My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In terms of paranormal romance, Keri Arthur scores pretty high on the sexytimes meter. When I read her Riley Jenson Guardian series (set in Australia! I love Australia!), after reading the first in paperback, I had to buy the rest electronically, because I was waaaaay too embarrassed to be caught reading them in public. In fact, there were times I would have to look around just to make sure no one was reading over my shoulder.
The graphic sex aside, the books were fairly well written, and on one sleepless night, I accidentally bought another Keri Arthur book (oh, Nook! you are so good for instant gratification, and so bad for my pocketbook!) – the first in Keri’s Myth & Magic series (called “Destiny Kills”). So, a couple of weeks ago on yet another sleepless night, I thought I’d check out the second book in the series.
I was actually hoping for a little more of the protagonists in the first book, as they were really interesting characters, but this really is a stand-alone, and although those characters are mentioned, they are barely even peripheral.
Mercy is a draman. That’s half human/half dragon for the uninitiated (Ms. Arthur sure does love her halfsy main characters – in Destiny kills the main character is half air dragon/half sea dragon, and Riley Jenson [who got her own 9-book series] is half werewolf/half vampire). She wakes up all disoriented after a terrible car wreck and finds out that her bestie is dead. Now, ordinarily that would be sad enough, but for dragons, unless someone is hanging with your dead body at sunrise, you just burn up & your soul is doomed to…something…maybe wander the earth endlessly? ANYWAYS – it is bad.
BUT – there is hope! If Mercy can figure out who caused the accident that killed her bff, and then kill the person(s) responsible, her friend can go to the forever lands, which I’m assuming is Dragon Heaven. Unfortunately, she only has a week to do so!
In her quest to find out, not only who killed her friend, but is also killing a bunch of other dramans, she is kidnapped and meets Mr. Muerte. (That’s actually not his name, but instead his job description.) Muerte (or Damon, if you want to know his name) is a full-blooded air dragon who was also investigating the disappearance/murder of the dramans. Not because he (or the dragon council) particularly cares about these half-breeds, but more because some dragon king’s son accidentally got himself killed. (I think – I’m a little hazy on a couple plot points.)
Obvs Damon & Mercy have the hots for each other (sometimes literally, as she can control the air dragon fire gift even better than full-blooded air dragons, even if she missed out on getting wings), but will his prejudices and his commitment to his job as dragon council enforcer (of death!) get in the way? Will they find out who killed her friend and free the friend’s soul?
And the score!
Romance/Sexytimes: A- Not nearly as graphic as the Riley Jenson series, for which my flaming cheeks thank the author, but still plenty of tension & the sex scenes didn’t make me laugh! (Always good.)
Writing: B+ I think the story is well-crafted and fairly well written. I’ve recently tried to read what is possibly the worst-written paranormal romance of all time, and am tempted to give everyone who writes actual literate sentences an A+ from here on out. BUT – Keri Arthur is a great author, although I did prefer the Riley Jenson series, just for the authentic Australian slang! This series is set in the US, and although a few phrases made it through the editor, it wasn’t as much fun for me.
Paranormality: B I don’t find the settings to be as realistic (so-to-speak) as other series. Not to say there was anything particular I could point a finger at, but the whole “it’s okay if someone sees a dragon, no one will believe them” method of maintaining secrecy is a bit laughable. Especially when, if you’ve read the first in the series, you know that there are already a bunch of scientists capturing & studying the dragons.
Book Overall: B+ Not a bad job, really. Paranormal romances can get so out-of-control with trying to fit in all the mythology that they forget the story. This was a great story that would’ve been a straight-out dirty romance book if the protagonists weren’t dragons. The fact that they were is what makes me feel okay reading it!
Series Overall: B+/A- I’m not sure how I feel about grading the series, since both books in the series have really been stand-alones that don’t build on the previous stories.
So! I liked it! But, in all honesty, not quite as much as I liked the Riley Jenson series. Which is much, much dirtier (and, which I refer to as “werewolf p0rn”).