Plot Type: SMR
Oracle's Moon (3/2012)
"Natural Evil" (e-book novella, 2012)
"Devil's Gate" (e-book novella, 2012)
"Hunter's Season" (e-book novella, 2012)
Lord's Fall (11/2012)
Novel #6 (11/2013)
If you remember what happened in book 1, you'll know that when Dragos was tracking Pia down, he invaded the demesne of the Elves, almost instigating a war, and the relationship between the two bordering demesnes has been rocky ever since. The Elves accept Pia, but hate Dragos. Pia is determined to negotiate a treaty with the Elven ruler, Calondir, so she takes a road trip down to South Carolina accompanied by a crew of Wyr bodyguards. In the meantime, Dragos has his hands full back in Manhattan where he is hosting the Sentinel Games in Madison Square Garden. Dragos lost two of his best Sentinels (Tiago and Rune) when they met their soul mates and quit their jobs. He has set up a huge competition that will provide him with seven finalists—all of whom will be his new sentinels.
When Pia gets to the Elven demesne, she learns that Calondir is deep in the Lirithriel Wood (a huge magical Elven forest) with some unexpected Elven visitors from another realm. When she and her escorts go into the Wood to meet with Calondir, they run into the book's villain, a deranged Elf whose voice Dragos heard at the end of Serpent's Kiss—a voice that prophesied the end of days—the apocalypse. "It had spoken of stars dying in agony, and the nature of evil, of Light and Dark as creatures, and Lord Death himself having forgotten he was a fraction of the whole." (p. 99)
The story follows Pia and Dragos as they find themselves in danger and strive to keep the prophecy from coming true. Oh, and don't forget about the baby, who has his own surprise planned for his parents.
Don't try to read this book if you haven't been following the series. The cast of supporting characters is large, and the references to events from previous books are frequent. If you're familiar with the series, though, you'll probably enjoy this book. Pia and Dragos were a great couple in book 1, and they're still fascinating to watch, as Pia tries to tame the beast within her mate, and Dragos finally realizes exactly how much Pia means to him. As usual, Harrison gives us a peek at what will probably be the romantic couple in the next book: the Harpy Aryal and Pia's best friend (and former boss) Quentin, who despise each other so much that you just know that they are destined for a soul-mate HEA.
This is, for the most part, a well-plotted story, but I have to mention one improbable scene between Pia and Dragos that takes place in a pup tent in the middle of a frigid, snow-covered war zone. Right in the middle of things—with the villain's magical fire roaring just a few tents away and battle-weary Wyrs and Elves resting all around them before the big battle to come—the couple has a major make-out session and plans their wedding and honeymoon. I realize why Harrison did it this way (It's one of the few scenes in which the two are physically together in one place), but really, it's a bit far-fetched. Otherwise, though, this is a nice addition to the series and brings some resolution to Pia and Dragos' love story.
In the modern world, the Elder Races have lived openly among mortals since the 1500s. The Races are extremely territorial and maintain seven distinct demesnes in the U.S.:
> Elven in Charleston, South Carolina
> Dark Fae in Chicago: black haired, gray eyes, metallurgists
> Light Fae in Los Angeles: blond, green eyes, aversion to iron
The heroine of book 1 is Pia Giovanni, a half-breed (Wyr/human) who has manifested a small amount of magic (she can open any lock without a key), but has never been able to shift. Pia grew up moving from place to place with her mother in the hope that no one would ever discover her true Wyr form (and the reader isn't let in on the secret until near the end of the book). As the story opens, Pia has been blackmailed into stealing an artifact from the hoard of New York's billionaire leader of the Wyrkind, the dragon Dragos Cuelebre. Dragos is tens of thousands of years old and his security system has, in all those centuries, never been breached. Even though the stolen object is of little value, and even though Pia replaced it with an object of equal value, Dragos is determined to catch and punish the thief—it's a male pride issue. Many reviewers have compared Dragos to Raphael, the hero of Nalini Singh's GUILD HUNTER series, and that's an apt comparison. Both are rich, powerful, alpha males who are accustomed to getting their own way, and both are brought down (in the romantic sense) by modern American women.
Pia leaves an apologetic note behind, and when Dragos reads it and gets a whiff of her scent (wild sunshine—whatever that smells like), he is immediately attracted to her. (If you hadn't already guessed the identities of the loving couple, this is the first clue that Dragos and Pia are soul mates.) Of course, we need a conflicted plot to provide a few interruptions in the bumpy romantic journey, and that is provided by the Dark Fae king, Urien, who is Dragos' bitter enemy. Supporting characters include mostly members of Dragos' security team (aka sentinels) and Thistle "Tricks" Periwinkle, niece of Urien and heir to the Dark Fae throne. In this book, Tricks works as the public relations director for the widespread Cuelebre Enterprises and is one of the first to befriend Pia.
You may struggle a bit to get through the exposition-heavy first section of Dragon Bound, in which the author strings together paragraphs full of short subject-verb sentences and seems never to have met a clichéd simile or tortured metaphor she doesn't like. She even uses that old favorite "like a knife slicing through butter" (p. 11). And what does this one mean: "The Cauldron [the magic district] flaunted caveat emptor like a prizefighter’s satin cloak" (p. 2). How does a prizefighter's satin cloak flaunt "let the buyer beware"? Keep reading, though. If you can get past the first chapter or two, you'll get pulled into the story. Dragon Bound is strongest in its action and adventure scenes, especially when Pia is fighting back against her captors. The lighter scenes, like those between Pia and the sentinels, are also well written. Dragos and Pia's relationship scenes get a bit melodramatic at times, but that's fairly typical in paranormal romance, so I'll give that a pass. Click HERE to go to links on Harrison's web page to free excerpts from Dragon Bound.
Here is a quotation from Storm's Heart in which Niniane takes a good look at Tiago: "Her gaze bounced around his dark saturnine features. The force of his presence was such that the tiny hairs on her arms rose....He had the extreme physicality of an apex predator, his body tempered by years of fighting, the thick muscles corded with sinew and veins. His Power was a heavy, sulfurous force that pressed her into the mattress." (p. 25) (And, believe me, there is a LOT of "mattress pressing" going on in this book!)
During a climactic moment, Rune Ainissesthi, one of Dragos's sentinels, promises Vampyre Queen Carling that he will owe her a favor if she will save the life of his friend, Tiago. Carling delivers, so now Rune must reciprocate. The couple has a lustful moment near the end of the book Storm's Heart when Rune watches Carling bathing in a brook, so we already know that there's an attraction between them. Click HERE to go to links on Harrison's web page to free excerpts from Storm's Heart.
|Yul Brynner in|
The King and I