The trouble with humans is that they’re far too sensitive. Forget you put a woman in the local jail for a few months – and she takes it so personally! And yet she is the one trying to assassinate the queen. And now I’m trapped with Elina Shestakova of the Black Bear Riders of the Midnight…gods! That endless name!
But what am I to do? I am Celyn the Charming with direct orders from my queen to protect this unforgiving female.
Even more shocking, this unforgiving female is completely unimpressed by me. How is that even possible? But I know what I want and, for the moment, I want her. And I’m sure that she, like all females, will learn to adore me. How could she not when I am just so damn charming?
Funny, utterly irreverant and snarky, G.A. Aiken’s Dragon Kin series is the ultimate feel good, light hearted fantasy.
When I saw the seventh instalment listed on Netgalley, I just had to take a chance and see if I’d get lucky – which I did!
One thing I really enjoy about these books is the female characters – whether they’re brutal, ass-kicking warriors, or magical princesses who abhor violence, they are never, ever shown as weak, which I think is admirable.
In this particular book, we have the charming but incessantly curious and chatty Celyn, and Elina of The Very Long Name as our main couple, who frustrate each other no end. I also love the fact that although we know there’ll be a HEA, it’s never quite smooth sailing.
The author really took the piss out of patriarchal stereotypes – you know those fantasy books where the women are subjugated, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, etc? Yeah, this isn’t that book.
Like most Daughters of the Steppes, she’d been taught that men served three purposes – breeding, child rearing and trash removal.
“I do not know why you get so angry. There is no shame for male to have pretty face. It is better for you. Warrior female will notice you and make you one of her husbands one day.”
“No warrior wants to come home to a hut full of ugly husbands. Yes, a few ugly ones who can hunt, protect children and weaker, older tribesmen, and make sure everything runs smoothly. But the rest should be pretty. So a warrior is glad to be home after a day of hacking and killing.”
“I would never want to be a man…You have no control of emotions. If we leave you to yourselves, you destroy without thought; rage without reason; and attempt to fuck anything that wants you to leave them be.”
“We’re not all like that.”
“But most. And your lack of control makes all of you essentially weak, even though your upper bodies have so much strength. It is sad.”
While at times exaggerated and over the top, with some rather bloody violence, I still enjoy the world the author has built, with plenty of ongoing political intrigue and machinations that build on what was begun in book one. And it was great to see all our favourite (if slightly psychotic) characters make an appearance – I can’t wait for the books of the twins and Rhi – they have so much potential to shake things up.
All in all, a rollicking read that had me smiling the whole way through. And you can’t ask for more than that.
Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.