>> Tuesday, May 03, 2011
TITLE: Dragon Bound
AUTHOR: Thea Harrison
COPYRIGHT: 2011 (it comes out today)
SETTING: Alternate reality
TYPE: Paranormal romance
SERIES: 1st in the Elder Races series
REASON FOR READING: There's been twitter buzz about Dragon Bound for months. I was lucky enough to win it in
a giveaway at Dear Author, so I could read it a bit early.
A FIERY TEMPER IS NOT EASILY EXTINGUISHEDPia Giovanni is a dead woman walking. Her scummy ex boyfriend has blackmailed it into stealing something from a dragon's treasure trove, and everyone knows you don't cross Wyr dragon-shifter Dragos Cuelebre and come out of it alive. Pia's late mother brought her up to be ready to run at any minute, so she puts in practice some of the plans she's got in place and escapes. Still, even though she's doing her best, she's pretty sure Dragos will find her anything. Which he does.
Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful–and passionate—of the Elder Races.
As the most feared and respected of the wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in one another.
Contrary to what she expects (and kind of contrary to what Dragos expects, actually), no rending of limbs happens. There's something about Pia that makes Dragos want to keep her close. He doesn't quite understand what it is, but he'll follow his instincts. Unfortunately, though, another powerful magical being is after Dragos, and Pia is in the way...
Wow, is Harrison really a debut author? That's surprising, Dragon Bound felt like the work of a seasoned author. It's an exciting, fun romance, with really intriguing world building and a writing style so smooth that the pages practically turned themselves.
I really enjoyed the romance and the characters, especially because while at first it looks like this might be a hugely lopsided relationship, with a heroine that's pitifully weak next to the all powerful hero, that's not really what we get. At all. Pia is clever and resourceful. She doesn't allow Dragos to steamroll over her. In fact, she calls the shots, more often than not, and she does that without any irritating feistiness. Instead of stomping her foot, she tells Dragos exactly why she needs this or the other, and when there are good reasons why she can't get it, she's sensible and decides what she can live without.
And as for Dragos... Dragos was a huge surprise. The first we hear about him is a somewhat overblown section about him having come into existence practically with the Big Bang and much is made about how his age means that he's very definitely not human in his outlook. I was expecting someone like Raphael in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunters series, whom I could easily believe was ancient. And Dragos did seem a bit that way at the beginning, when Pia is completely, 100% convinced that she's signed her own death sentence by what she did, and Dragos will take ruthless revenge.
But the Dragos we get is nothing like that. Yes, some of his instincts are a bit closer to the surface than a normal human's would be, but that seemed to me a lot more about his being a shifter than about his being as old as time. He didn't read ancient or inhuman at all. In fact, he's got quite the silly, absurd sense of humour, which was a bit of a shocker! There's this scene the first time Pia rides on him when he's in dragon form, and he jokes "Thank you for flying Cuelebre Airlines". The very terrifying Raphael would never have done something like this! I guess having a character who's supposed to be ancient and inhuman but who nevertheless reads merely oldish and perfectly relatable means that the characterisation is somewhat flawed. But you know what? I didn't care, because I found the romance easier to buy. I'd much rather Harrison had just not made Dragos so over-the-top old than she had changed the exasperating yet adorable character she ended up creating.
Dragon Bound sets up the next novels in the series, but in a way that felt relevant to the series. It's a fun world, and I look forward to reading more novels set in it!
MY GRADE: A very strong B+.