life forever? Because, Zac seems to have forgotten that part… Maybe I’m not being fair with the Prince. When I don’t like a character I can be too hard on them.

If you have read the blurb, you know there is a third name in the mix: Petrer. Now, this is the part that rubs me the wrong way. When we first meet that character, he is lovely. A bit cocky, but clearly worried about Zac’s well-being. Zac tries to ignore him, but we don’t get to know why until much later. Yes, Petrer cheated on him and that’s bad; but his behaviour didn’t match with a common cheater. There had to be something more about it. The problem: Hadrian. The author is so focused on making him the perfect guy, that everyone else has to be a bunch of jerks. In just a couple of sentences, Petrer changes from a caring person to a ridiculously cruel one. I liked that character a lot. What Ben does with him is totally unfair. I hope this character is redeemed in the following books, because is much more interesting than the boring Prince.

As you can see, this review is about the romance part. I have no issue about the epic fantasy part, except that it’s maybe too short. The author has established a nice world and the war that is brewing looks interesting enough, so I’ll pick the next book. Finger crossed for a nice fourth Dragori.

It’s a good start for a newbie. The story is ok, but the storytelling is kind of sloppy sometimes. It doesn’t fluid naturally. There are too many bursts of action instead of a regular dosis. All in all, enjoyable and a nice first step.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Guardian’s Bond – Rhenna Morgan

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Author: Rhenna Morgan
Series: Ancient Ink #1
Pages: 393

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For decades, he’s been alone.
Now, she’s here. His fated mate.
His to win. To protect.
To provide for and pleasure.

Priest Rahandras has lived with the darkness trapped inside himself for years. Betrayed by his own brother and forced to watch his clan’s brutal annihilation, the only thing Priest wants more than to escape the curse that haunts him—as both man and beast—is to rebuild.

Until the mate he’s longed for walks into his life with an elder from his past. She’s everything he’s wished for, and the key to the clan’s very survival.

Kateri Falsen is a woman of logic and facts. While Priest’s cat can sense her arousal, telling her they’re fated won’t be enough. He’ll have to show her his love: with his words, with his actions, and with his body.

Protecting Kateri from the evil trapped inside him is paramount. But when lost clan members are systematically murdered, he’ll have to choose between exposing his mate to his black magic, or risking her as the next victim.

My first Romance book was a paranormal one. The Paranormal Romance subgenre will always have a special place in my shelves, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to like anything that is out there. This book is the perfect example of things I do not like. I actually feel a bit robbed after finishing it… Truth be told, I’m not a fan of shifters. They are usually the kind of alpha I dislike… and Priest, the main character of this book, is the poster boy of that :(. But I can always be surprised, so I picked it to see how right or wrong I was.

This book is about the lonely Priest, the fierce alpha and high priest of a clan of shifters. Alone until he meets Kateri, his fated mate. Yes, this book doesn’t ignore the classic ultimate love by fate. Actually, the book is only about that… There are mentions of a plot about finding the clan primos, that are being killed one by one by Priest’s evil brother; but nothing major in the book. Like 5 pages or so… Yes, I know… the blurb makes you think that part is going to be a big chunk of the book. But not at all. Very, VERY disappointing.

I could have forgiven that fact if the romance part would have been better. Or good. Or decent. But it’s pretty boring and made me uneasy now and then. The book didn’t took the right path from the very beginning. As soon as Priest meets Kateri, he grabbed her and tried to kiss her. No “Hello” or “Good morning” or “How are you?”… nothing polite. Pure possession. Being the shifter a total stranger, I can only applaud Alek (Kateri’s brother) for his behaviour. He removes his sister from the man without any concept of boundaries or any kind of respect towards Kateri. I thought that was the normal thing to do when facing something like that, but the author wants us to believe that Alek was a jerk and his actions were crazy… Really??? So annoying!!

But, of course, being Priest the hero he gets the lady pretty fast. Much faster than I would like. The so-called love between them is totally unrealistic and I’m haveing a very hard time believing it. I don’t believe it at all, actually. That is bad, but it’s not horrible. Horrible are some comments Priest does along the way. Moments before having sex with Kateri, they are discussing about using contraceptives. The shifters explains that their kind cannot get any disease (no problem with that), but his mate doesn’t want to get pregnant. In that moment Priest laughs and bluntly tells her that the decission of having offspring would be taken by him. A totally unilateral decission. What the F**K?? I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I couldn’t believe that Kateri didn’t say anything or tried to get away!! I know Rhenna wanted to create the ultimate dominant alpha, but she goes too far… The whole deal is so upsetting :(.

So, almost no story and the main characters are the worst. Not a good mixed… not at all. Too bad, because I think the author does something great with this book. Even more than great. I actually loved how she has reimagined all the lore of shifters adding a lot of magic. The soul quest. The animal companion being granted by a mystical being. That animal companion is not genetic, so a wolf and a tiger can have a hawk son. It’s wild. And I love it. The four houses (warrior, seer, healer and sorcerer) are also a nice touch. An amazing setting for a really crappy story.

I don’t know if I’m going to read the next book. I guess I will give this saga another chance if I have time. I just hope with all my heart that Tate is nowhere close to Priest. Otherwise, I’m afraid it was going to be the same annoying alpha all over again.