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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dragon Lovers

Dragon Lovers. Paranormal romance.

  • ****½ "The Dragon and the Virgin Princess" by Jo Beverley.

    Rozlinda is a Sacrificial Virgin Princess. It's a largely ceremonial position, but there's a lot of ritual associated with it. Every eight years, the dragon comes, the princess is "sacrificed," and in return her people get the supplies that ensure their survival.

    Rozlinda never expected to serve, because before the eight years are up, her little sister will take over, so she's just going through the motions of The Princess Way. But the last time, things didn't go as planned, and now the dragon's come early, and Rozlinda has to do her duty.

    This story is very funny, but it's also serious and poignant, when the foreign prince slays the dragon and, according to the rules, takes Rozlinda off to be his bride. There's a lot about assumptions and misunderstandings, and the heartbreaking decision of the needs of the many versus the needs of the few--or the one.

  • **** "The Dragon and the Dark Knight" by Mary Jo Putney.

    Sir Kenrick and his squire are in need of a place to spend the winter, but what he really wants is a place of his own. When he hears of an offer of land in exchange for slaying a "dragon," he jumps at the chance, assuming there's a non-supernatural explanation that a clever knight like himself could easily overcome.

    Of course, things aren't nearly as simple as he thinks, but the twists are such an integral part of this story, you'll have to take my word for it that it's clever, unusual, and unexpected.

    I can't really put my finger on any faults with this story--it just didn't grab me the way the previous and the following ones did.

  • ****½ "Anna and the King of Dragons" by Karen Harbaugh.

    Young Dutch woman Anna is left alone in Japan when her scholar/adventurer parents are killed. Distraught, she falls into a pool, and is rescued by a dragon. In return for saving her life, the dragon requests that she bring it some books.

    Then while returning to her rooms, she's attacked by thugs and rescued by Nakagawa Toshiro, a highly respected Samurai warrior.

    This is such a rich, lush story. Anna's personality really resonated with me. I could feel her distress gradually evolving into determination to do what she must to take care of herself. She was intelligent, practical, and independent, accepting help when she needed it, but not depending on being rescued. Toshiro was enigmatic and strong and charming, and as exotic and intriguing as the land he was so much a part of.

  • **** "Dragon Feathers" by Barbara Samuel.

    This is the only contemporary story in the anthology. Penny is a widow who finds a reprieve from her grief by making a complete change--moving to New Mexico to study with the famous and exclusive weaver Senora Libuela. Her new house was a bargain because of the smell--which Penny finds delicious--and in it, she feels comfortable and is able to sleep for the first time in months.

    Adding to her contentment is Senora Libuela's son Joaquin, to whom she finds herself attracted, even though she thinks he's too young for her. He becomes a good friend, but shies away from closer involvement because of secrets he can't reveal. And then there are those beautiful pink feathers she keeps finding....

    I did get a bit impatient with Joaquin's secrets, and was actually leaning toward Penny getting to know the professor who was investigating dragon lore a little better, but it's a sweet story anyway.

By the way, Dragon Lovers will be featured in the Cherry Forums BookClub starting May 15. All 4 authors are planning on being there, so it should be lots of fun. You're invited.


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Some of these look good. Did you read these altogether? Are you tired of dragons, yet?
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