Reviewed by May
Favorite Quote: “We just can’t sit around discussing pure evil without tea and biscuits, Iz. It’s just not done.”
Once upon a time in a place called Dark Plains there lived a woman named Annwyl who was battling to the death. Sure she was about to take her last breath, she never imagined a great dragon prince would save her life and be her true love. What started with that couple has grown into an epic series known as the Dragon Kin series, and it is one of my favorites.
We first met Izzy (heroine of this book) back in the second book in this series, when she was a sixteen year old girl finally meeting her mother and becoming a part of the royal family as her mother fell in love (and was claimed by) Briec the Mighty. Izzy is tall and powerful, and through the series we have watched her go from a teenager joining Queen Annwyl’s army to a general. From an anonymous girl to an infamous one that is a champion for a god and that makes even dragon warriors nervous.
Speaking of nervous, Izzy’s love interest has always been Eibhear the Blue. The youngest of his family, and a kind and gentle soul Eibhear is unnerved by young Izzy and her youthful obsession with him and her desire to braid his blue hair. Through the series their nervous dance around one another has kept us wondering – when will they give in and get together? They’ve not seen each other for a decade when this book opens, and both have matured quite a bit.
Eibhear wants to apologize for his behavior in the past, and rather than fight him Izzy decides to torment him with kindness.
“You know,” Izzy said, stepping closer to Eibhear and placing her hand on his chest. “I’m so glad that we made up and we’ve put the past behind us.”
“Uh.” Eibhear looked down at her hand and then at her face. “Yeah. Me too.”
“Now we can be the proper uncle and niece that the family has always wanted us to be.”
The dragon blinked, his body going stiff. “Uncle and niece?”
“Proper uncle and niece. That must be such a relief for you. Not to have some child running around trying to stroke your hair.” She laughed a little, patting his chest. “Thank you for being so patient with me back then. It must have been very hard.”
“Well, no, it was-“
“Don’t worry about it. It’s the past. Now we’re family. Kin. My wonderful Uncle Eibhear.” On a whim, she went up on her toes and kissed him on the chin since she couldn’t quite reach his cheek without more effort.
Then she walked away and headed back to camp. She was almost there when Brannie stepped out from behind a tree and yanked her over.
Her friend stared at her. “Uncle Eibhear?” she whispered.
Izzy chewed her lip “Too much?”
Bent over, silently laughing, Brannie shook her head and leaned against Izzy. “You’re the best, you evil bitch!” she managed to squeal and whisper simultaneously. “The best!”
Finally, with Izzy more than thirty years old and Eibhear now being Eibhear the Contemptible and dreaded Mi-runach squad leader, it is time for their story. They have two missions to take care of in the desert (where Izzy’s mom was raised!), gods making their lives difficult, and so much more. As with all these novels, plot lines twist and turn, overlap and intersect into one amazing epic story. I would not recommend this book unless you have read the whole series, this really is one of those series where each book enriches the world, revisits characters, and builds upon the previous novels. While the author does a great job reminding me of the characters positions and past events, and this book is totally satisfying in its own right, it really is an epic story that should be read in order.
I think that series fans will not be disappointed in this book, and if you are not already reading the series and the premise interests you even a tiny bit – I highly recommend it. I always find myself on edge to see how things will work out, while also giggling and totally entertained – as it should be.
He almost blasted the wall behind them with flame, and he had to fight hard to control the urge, not wanting to burn Izzy while in the throes of passion. That just seemed rude.
What I love about this series is how well it blends steamy romance with a political plot, intrigue, action, and humor. This world comes to life with every book, and Aiken manages to get in depth with her main characters while continuing plots with past leading characters and setting up future characters as well. In this book all of our past favorites make appearances, but unlike so many series that do this, in this they all have roles and make contributions to the plot.
Briec (Izzy’s adopted dragon father) did manage to steal the show a bit for me in this book. His unconditional love of his “perfect, perfect daughters” and his fierce love of them was so great to see. I really enjoyed seeing Izzy with her sister as well, and viewing Izzy through her sister’s eyes. One thing I really love is that both her sister and father accept her as she is, and they don’t expect her to be anything that she isn’t.
The same can be said for Eibhear, who has always loved Izzy but has never acted upon those feelings not only because she was young, but also because he wasn’t ready, and because of the complication with his brother being with Izzy’s mom that technically makes them family.
Which leads me to my disappointments. First of all, Eibhear is supposed to have grown and changed and be this super fierce mean bastard warrior now. While we saw glimpses of this, such as when he whips his brother’s butts, most of the time he did not seem changed or different to me. The author tells us he has changed, but outside of battle skills I didn’t see this. I wanted a truly hardened, changed Eibhear and instead it felt like that was just kind of an act.
My second disappointment is the lack of depth to Izzy and Eibhear’s relationship in this book. They get a lot of page time together, they go on an epic quest and (finally!) get together in a most memorable fashion. But where was the deep connection and that true love feeling? For that matter – where was the heat? When would they declare their love for one another? I felt like this book had a lot less smexy time and emotional depth than I’m used to from this series, and I missed it. Considering the set up and history of this couple I think it could have been done a lot better.
Finally, my third disappointment was that the claiming is glossed over. When Izzy and Eibhear commit to each other forever (finally!) it is mentioned almost in passing. Then, the feelings of their family and the conflict with Briec’s blessing and all of that is glossed over. While I get that everyone has known for years that this pair was meant to be, the author gave them a book and I expected more depth and emotion so we got a more satisfying resolution to their epic flirtation and love/hate relationship.
I mention my disappointments only to explain why this book did not receive an A grade from me. I found the entire novel captivating, funny, exciting, and a reminder of why I count down the days to a new Aiken book. Her heroines are fierce warriors that I’ve grown to love, and her dragons are over the top arrogant – and the only creatures alive able to keep up with the amazing women.
Then, without even looking at him again, Izzy walked off, leaving him lying there.
“I don’t know why you look so shocked,” a voice said from beside him and he looked up into the face of his cousin Branwen. “What did you expect her to do? Drop to her knees and suck your cock right here?”
Well… it had crossed his mind.
I can’t say enough good things about each book in this series, this one was no exception. There are a lot of things set up and furthered for future, a lot of plot lines that I am excited for as well. We will see a lot of Izzy and Eibhear in future I’d bet – and there is a lot of romance and drama to be had in this series still. I can’t wait.