A not-review of DragonMark, by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I don’t usually review book that I don’t finish here on the blog. In the five years I’ve kept it, I don’t think I ever have. I post a note on Goodreads for myself and move on. But I have to have a little rant on about this one. Partly because I’m enraged and partly out of pure WTF confusion.

Let me start by saying how much I hate (with a passion I’m not sure words alone can convey) coming across books like this. (And I’ve complained about this before). It’s book number 25 in one series, 10 in another, 5 in yet a third, 41 in another and the first in Dragon-Hunter: Dragon Rising. Apparently all these series intertwine. But can I read it as the first in ANY series, as that number 1 suggests? Or do I need to have read the others. What exactly, as a new Sherrilyn Kenyon reader, should I base that assessment on? Your guess is as good as mine. I picked the audio book up at the library and, despite serious misgivings, thought I’d give it a try.

For the first half the book I was fine. I could feel that there was history I was missing. Characters probably had their own books, but I was able to follow the hero and heroine’s story. I had complaints, such as how fast it all moved and how magic with no defined limits side-stepped so many problems in too easy manner, but it was a readable PNR. And I appreciated that the heroine was a larger lady. Plus, it was funny at times.

Then I reached disk 5, roughly the middle of the book. (There are 8 disks total.) Suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, despite having fallen in love in a day, ten years passed and then in a page or two the heroine was dead and centuries had passed for the hero. The story picks up with two totally new people. The original hero becomes a side character in their story and everything moves along as if the train hadn’t literally just changed tracks. I stopped the player to make sure a disk from another book didn’t get mixed in! It’s that abrupt and incongruent.

Logic would suggest that the new characters are the characters from whichever series has Cade and Joe in it and the two timelines are crossing. (As and aside, at least I can pronounce their names, unlike Illarion and his love, whose name I don’t remember and apparently isn’t considered important enough to even include in the blurb of her own book.) And I would guess that at some point it’s all going to wrap back around such that Illarion can bring unnamed love back to life, or whatever. But I can’t bring myself to listen to hours of story about people I literally don’t know, because they literally just appeared with no introduction or explanation, before getting to it. (And that’s assuming I’m right about what happens.)

So, to answer the initial question of can a book with multiple series listed be read alone, even if its called number one in one of those series, no. Half this book can be read as a first book in a series, but half is apparently the continuation of another’s story and can’t be read without all those previous books from multiple other series. That is my take away. I gave up. I didn’t finish disk five and I won’t be finishing the book. I’m left reeling and confused. What the hell just happened.

I can almost imagine the narrator, who did a fine job, calling up the publisher and asking, “Hey, just checking, but you didn’t happen to mix up your manuscripts did you? I’m just making sure you didn’t send me two? Again, just checking.”

What’s worse, in reading the reviews of other readers, this seems to just be rehashing other books in the other series (whichever it is). My advice is don’t bother. I’m going to stick to my initial instinct and steer very clear of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books in the future. The foul taste left in my mouth from this one is that strong.

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