I made a mistake before reading this book and I wish I wouldn’t have. Usually when I know that I’ll be reading a book soon, I stay far away from reviews and conversations about the book. It’s not that I’m afraid I’ll be spoiled, it’s just that I don’t want to go into a book looking for a positive or a negative that someone else had. Often I’ll find myself focusing on things that I never would have noticed on my own, and I hate that. I want to go in blind and see what my raw reaction is.
Since I know this about myself, I rarely break this unwritten rule. But almost all of my Goodreads friends were reading this book! It seemed to be everywhere I looked on blogs and the status updates on Goodreads were too tempting to resist! So…I admit it, I cracked. I read all those updates and all of the resulting conversations. And my expectations started ramping up. I heard Dragos compared time and time again to Raphael from the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. If it had been one or two people, I probably would have ignored it, but there were a lot of them saying that.
It’s not that Dragos was a bad hero, it’s just that I was expecting something else when I heard him likened to Raphael. I expected him to be dark, intense, and kind of scary. Even though I liked him, I felt like I was always waiting for that intensity. I just wish I hadn’t gone in expecting something else. The book suffered because I spent so much time looking for something that it lacked. Don’t be like me, people. Don’t let your expectations get the best of you.
Despite not seeing intensity in Dragos, I did see a lot to like. I loved how the author wrote him with such an animalistic personality. His behavior didn’t always fit with acceptable human behavior, but Pia took the differences in him well. His refusal to tell anyone—even his men—too much information about Pia was an example of the little quirks that made him seem dragon-like. He was secretive, jealously protective of what he considered “his”, and could be cold when the situation warranted it. I probably would have found the split second mood swings irritating in another man, but it didn’t bother me with Dragos. It just served as a nice example of how alien his thinking and behavior could be.
I was very hesitant about Pia in the beginning. I think I was supposed to sympathize with her, but I found her kind of whiny and irritating. The more I read about her, the more I liked her, but I continued to have problems with her throughout the book and never quite loved her the way most did.
I found it irritating that her behavior and personality seemed to vary throughout the book. She was strong and mouthy one minute, and overwhelmed and giving up the next. I didn’t need to her to be a badass, but I needed some consistency. She was incredibly impressive in a scene involving the goblins—I loved that whole interlude—but then she turned around and gave up after they were free. It was so frustrating! And did anyone else notice how often she slept and left Dragos to handle the situation in times of crisis?
Although I had issues with the characters, I liked Pia and Dragos together. They meshed well and they were refreshingly straightforward about their attraction to each other. It seemed a little abrupt in the beginning, but I just shrugged and went with it. Their playfulness and joking made their interactions fun and the chemistry between them was great. I laughed when Pia tried to teach Dragos manners and loved watching Dragos try to accustom himself to caring about her and wanting to please her.
I really liked the side characters and was pleased that they were more than just sequel bait. They were a lot of fun—especially the next book’s heroine, Tricks—and I loved that they were different from the shifters normally seen in PNR. Dragos’s team had gryphons, a gargoyle, thunderbirds (awesome!), and even a harpy. I’m really curious to get to see a thunderbird in the next book because I’ve never read about one before. I thought they all became BFF’s with the heroine a little too easily, but that’s not exactly unique to this book. I frequently find myself with that complaint in PNR.
I was very impressed with the author for choosing such unique paranormal species. I spent the whole book trying to figure out what Pia was and why her mom was so worried about her keeping it a secret. I had a few guesses, but I never came close. Kudos to the author for trying something so different!
There was a surprise development between Pia and Dragos that cropped up very close to the end. I did not like the fact that it was included at all. It almost dropped my grade to a 3 ½, but I enjoyed the rest of the book enough to not let it get to me that much. I just thought it was unnecessary and I had no sympathy for Pia’s irrational behavior.
Although I didn’t love it as much as most, and found the overall tone more light and funny than intense, I still thought it was a fun new PNR. I’m really looking forward to trying out the next book because Tricks was hilarious in this one. If you’re on the fence about this one, I say try it out. Besides, it has dragons! That’s so infrequent that I snatch them up whenever I hear about them.
He dug his fingers into her hair and lifted up the strands. “I want some of your hair.”
She lifted her head. “What?”
“I said I want some of your hair. Give me a lock and I’ll forgive you for breaking and entering.”
“Oh-kay. Sure.” She squinted at him. “So I give you a lock of my hair, take you to the Elven border and drop you off?”
He laughed. “I never said I was letting you go. I just said I’ll forgive you.”
“I knew that had to be too easy,” she muttered. “You’re just not a straight road, are you?”