Tag Archives: Dragons

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Book Review: The Lost Siren, by Raven Storm

I’d seen several tempting teasers for Raven Storm‘s The Last Siren on Tiktok. So, I grabbed a freebie copy from Amazon when I was able. the lost siren

A human female born into a breeding manor never has a choice…I am a slave, but at least I am alive.

When the man with wings and scales gave me a second choice—I took it. The others of his kind pin me with hungry eyes, but I’ll do what I must to survive. I’ll preside over their Draken Games—and choose a winner every night to share my bed. The alternative is death.

Traded from one prison to the next I have but one hope left—the Lost Siren. I must find her before the demon hordes come if these men—Drakens—have any chance of escaping their mountainous prison, and me along with them.

my review

I am on an unfortunate losing streak. This is the fourth book in a row I’ve read that started out well but then deteriorated by the end, largely due to authorial choice. The problem with this one was that, though the writing was perfectly readable, I hated everything about the plotting and characters. I found everyone unpleasant and unlikiable. But I have a second, more important complaint that I’m not even 100% sure how to explain.

Throughout the book, over and over and over again, Wren is told that no one will hurt her; no one will do anything that she doesn’t consent to. But the book is full, I mean chock full, of people doing things she doesn’t consent to. She almost dies like 15 times from drakens hurting her. I’m talking broken bones, concussions, intended SA—serious hurts—and often these events happen on the same page as “no one will hurt you, no one will do anything you don’t want.”

This could have been interestingly integrated into the plot. The different degrees or meanings of safe or consent could have been explored. Or the expectations of men and women or drakens and humans. Maybe it was a lie to put her at ease, etc. This could have been purposefully used. Instead, when each draken says she’s safe and no one will force her to do anything she doesn’t want, the inference is that they are sincere. Over and over and over again. Despite this, the excuse for many of the injuries is that the drakens are fighting their instincts. (It’s never clear what these instincts actually are; it’s implied to mate, but it reads like kill, so I don’t know.) The important part is that if the instinct is to rape and rend, I do not know where the assurance that no one would hurt her is supposed to have even come from. It’s not in their nature. It’s not in their culture. It does not appear to be a shared norm or commitment.

What this means is that it’s the narration—the author—that is lying to the reader. They set up the expectation that Wren can look to ‘her males’ to keep her safe and reinforce it repeatedly with the ‘no one will force you’ mantra. But then prove it a lie over and over while also writing Wren as if she is safe with them, which is provably (proven) false. Each man physically harms her more than once. Each man stands by while she fights off opponents that require a suspension of the lost siren photodisbelief to accept she survives (and I mean stand next to her while this happens).

All of this breaks an important compact between the author and the reader. Again, this does not feel like it’s purposeful plotting; rather, it feels like an author-inconsistency. She wanted the reader to believe something, so she repeated it over and over but was not able to substantiate it in the actual plotting. I lost trust in Storm very early, and they never regained it, never even seemed to recognize that they needed to try. All in all, I simply didn’t like the book.

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Book Review: Courting Her Monsters, by Erin Bedford

I picked up a freebie copy of Erin Bedford‘s Courting Her Monsters during the Stuff Your Kindle event (along with about a million other books).
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Unable to hear, I live my life in silence.
Unable to argue with my father, I live my life in service, married off to the highest bidder.

Now, to save myself and my kingdom, I will have to play the part of their prisoner.
But I’m not playing anymore, and my new betrothed is more than happy to push the limits of my body and mind. He’s a monster with a handsome face…

But truer monsters wait for me, and they’re ready to give me so much more than I was prepared for.
What makes a monster and what makes a man? Only I can find that out…
And my life isn’t so silent anymore.

my review

God, what a disappointment. This was a Stuff Your Kindle freebie, and I wanted to love it. I honestly enjoyed aspects of it. Yes, it’s got some pretty significant plot holes. Yes, the heroine does some too-stupid-to-live things. Yes, it’s completely unbelievable that if the abuse she was suffering was so severe, no one noticed (and she was up and moving around with ease). Yes, it’s unbelievable that the mind-reading drake didn’t know exactly what she was up to. All true. But it was still silly, fluffy fun. I would have happily said it was a three-star, nothing serious read. But good lord, the editing. I can’t figure out how more people haven’t mentioned it in previous reviews. Maybe they were all pre-publication and thought the problems would get fixed before it went to print. Maybe they’re fake, IDK. But the fact that it’s not been mentioned by more people is…odd because it’s a significant issue.

Look, it’s one thing to not pick up on the occasional homophone, missing word, or if the spellcheck didn’t catch the use of ‘up’ instead of ‘us.’ But this book has characters who speak telepathically. This is indicated by italics, with no quotation marks or dialogue tag. But in the last 1/4 of the book, the italics just stop. So, you have dialogue with nothing to indicate it as so. In the first 3/4 of the book, there are several instances of dialogue being italicized, along with the next 3 or 4 paragraphs of the narrative. It’s clear the author simply forgot to turn italics off.

Now, I’m usually pretty forgiving about editing. It’s easy enough to miss the small stuff, even repeatedly. But if no one is noticing multiple instances of several paragraphs of erroneous courting her monsters photoitalicization, then no one read this book after the first draft, not even the author, and that’s unforgivable. Thank god it was free. I’d be incensed if I’d paid for it.

The thing is, I liked the story (as ridiculous as it was). I liked that the heroine was deaf. I liked her snark and that she refused to be a perpetual victim. I liked that one of the important men is visibly marred. I liked the dragon-men and world. I might have even read the next one. But I’m not willing to pay for someone’s drafts.

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Book Review: Tangle of Dragons, by Jane Darkspire

I picked up a copy of Jane Darkspire‘s Tangle of Dragons as an Amazon freebie.

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The city of Rendale is ruled by dragons—powerful monsters that control every drop of fame and fortune. They fear nothing, hunting without mercy and taking what they please.
And the Ruthless Dragons are the greediest of all.

I grew up believing if I worked hard my dreams would come true. Turns out that’s crap.
After two years of waiting for my life to begin, I was done sitting on my hands.
I’d have a final night of wild fun before packing my bags and saying goodbye to this wretched city.

But no one leaves Rendale once the Ruthless Dragons notice you.

Avrice, Sylt, Mortar and Rask.
The four of them masquerade as men to hide their wings and colorful scales, but they can’t wait to show me what they really are. Rumors say if they bring you to their den, you’ll be changed forever.
Warped and twisted by the time you walk out.

What happens if they never let me leave?

my review

This is one of those books—I’m sure we’ve all read them—that objectively isn’t very good. While the mechanical writing is fine, the pacing is off, there isn’t any worldbuilding or character development, it’s too heavy on the tell instead of show, the villains are cliched, the primary one is conquered too easily and anti-climactically, the men are not given equal attention, and there is no explanation for why the H is The One the men fall for and not just another toy as all the other women. Objectively this book is bad. But subjectively, it’s a lot of fun. It’s so committed to its over-the-top ridiculousness that you find yourself rolling along with it without thinking deeply enough to notice how bad it really is. I’d read another Darkspire book happily.

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