I purchased e-copies of K.F. Breene‘s A Ruin of Roses, A Throne of Ruin and A Kingdom of Ruin.
About the book:
I could save him, but he would ruin me.
The creature that stalks the forbidden wood.
The dragon prince.
He has suffered a fate worse than death. We all have. A curse put upon us by the mad king.
We are a kingdom locked in time. Shifters unable to feel our animals. Stuck here by a deal between the late king and a demon who seeks our destruction.
The only one keeping this kingdom alive is Nyfain, the golden prince to a stolen throne. The last dragon shifter.
He’s our hope.
He’s my nightmare.
When he catches me trespassing in the forbidden wood, he doesn’t punish me with death, as he’s entitled.
He takes me, instead. Forces me back to the castle as his prisoner. Seeks to use me.
Apparently, I can save him. I can save the whole forgotten kingdom, locked away by the demon king’s power.
But it would mean taming the monster beneath his skin. It would mean giving myself to him.
It would mean my ruin.
I enjoyed this quite a lot, though the second half significantly more than the first. I thought a lot of the humor in the first half—before the main characters had much of a relationship—fell flat and the whole thing felt a little silly. However, once Finely and Nyfain met things took a turn for the better. Her humor worked a lot better when it had a foil, someone to bounce off and return.
The steam factor isn’t all that high in this first book, though it’s my understanding that it picks up in book two. There is quite a lot of sexual tension and ‘almosts’ though. So, if that’s your cupcake, you’ll be happy with this book.
What I like most though is the way Breene is playing with gender tropes. Nyfain is physically bigger and stronger, true, but Finley is the hero of this book, hands down. I mean the last sentences kind of make the point excellently: “If he wanted to play hero, I would. And I’d make him my damsel.”
And Breene manages to make Finley the hero(ine) without emasculating Nyfain or stripping Finley of any feminine traits. She’s butch, yes, but she’s not the dreaded ‘man with tits’ we see some authors sculpt when the only way they can think to make a female character strong is to write her as a man, even as they describe them as a woman. No, Finley is going to save the day and she is going to do it as a woman. The question is just what the journey there will look like.
All in all, I’m looking forward to book two.
About the book:
The only thing protecting me from the demons…is the beast.
Nyfain, the golden dragon prince, tried to set me free. But there is no freedom in this kingdom. Not for anyone.
The demons have sought me out. They want to trap me. To use me against Nyfain.
It’s only a matter of time before they call in the demon king.
Nyfain thinks I should save myself. That I should barter with the demon king to escape this place.
But can I give myself to the creature responsible for torturing the people I love?
In order to save them, though, I might not have a choice.
I liked this even more than the first one. Finely continues to be a super badass heroine who is clearly going to save the day and I’m completely here for it. Nyfain showing his softer side and being ready and willing to submit to and support her authority was endearing. And the two of them exploring fantasy and kink together was great. For me it wasn’t even about the sex—though there is plenty of it—but seeing them open up and talk about things that, outside of their singular situation, would be awkward and embarrassing was a a lot of fun.
I did think there were some inconsistencies. For example, the first time the two came together sexually he was so ‘big’ they really had to work for him to fit. But this was never an issue again, not even when they did anal. And I thought Finely became just a tad too competent and confident. At one point she took on seven powerful demons at once, without being a life-time warrior, and defeated them with ease.
But all in all, I’m still all in to see how the series continues.
About the book:
Never sell your soul to the Demon King.
In an effort to save all that I love, I have to finish the job Nyfain started… and ruin myself.
I’ve made a trade with the most cunning creature alive.
Me for them.
The dungeons will be my new home. Dolion’s destruction will be my new goal.
I just have to get out of here and back to my golden dragon. Preferably alive.
While I’m still enjoying the characters and the series. This particular book wasn’t a comparative winner for me. It felt very much like a middle book, which (in a sense) it is. What’s more, what I’m enjoying about this series is Finely and Nyfain together. And they are apart for most of this book. In fact, Nyfain is barely in it at all.
In a way, this is still Breene playing with expected gender roles. Finely goes off to save the day and Nyfain is left waiting and worrying at home. I recognize and appreciate the fact. But I still missed their banter and the progression of their relationship.
What I got instead was quite a lot of legitimate humor in the book. Especially in the form of Hadriel and Leala, and the new dragons (Vemar was my favorite.) I laughed a lot. And I enjoyed the heck out of that.
I’ve pre-ordered book 4 and I’m hoping it’s the last of the series. Not because I’m not still liking it, but because I fear it will jump the shark before too long if it doesn’t wrap up.
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