Reviewed by Tori
Book three in Sparks’ Embraced series-Eight Simple Rules for Dating A Dragon- takes elven healer Gwennore on an adventure to meet her destiny when a rogue dragon breaches the island she lives on and kidnaps her niece, princess Eviana. Gwennore grabs hold the dragon and hangs on for dear life. Once landed, she learns she is in Norveshka, the land of dragons, and at the mercy of a mad queen whose madness demands her dragons find her replacements for her lost children.
General Gorgeous aka Silas Dravenko who is trying to save his country and queen from dying. When he learns of Gwen’s gifts, he offers her a deal. If she will use her skills to help break the supposed curse surrounding his people, he will make sure the princess is returned safely to her parents.
A somewhat controversial relationship begins between them as Gwen struggles with her attraction to Silas, her gift, and her own feelings of coming home while in Norveshka while Silas tries to understand how he could fall head over heels with his sworn enemy-an elf.
Though I have enjoyed book one of this series, I was rather underwhelmed with this story overall. The engaging characters, silly tongue in cheek humor, and an extremely slow burning romance came out strong but slowly faltered and dissolved into a juvenile whine as the story progressed. The narrative flips from funny to moronic in a heartbeat. One character constantly talks about jumping men’s bones while another hints at the heroine being a whore in order to save her life. The one-liners and character caricatures overreached at times and fell flat.
The story finds its groove early on, blending the romance and the main plotline perfectly. Gwennore is a young elf who is one of the Embraced. She was taken from her home and left on an island to be raised with other young women of various races. She has never left the island so all this is very strange and somewhat frightening for her. Her time in Norveshka deals with more than just a 500-year-old curse. She finds herself having to finally deal with her feelings concerning her abandonment by her people and her sexuality while stepping out of her comfort zone to make friends who aren’t part of the embraced legend. I liked that she stood firm in her beliefs through her constant hot and cold attitude over Silas grew tiresome.
Silas is a shapeshifting dragon whose people are dying due to what he believes is a plague rather than a curse. Considered one of the “three cursed clans,” his loyalty to the royal family is boundless and his relationship with his comrades is a delight. I admired his willingness to do almost anything to save the royal family though I did have a hard time dealing with how pushy he was concerning his attraction to Gwen and all the secrets he kept from her. I understood some of his rationale (his being a dragon and such) but the implications he made to everyone that he and Gwen were lovers and his repeated efforts to coerce her into a sexual relationship after she kept telling him no made me annoyed me.
The plotlines themselves had so much potential with the appearance of an old foe and his use of the curse but it is more talk than show and the addition of ridiculous scenarios and scenes in order to fluff out the story made no sense and only weighed the story down.
A cornucopia of interesting characters weave in and out of the story to help, hinder, or just plain annoy. I liked meeting Silas’ army buddies and seeing a secondary romance blossom. Gwen’s sisters remain a constant in her life and never let her forget she is loved. I will admit I had no idea what the trolls and trees were all about and frankly there had to be a better way to promote equality then running around telling people to ‘join the military-you can sleep with all the men you want.’ The coup de grace concerning the chameleon was rushed and anticlimactic.
While I’m sure die-hard fans of Sparks and this series will be thrilled with this couple and expansions to the world and arc, I’m going to bow out here.