May 23, 2011

Review: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

I first read about this book in February when reviews and comments started to show up on the blogosphere. It seemed to me that everyone was talking about it. So when the book finally became available I put it on hold because I wanted to savor it, and also because if it really was as good as everyone was saying, I wanted the gap between this one and the next one in the series to be as short as possible. Well, the book was everything I was expecting and more.

Even though I’ve been hearing about this book for months I didn’t know anything about it besides that the hero was a dragon. I think that part of my enjoyment of the book was due to that. So what I’m going to tell you is that the book is an urban fantasy romance. That Pia, the heroine, is a not-so-regular girl who steals something from Dragos. And that Dragos, our hero, happens to be one of the oldest and most powerful creatures in the world, and is not happy about the theft.

I loved the premise of the book. What if fantastic creatures were real and living among us? What if magic was all around? You will get the same world we live in but with some different power players thrown in the mix. Dragon Bound’s world looks like ours but with fairies, vampires, elves, shape-shifters, and everything else you can think about living there as well. They take part in politics, own corporations and live their lives just like we do. There are also Other worlds, alternate realities where magic is more present and humans can’t see or enter them.  Dragos is a wyr, a shape shifter. But he is not your regular shifter, he is the only dragon alive and he is very powerful. In this world there are all kind of shifters, from mythological creatures like harpies and griffons, to normal animals like bears and marmosets.

This book was wonderful, it worked in so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin. Let me tell you about the leads first. Pia was my favorite kind of kick-ass heroine. She was hardworking, loving, independent, strong, but she was also vulnerable and aware of her limitations. She was smart-mouthed and sweet all rolled into one, and if she were real I would love to be her friend. Dragos was a very strong character and it would have been easy for him to overshadow any other heroine, but this wasn’t the case here. Not once in the story did I think that she wouldn’t be able to handle him, on the contrary, if there was someone in over his head it was Dragos, because she was a handful (and I say this as a compliment).

Dragos was magnificent. Thea Harrison has created the ultimate alpha-male. At first he comes across as detached and inhuman, which is normal considering that he is older than dirt and that he, well, isn’t human. He had this godlike quality to him that made him untouchable and it got me wondering how on earth was he supposed to fall in love and be a romance hero? You have to read the book to find out exactly how, but he does, and it was great to see. I had so much fun with him, both Pia and Dragos have some great lines, and sometimes I found myself laughing out loud, here is one of my favorite parts:

“I am cursed with a terminal case of curiosity,” he said. “I am jealous, selfish, acquisitive, territorial and possessive. I have a terrible temper, and I know I can be a cruel son of a bitch.”

He cocked his head. “I used to eat people, you know.”(…) 

(…) “What made you stop?”“I had a conversation with somebody. It was an epiphany”. His voice was rueful. He rocked her. “From that point on I swore I would never eat something that could talk.”

The cast of secondary characters was fantastic. It was so good that I just wanted to see more of them even if that meant less screen time for the main couple. As usual with Fantasy books there is a whole bunch of alpha-males that in this case are part of Dragos’ team, and there is a whole bunch of bromance. I really can’t wait to see what’s in store for them.

The first part of the book was a rollercoaster. It was more action-adventure than anything else, but the second half of the book was more slow-paced. I liked it, but since the first part had so many things going on you might feel like you are reading a different book. The ending was a bit anticlimactic, but it fit the overall story well so I was fine with it.

There were a lot of things that had a familiar feel to it, the elves seemed straight out of The Lord of the Rings –there was even a part where Pia eats a type of elven bread that might as well have been baked by Galadriel- but I don’t think that creating original creatures was Thea’s goal. I think that the originality comes from the setting, the interactions and the characters, and that was refreshing and inventive, even if the creatures weren’t anything new.

I did find the villain a bit lacking. We don’t really get to know him well, and I would have loved to see more about him, and more about the reasons behind his evilness. We don’t really get enough about him to really hate him. I think he had the potential to be as charming and as interesting as the good guys in the story but in an evil lord king of way.
When I read this book I had the same feeling of OMG-I-found-something-amazing that I had when I read Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation and Meljean Brook’s Demon Angel. Dragon Bound had everything, action, comedy, a sweet romance, hot sex, it was magic. The only bad thing is that I have to wait to read the next books in the series.

Basically what I’m trying to say is: GO GET IT!

Review by Brie
Grade: 5
Sensuality: McSteamy


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.

Berkley. May 3, 2011.

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