Dragons DuJour: Shifter Romances Are Having a Dragon-y Moment
By Madeline Iva
We seem to be having a dragon moment in Romance-landia, so let’s take a wee look at three books doing the dragon thing and talk about why someone like me–who may be somewhat like you–finds myself diving into dragons even though I’m usually not into the shifter thing.
G.A. Aiken’s books have always been highly recommended by my reader pal Donna, who’s all up on the shifter-romance scene. Everyone else in the PNR world knows G.A. Aiken too, of course, and worships at her alter.
Look! A blurb:
It’s not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear – a lot – or else salute. It’s true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother’s soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way, she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer.
Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe – a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fill her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn’t get any stranger. She’s wrong…
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We get it already: Fearghus and the hot knight are the one and the same…no surprises there. Three things to convince you to try this book if the 1200+ reviews on Goodreads hasn’t…
#1 As one reviewer put it: a bloodthirsty, batshit crazy warrior princesses Yes. My kind of gal. Tods.
#2 Hot semi-nekkid guy on the cover –now that’s *my* kind of fantasy! (Note the semi-nekkid guy on the cover of my own fantasy romance Wicked Apprentice) As readers the semi-nekkid guy seems to offer us the promise of hot sex between the pages. Indeed there is a lot of hot sex in DRAGON ACTUALLY.
#3 Humor & Fluff = mindless entertainment. I hope the author doesn’t mind my saying that. It’s just that these days, I’m all about mindless entertainment. And I very much appreciate humor in my romances.
But let me put out a hypothesis: I think dragons are a very different from typical shifter romances. (And by ‘typical’, I mean wolf-shifter. I know not from all other kinds of shifters: lions & tigers & bears–oh my!) See, to be honest—I’m not a real shifter reader. In fact, I want to say that there are two kinds of paranormal readers out there: wolf-shifter readers and vampire readers. Wolf shifter readers like packs and pack hierarchies. Vampire readers don’t.
Which is not to imply any disrespect to shifter readers at all. But I wonder if dragon shifter romances are shifter romances that can snag in the rest of us–the vampire gals. Why? We’re talking loners in lairs. Heroes who are not enmeshed in pissing contests with others for supreme alpha status. They’re not up to their necks in pack politics–tropes which are fabulous, don’t get me wrong–but aren’t really my thing as a romance reader.
Sue London turned me on to Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians series. The aliens in that series were massive, blue, and their dicks had some extra features. (!) That series totally hit the entertaining-light n fluffy-sweet spot. Adriana Anders made me aware that Ruby Dixon has created a dragon series set in post-apocalyptic Texas. A much more edgy series–there is a rift in the sky through which dragons from another time/world enter into our world, wreaking havoc upon humanity and the planet, while ordinary people scramble to survive.
Ruby Dixon’s dragons come in different color assortments which designate different things about them (red dragons are females, apparently) but they’re still all about the solitary alone time with the female love-interest.
Our heroine is sent out in very much a ye olde sacrifice-y way. She’s cast out from the community as dragon bait. But this gal is not your typical shrinking virgin offering. Despite the fact that they can’t understand each other at first, her dragon manages to forge a link of communication with her. And it turns out that the dragon is very sweet, (aside from the dragon mayhem destroying the world stuff, of course…) Unlike Aiken, Dixon makes us wait wait wait for them to knock boots – something that annoyed some readers. Yet for others, the trust-building was well worth the wait.
A DRAGON’S DESTINY (Dragons #1) is a third and completely different take on the whole dragon thing. This series involves time travel and the Viking Gods. Gods like Odin are worried about dragons bringing forth their final downfall. So they want all the dragons destroyed. One of the gods doesn’t agree with this plan. She gathers up some dragons eggs and hides them like massive easter eggs through different times in history.
Our heroine growing up in our modern age is mastering all kinds of ye olde skills at the same time that she works as a police officer. She is a warrior in training, really, and one with a crappy love life. She winds up discovering that she’s well neigh unkillable and also a (wait for it!) a dragon. Skipping through time to fight bad guys, she finds her one true love who is managing his own political hornet’s nest back in the 1520’s.
This is a very different series from the others. Namely:
- Female dragon shifter (Nice!)
- POC heroine
- Viking Gods
As a side note, Glasneck’s series takes an interesting right turn towards another kind of Viking god – Hel.
Lady Hel, the ruler of Helheim, is cursed for disobeying Odin’s order. Stripped of her position, she’s imprisoned on an ostentatious estate until she is able to find love. Unfortunately, Lady Hel has never had luck or use for love.
Harley Anderson is a seven-year college senior with no idea what to do with his life. So far all he’s come up with is killing time. When his best friend dares him to hop the gate of what’s supposed be a haunted house, he encounters a woman who steals a lot more than his breath. And what she’s offering could give him the future he’s missing.
So check it out my pretties! Click on any of the book covers above to go git you some Dragons. Let me know in the comments section below if you you buy into my “There only two kinds of PNR romance readers” theory. If you don’t agree–tell me why not! 🙂
Madeline Iva is the twisted sister you always wish you had. She’s also the author of the fantasy romance Wicked Apprentice. Check out her other Lady Smut posts, Join her newsletter or follow her on Facebook, twitter, and Pinterest.
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