Touch of Ice by Mary Auclair
Dawn of Dragons, #1
January 18, 2018
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: A dragon’s heart can see what a man’s eyes cannot.
Mix genetic compatibility testing, mating contracts and an alien invasion complete with dragons and the high lords that blood bond and ride them and you get a new paranormal world with impressive potential. Mary Auclair is a new to me author with three new series recently published. Dawn of the Dragon’s is her newest offering and with it she tosses her hat in the bloated and over crowded sci-fi/paranormal romance ring, and the result is an overall success.
Its the future and humans have trashed the Earth, themselves and the imploding planet on the brink of total destruction is invaded and saved by the alien force, the Delradon and their Draekon Lords and dragons. Fertility among the Delradon is low, and they begin testing humans for compatibility once they reach adulthood. Human women aren’t forced to procreate, they come forward to sign mating agreements of their own volition, highly motivated by the huge profit they stand to make despite a pair of dangers. First, they must survive the birth, as carrying the child of a Delradon/Draekon Lord is dangerous and human women often die of toxicity poisoning. The other major threat? An anti-interracial mating alien purity faction, hell bent on slaughtering the half breed children and their human parents.
Touch of Ice is a dual POV adventure and features human, single mother, Endora (Dora) desperate to save her young daughter who has been stricken with an illness, suspected leukemia and the only hope of a cure to save her life is an exorbitantly expensive treatment and the only way she could ever hope to afford it as a lowly, poor human, is to play her only gambit, coming forward to agree to have a baby with her mating match, the remotely ice cold, Lord Aldric.
Aldric was my fav POV. He was alpha and growly, but also emotionally damaged from his own childhood trauma. Having a child is one of his greatest desires and his need for Dora only intensifies once he discovers she is not only his genetic match – but also his soul mate, capable of tying her life to his and that of his dragon. Dora is attracted to the stoic lord, but her heart is home with her daughter Tallie, and she can’t help but yearn to get home or at the very least, get her newfound wealth to her daughter for her life saving treatment. Aldric initially misreads Dora’s pleading to return home ASAP to see her family for a desire to reconnect with a previous lover and his protective and jealous instincts kick into overdrive.
Your safety is of paramount importance. There will be no contact with the world outside the castle until the contract is fulfilled.”
“There are people I needed to talk to before leaving,” Endora pleaded, all traces of bravery gone from her face.
“Please, allow me to contact them, if only once.”
Could she be talking about her human lover? The thought, as appalling as it was, shouldn’t be surprising. Some human women who entered a mating contract had a lover waiting for them after their obligation was fulfilled. Aldric stared at the woman who had signed herself off to him. A burning sensation flamed low in his guts at the idea of another man waiting for her, waiting to touch her. He was taken aback by the fierceness of the jealousy that gripped him, and he had to refrain from growling at her. “It is impossible.” He shook his head, controlling the level of his voice as he spoke. “Under no circumstances are you to disobey those orders.”
“I need to say goodbye.” She moved quickly, climbing the first two steps toward him, her voice dangerously close to breaking. “It’s important.”
Dora was problematic for me on several fronts, first, I did not like her initial dishonesty. Her early falsehood lasted far longer than I would have liked and when all cards were on the table, it all proved for naught. Besides her dishonesty, I really didn’t like how she thought of the child she would have for Aldric as one that she could leave behind, the sole purpose for it’s birth to provide the finances to save her first child. The mommy in me gave major side eye and judgey condemnation when it came to Dora’s attitude toward her potential unborn child. Once the truth was out in the open, Dora got her act together, for the most part, but then during the climax, when it freaking counted, she goes full throttle bonehead and makes a series of decisions that put everyone in peril. And I don’t mean, oh she had a difficult choice to make, oh no, the choice was easy! Clear and present danger was at her doorstep and Dora caused near irreparable harm with her foolhardiness. I was a little disappointed the author didn’t formulate some other way for the events to unfold that didn’t involve Dora being dense and short sighted .
Aldric was a treat, honest in his conflicting wants and not so much the alpha that he couldn’t take and respect good counsel. Supporting characters were strong and the dragons (oh the dragons!) were written extremely well as sentient beings. There is definitely romantic tension and steam that fits seamlessly into the action/adventure, neither outweighing the other. Balance! I love a paranormal romance that strikes balance between dragon/fang porn and legitimate mystery and adventure.
The author’s storytelling voice was strong. Though I had some pointed trouble with the world building (a little shaky and important world nuances were explained too slowly which caused a few moments of confusion) the tone, the arc and the feel of this novel was enthralling. I stayed up all night reading it and wishing the next int he series were already in hand. It isn’t particularly complex, on the contrary there is a simplistic nature that belies it’s genre standard of sometimes getting bogged down in too much “stuff” and info dumping.
If you are interested, if you have even a spark of cursory interest in a new sci-fi paranormal world, Touch of Ice is a great bet and with a little more polish, Dawn of Dragons has the potential to be an irresistible, cracky little series. I am all in!