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Saturday, May 28, 2011


Author:  Keri Arthur
Plot Type:  Soul-Mate Romance (SMR) 
Publisher and Titles:  Dell
          Destiny Kills (2008)
          Mercy Burns (2010)       

    In this world, shape-shifting air dragons exist in 13 cliques alongside, but unknown by, mortals. Sea dragons, on the other hand, live as individuals, not in cliques. Each clique is ruled by a king, and, as you would expect, each king has his own way of dealing with the power and wealth that accompany his officesome worse than others. Alongside the dragons live the half-breed dramans, mostly born of dragon fathers and human mothers. In the world of air dragons, the male gets to decide whether his sperm will impregnate his female partner, while with the sea dragons, the female gets to decide.

            NOVEL 1:  Destiny Kills            
     As the series opens, Destiny McCree, a half-breed air-sea dragon, wakes up on an Oregon beach next to the dead body of her friend and lover, Egan Jamieson, the son of the king of the Jamieson clique. Destiny has gaps in her memory, but she soon begins to recall details about her past. As it turns out, Destiny was captured and held captive for eleven years in Scotland (on the banks of Loch Ness) by cruel scientists who consider the shape-shifting dragons to be animals fit only to be drugged and studied. Eventually, Destiny and Egan escaped, but were pursued by hunters who killed Egan. Now, Destiny is on the run. As she is making her escape, she almost literally collides with Trae Wilson, Egan's half brother, who is searching for Egan. Trae is a dramanhalf human and half air dragon. The two soon strike a mutually beneficial deal. Trae agrees to help Destiny get to her dying father in Maine and then assist her in rescuing her mother and some young dragons from the Scotland prison laboratory. In return, Destiny agrees to hand over Egan's serpent ring to Trae so that he can trade it to his malevolent father for information about his missing sister. The plot sound convoluted, but it's really not that hard to follow. Of course, Trae and Destiny fall in love along the way.

            NOVEL 1:  Mercy Burns            
     The second book features Trae’s half-sister, Mercy Reynolds, who is a draman (half human, half air dragon). Mercy lives in San Francisco, where she is an investigative newspaper reporter. As the story opens, Mercy and her BFF, Rainey (a sea dragon), are trying to solve the mystery of the murder of Rainey's sister in an ethnic-cleansing type of crime in which an entire village of rogue draman was wiped out. When their car is run off a cliff by a truck, Rainey dies and Mercy must track down and punish her murderer within seven days in order to send Rainey's soul on to its final rest. Moving ahead with her investigation, Mercy finds herself drugged and imprisoned by some mysterious men. When Mercy and her fellow prisoner, Damon Rey, escape, they discover that they are working on the same case. Damon is a muerte (the Spanish word for death), an assassin who works for the Dragon Council, which oversees the 13 cliques and which is....wait for it...terribly corrupt. Didn't you see that coming? Those supernatural councils are ALWAYS corrupt! As their investigation proceeds, the sparks begin to fly—sometimes literally—in Mercy and Damon's relationship. We don't meet the primary villain until the end of the book (most of the dirty work is done by his minions), but Mercy is disturbed to discover that the case has ties to her troubled past. 

     The relationship between dragons and draman is at the heart of the story. Mercy has had a rough childhood as a draman growing up in a dragon clique where draman are considered to be second-class citizens and where female draman are at the mercy of the macho male dragons—and she has the scars to prove it. Damon has always gone along with the party line on draman: that they are not to be trusted, that they put the dragon world at risk of discovery by humans, and that their powers should probably be curtailed. Naturally enough, the couple must work through this culture clash before they can achieve their HEA ending.

     I'm hoping that Arthur eventually tells Leith's story. This sea dragon is Mercy's private detective friend whom we hear in a series of telephone conversations but never see. He gets his information from hacking into computer systems and from his assistant, Janelle, a gifted psychic.

     Keri Arthur is a master story teller who excels in both the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres. In this series, she has created complex, likable characters and has put them into fresh and inventive plots. The inevitable angst is always there, but not so much that it overwhelms the plot. And don't forget the bedroom scenes, which are always hot high points in Arthur's stories. All in all, this is a terrific paranormal romance series, and I read each book in one sitting. One thing I especially liked about both books is that the heroines can take care of themselves. They can handle a weapon, and they can fight back with their dragon powers, and they're not afraid to do so. These ladies are definitely not the shrinking violets that we so often find in paranormal romances.

     If you haven't read Arthur's RILEY JENSON, GUARDIAN urban fantasy series, you might want to give that a try. Riley is a dhampirehalf werewolf and half vampire enforcer, or Guardian, who lives in Melbourne, Australia (where Arthur also lives). 

     Arthur has a new series coming out this fall (DARK ANGELS) that includes some of Riley's Melbourne world. Here is Arthur's description of DARK ANGELS from her FAQ page"Next up is Risa’s series. Risa is Dia’s little girl in Riley’s series, and now she’s getting her own. This one will explore the Aedh (the race Quinn and Risa come from) as well as reapers and demons. There will still be vamps, werewolves and shifters, as it’s set in the same world, but they just won’t be as front and center as they were in Riley’s series." Darkness Unbound will be published in September, followed by Darkness Rising in October, and Darkness Devours in early 2012.


  1. Enjoyed this series and loved all the Riley Jenson books. Other than the Dark Angels series, she has quite a few more to choose from. Do you have any thoughts on any of the other series?

  2. If you enjoyed this series, you might like Keri Arthur's new OUTCAST series. My review is here:
    Also, you might want to read her SOULS OF FIRE series. My review is here:

  3. I just read Beneath a Rising Moon and it was a real steamy romance. It was so good I finished it in one day. There is only one more in the series and I probably will read that too.