Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review: Dragon Actually

Title: Dragon Actually
Series: Dragon Kin Book 1
Author(s): G.A. Aiken (aka: Shelly Laurenston)
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher/Year: Zebra/2008
-Webpage: The World of G.A. Aiken // Shelly Laurenston
-Related: "Can't Get Enough" in the anthology Everlasting Bad Boys

Synopsis: It's not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear - a lot - or else salute. It's true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother's soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way, she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer.Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe - a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fill her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn't get any stranger. She's wrong...

Review: According to the author's note this was originally e-published in 2004 under the title "To Challenge a Dragon" (from Triskellion--which I'm sure many of us will curse for a long while yet for having interesting titles yet failing so bad), also you can purchase the e-book through Samhain Publishing, but there's no difference between the print and ebook version.

First off--I came upon this series after reading the novella in Everlasting Bad Boys about Fearghus' ancestor Ailean (the Wicked...or Whore depending on who you ask). I really enjoyed that story and rushed to find out if there was more. There was! Three more books in fact (with, if I understand the old news bit correctly, at least another 2 more on the way!). My joy, see it manifest.

Dragon Actually, like its novella cousin, is full of humor, sexy times and fun involving characters. Its pseudo-medieval fantasy (think Dragonheart!) which I would not ordinarily enjoy as a romance. Except I can't get enough of this Dragon family. They're ridiculously funny. The pranks they pulled on each other (cutting off the tip of a younger brother's tail and playing catch? shaving all the hair off their youngest brother?) were obviously done in affection and Gwenvael (whose adventures are chronicled in the latest release, What A Dragon Should Know) has managed to bring sibling irritation to a whole new level.

I love every single one of them. Including their icy mother (whose novella is included in the book). The humans, with the exception of Annwyl kind of get the short stick--Annwyl's army all being filled with just, loyal and battle hardened soldiers and her brother employing only gutless, despicable slimeballs--in development, but I was okay with that. There isn't a whole lot of time spent around the humans, most of the story taking place while Annwyl recovers with Fearghus, but I did find her second in command, Brastias, to be interesting, especially in his interest of Fearghus' sister the Dragon Witch Morfyd.

Heifadd-hen (these names, they kill me to remember how to spell them), I would have liked to learn a bit more about. Mostly the magicks he was using. He wasn't a good guy, he was a downright evil as evil does guy. Everybody--human and dragon alike--were pawns for his amusement and agenda.

Annwyl's brother, demon-spawnLorcan was pretty one-dimensional as a villain. He pretty was either intensely angry or intensely scared. That rounded out the issues he had. Though there is talk about how cruel and tyrannical their father had been, there isn't much detail given other then he hated being disturbed. And liked to sleep around. And he scared Lorcan and Annwyl equally. He was amusing however, with his petulant rages and 'KILL HER KILL HER' screeches.

Also, I'm still not convinced that Annwyl isn't a crazy crazy person. She says and does things no SANE person would even think of committing when stoned, drunk and blindfolded. She honestly doesn't understand why people repeatedly say to her 'Annwyl don't get yourself killed' and 'Are you crazy?'.