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Dragon Heat Paperback – 2007
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Top customer reviews
It's odd, actually, because the pieces were all there. The heroine, Lisa Singleton, was a competent, reasonably intelligent young woman who, upon the death of her grandmother, was making a life for herself as an assistant to a televised cooking show. She's survived a failed marriage and difficulties with her previous employment, and I thought her character was realistic and sympathetic. The male lead, Caleb, is the dragon protector - quite literally. He's been conscripted by witches who know his true name to watch over Lisa, though neither Caleb nor Lisa know the full reasoning behind it. When Caleb takes human form to guard Lisa from the black dragon who is willing to destroy the world and Lisa along with it by using a dragon orb to end his exile from the realm of dragons, the author wrote him in such a way that his otherness was believable...if a bit too childish and boorish at turns. Even the antagonists, the black dragon and the evil witch Donna, were reasonably represented...though the progression of story concerning the black dragon takes a bit of a turn and he ends up not being quite the evil that was originally indicated.
So with all those nice pieces, what could go wrong? Well, for me, it was much like the author failed to assemble those pieces into a coherent, seamless, and pleasing picture. The mechanics of the writing wasn't at fault, I didn't find any significant technical errors that would point out the why of the failure, but there just wasn't any cohesion to the story and it became very much like reading about marionettes being pulled about by their strings. I felt no chemistry between Lisa and Caleb, despite the obvious attempts to instill it. I felt no sense of true danger from the witch Donna. Instead, she struck me as more a craven and debauched power junkie. Malcolm, the black dragon, was more sinister and he turned out to be a relatively decent - if patently black dragon - male.
The two bright spots were the reveal of Lisa's true nature, and the evolution of the relationship between Malcolm and Saba. And the fact that THAT relationship was more interesting and compelling than Lisa and Caleb's is dangerously indicative of the problem. It's not their book - it shouldn't have been. I know many people enjoyed this book, and every opinion is valid, but for me, it just didn't work. I ended up feeling nothing at all about the characters and caring nothing at all about continuing the series. Well...maybe I'll try Malcolm's story.
Honestly, I was a lot more interested in him and Saba's story than the main characters, Lisa and Caleb's. For that reason I can't wait to read the sequel. Of this one, I liked the overall story because of the heavy fantasy dragon theme and I felt like the author's vivid descriptions of the San Francisco Bay Area took me back to my hometown I haven't visited in almost twenty years now. I felt like I was visiting these places myself again and it really made me nostalgic.
Bringing the subject back to one dragon over the other, for me it was pretty simple. I tend to like the "bad boys" or renegades in most of these kinds of stories. Caleb was beautiful in that cliche, Highlander sort of way (hey, not hatin' on the Highlanders - I like my sexy with a Scottish accent as much as the next girl) that you find in a lot of these fantasy stories. But Malcolm's character wasn't so squeaky clean and neither was his love interest, Saba, one of the witches he marks in an attempt to lure our main character, Lisa, to aid him in his return home to Dragonspace.
Of Lisa's character, I just wasn't enthralled. I really can't explain why she annoyed me so much because she really wasn't a bad character. I mean, she was likeable enough, but virtually everyone, friend and foe alike was hanging off of this woman's bra strap because of her inherited "powers". I got so tired of hearing about Lisa's powers, it wasn't even funny. I also can't get too much into that without moving into spoiler territory like so many reviewers appear to be fond of doing, but for her to be a woman in the position she was in I just didn't get the hype. I get that most of her weakness came out of her own ignorance of her abilities, but when it ultimately came down to the showdown, even with all of her powers she was hardly standing on her own, she still needed help and anything she did or didn't accomplish came down to that one fact - she didn't do it all by herself for all of her greatness.
Coming off of reading Allyson James' Tales of the Shareem series, I wasn't too disappointed. This series probably has a little more going for it than that series for those who felt the Shareem stories were a bit too one-dimensional and over-sexed. The sex in this story doesn't happen until well into the second half, but once it get's cookin' there's no turning back. You'll probably need a fire-extinguisher to put out those flames, okay? Most of those scenes took place between Lisa and Caleb so all of you Team Gold fans are going to be shaking your pom-poms in victory by the time this one is done. Us Team Black fans, however, get a taste of Malcolm's love nature and if you didn't know any better, you'd think there was a submissive streak in him at first look (mmm, just how I like my dragons). But that's all we get - a taste, boo! That's alright, I look forward to reading more about him in the next book.
Whatever side you choose, you can't lose - these dragons are hot!