Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Burned (Amber Kallyn)

(The Dragos series, Book 1)
Amber Kallyn
Dragon Heart Books
Fiction, Fantasy/Romance
*** (Okay)

DESCRIPTION: As a shapeshifting dragon, Calla Dragos is the ideal arson investigator... especially when the cause of a fire is something unnatural, something that magic-blind humans cannot hope to deal with. She arrives in the small mountain town of Jasper after a string of fires with all the earmarks of an old rival: Eric, formerly her brother, now corrupted by dark powers into an agent of evil. If her overprotective brothers knew she was on Eric's trail by herself, they'd set the skies alight in rage, but she has a personal gripe to settle with the man.
Chief firefighter Scott O'Neil knew that an arson investigator was on the way to help - he could certainly use it, with Jasper's incompetent sheriff doing nothing - but he didn't expect Calla. A slight woman with a temper to match her fiery hair, he finds himself drawn to her from the start. But even as sparks fly between them, the arsonist strikes again... and, this time, the flames hit too close to home.

REVIEW: As a romance, this is mislabeled. It's much more a flat-out erotica tale, with a little romance squeezed in around the frequent, graphic sex. The characters are nothing new, but decent enough to serve the story: Calla's the typical stubborn redhead who doesn't believe she'll fall in love (until she does), Scott's the Perfect Man, and Eric's just an evil specter without a single justification for his heinous acts. There's also the local old-timer who knows much more than he lets on, about Scott and dragons and magic... but who has inexplicably not said a single thing to the very people who most needed to know about it, leaving them to bumble along in ignorance and possibly endanger lives discovering things on their own. I expected more to come of him, just as I expected more to come of Eric's seemingly out-of-the-blue betrayal of everyone and everything he once held dear. But, then, I also saw the ending coming a dragonsflight away, despite the way the characters kept moaning and pining about their ill-fated relationship. There was an irksome sexist subtext to the tale, where it stated that women were useless without men or babies, and that Calla really was silly for trying to be independent because females need masculine protection at all times. Apparently, only young adult fiction can get away with a female character who can find love with a man, yet not require constant shadowing or the validation of breeding to make her complete (Kristin Cashore's Graceling.) Well, young adult fiction and many people in real life. But, then, I suppose I shouldn't expect too much progressiveness or originality (or depth) from an erotica novelette, even one with dragons in it. For what it is, though, it's not terrible. I had just hoped for a little more actual romance, and maybe some character depth.

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Dragons Wild (Robert Asprin) - My Review
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