Favorite Quote: “You suggest we throw humans at them instead of rocks?”
Reviewed by Tori
We left Dragon Spawn after the Lupi children’s’ kidnapping was arranged by the dragon spawn in return for a promised favor from the Great Bitch. She wants to use Lily’s body and in her attempts to take over the world. Lily and Rule are separated when the mission to rescue the children falls apart in a terrific battle and Gan’s attempts to save them, results in Lily, Rule, Madama Lu, and Cynna being pulled through a gate from Dis (the demon realm) into another realm. Lucky for us, Wilkes recaps all this in the beginning.
Dragon Blood picks up with Lily being discovered and taken to Long Jia, the capital of the dragonhome , as a prisoner of the dragon spawns while Rule, Madame Lu, and Gan end up approximately 100 plus miles away with Rule badly injured. Lily is jailed and is shocked but pleased to see Cynna is a prisoner too. She also meets Helen Whiteheads’ twin sister-Alice-whose own motives remain circumspect. Lily soon learns of her captor’s plans regarding herself and the children which pushes her to plan an escape. The more she learns about her captors and the world around her, the more she understands the myriad of different forces at work. The battle to save the earth from the Great Bitch is on.
Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi series was one of my gateway series into urban fantasy and I devoured the first book in the series-Tempting Danger with a vengeance. I’ve enjoyed this serious and dark urban fantasy because of its strong female character driven cast and story arc. We first meet our protagonists- Lily Yu and Rule Turner –Tempting Danger. A pragmatic human cop and a worldly Lupi prince whose destiny is tied together as the Chosen through they don’t know that until it’s too late.
As the series progresses, so does the evolution of Lily and Rule as individuals and as a couple. We watch as Lily deals with a mating bond to a man unknown for his monogamy, respective dismay from both families, and her deep submersion into magic. Lily and Rule are flip sides of a coin and both have had to adjust, coincide, and find common ground in their continuously evolving love affair. Wilks does a fantastic job of creating pockets of realism in this fantasy world as she balances all her characters’ various different relationships with the ever-expanding world and paranormal plotlines.
Told from two viewpoints-Lily Yu and her grandmother-Madame Yu, this storyline is extremely convoluted and overflowing with information so you really have to be up to date on this particular arc to understand everything going on. Set in what I presume to be a historical and alternative version of China, Wilks stays centered here as she sets out to bring us up to speed on the Great Bitch story arc while giving us more background on the dragon spawns existence and the many facets of Lily’s grandmother.
Some readers may bemoan the lack of movement in the arc and the sheer amount of filler used in here. I myself was left less enchanted with this particular installment. Frankly, the Great Bitch storyline should have been resolved already but Wilks keeps adding to it, bringing more confusion and unnecessary drama. The elaborate exposition of mundane scenes, randomly inserted plotlines, certain additions that added nothing to the story, and the glaring usage of the children as plot moppets was a disappointment and led me to skim the book at times. Extremely verbose and particular, the story trudges along as Wilks falls into various rabbit holes as she philosophizes on magical theory, social constructs, various emotional states, and alternative world history.
While I was disappointed to see Lily and Rule separated, the subplot regarding Madame Yu was certainly eye-opening and fun to watch. She’s always been a bit of a wild card in the series and I enjoyed the in-depth characterization and certain reveals that should prove to be VERY interesting in the future. I was amazed though that nobody seemed all that shocked by some of the things she was able to do. An interesting cast of new characters is introduced while Wilks revisits a few familiar long-term faces. They all help to amp up the story’s energy and break up the sometimes monotonous narrative.
Around the 65% mark, the story picks up speed and begins to tighten up in preparation for a climactic ending. The humor, action, and suspense I had been waiting for suddenly appeared. Some shocking secrets and manipulative twists are revealed that left me side-eyeing the book while laughing softly to myself. I give Wilks props for going there.
While this particular installment was not a favorite, I will continue to recommend Eileen Wilks’ The World Of The Lupi series to readers who enjoy action-packed, suspenseful Urban Fantasy brimming with charismatic characters, strong female leads, intriguing storylines, and viable relationships. I do suggest starting from the beginning because this is a continuous evolving arc that picks up where it leaves off in each book. I really hope book fifteen, title and release TBA, keep us Earthbound with more Lupi/Dragon involvement and a firm ending to this story arc.