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Heart of the Dragon: A Paranormal Romance Novel (Atlantis) Mass Market Paperback – December 22, 2009
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No man should be without hope. -Grace's thoughts.
"Fire flew out of your mouth." Grace gaped. "Fire really and truly flew out of your mouth."
"But fire flew out of your mouth."
"I did tell you I was a dragon."
"I just didn't expect fire to fly out of your freaking mouth."-Grace and Darius.
"I've seen enough movies and read enough books to know that sometimes the safest course of action is to retreat."
"And sometimes the safest course of action is the wrong one."-Grace and Darius.
Excercise...how she was coming to loathe the word. It was a thing more foul than low-fat ranch dressing.-Grace's thoughts.
"I'm so ready to nail the Argonauts to the wall," she muttered to Darius.
A genuine smile played at the corner of his lips. "I had not realized before what a bloodthirsty wench you are. Try to contain your bloodlust long enough that we might question this Mitch."
"Bloodlust?" she gasped, then realized he thought she literally meant to nail Mitch to the wall. "I meant-oh, never mind." Whether she meant it or not, the idea had merit. "I'll try to contain myself."-Grace and Darius.
"You lead the way, baby. I'll follow you anywhere. "-Alex to Teira.
She was a treasure more rich and satisfying than any other. He would protect her with his life.-Darius' thoughts about Grace.
"What are you willing to do for me to save your woman?"
"Call off your bloodsuckers, and I will not burn down your home."-Layel and Darius.
"What's your naughtiest fantasy?" she murmured against his collarbone. She bit down, not hard enough to break the skin, but hard enough to leave her mark. "Perhaps I can make it come true."
"You are my fantasy, Grace." His hands cupped her jaw, and he forced her to look up at him. "Only you."-Grace and Darius.
"You are more important to me than air," he said. "More important than water. You, Grace, are my only necessity."-Darius to Grace.
Ok, it's a romance. I'm not reading for deep plots. But one that has a logical progression would be nice.
Shortly receiving a package from her brother, Grace Carlyle found herself lost in the Amazon Jungle trying to find him. But instead of finding him, she stumbled through the portal her brother intended to find into Atlantis, a world full of mystical creatures, and was captured by the sexy-beyond-words Darius.
Darius en Kragin, a shape-shifting dragon, was the Guardian of one of the portals to Atlantis. Having had his own family slaughtered by human "travelers," he was entrusted to kill any beings who dares cross the portal - intentionally or not - in order to protect their land. Over the centuries, he had lost his emotions, until he met Grace, and for the first time as a Guardian, he wasn't able to perform his duty. So instead, he brought her back to his castle and locked her up.
It wasn't long before she was able to escape back to her world, and although he knew he couldn't survive for an extended period of time there, he followed her, convincing himself it was for the sake of the secrecy of his land. Intended only to find her missing brother, together they found out the owner of her brother's company had joined forces with the Vampires in Atlantis to rip the Dragon's castle of wealth and to wipe out their entire race. Now with all that chaos, Darius must sort out his feelings for Grace, and try to save his land while keeping her.
A couple weeks ago, when I just finished Kresley Cole's Kiss of a Demon King and I was in between her books (again!), I saw readers on her board recommending Gena Showalter's Atlantis series. Having seen her "Author Talk" videos, the image of Gena Showalter being super funny was imprinted in my mind, and with some of the nice reviews on Amazon.com, I figured I'd try out the first book of the Atlantis series, Heart of the Dragon. (Oh, ok, I'll admit that another reason I chose to start with this one is because I really loved the cover. SEXY! ;P ) Unfortunately, it disappointed.
What I liked:
The prologue of the book was very well written with the tragic past of Darius and how he became a Guardian. It stirred up emotions that made me serious want a HEA ending for him because of what had happened to him in the past. It also kept the pages turning, because I was eager to see what kind of a mate Gena Showalter had planned for him.
The author also did a good job with Grace's reaction to the idea of her being in another world - Atlantis - when she first realized she was there. Grace actually did go through some sort of shock/denial period prior to her acceptance of where and what Darius was. This was a transition period that is commonly overlooked/missed by some authors, causing their story to range from "less believable than it should have been" to "utterly ridiculous." In the case of Grace, although her shock/denial period wasn't very long, it made sense because of her brother's line of work, and her believing the existence of mythical beings, to a certain degree.
What I didn't like:
Despite the strong prologue, the rest of the book did not live up to the expectations it set. First of all, although Grace's reaction to the world of Atlantis was well-written, her initial reaction to Darius was not logical at all. Ok, I understand that he was the sexiest man on Earth, but it did not make any sense whatsoever to be ogling him when he was ready to take a swing with his sword to end your life.
Secondly, although I could somewhat understand how Darius was interested in her - afterall, he felt emotions and senses for the first time in 300 years when he first saw her - I couldn't understand how that "interest" turned into "love." And the same goes for Grace. From the time they met until they declared (at least to themselves) that they love each other, all that was shown was their lust toward each other. Well, Grace did feel sorry for Darius when she learned of his past, but there was nothing beyond sympathy that was described. So I was taken by surprised when, 3/4-way through the book, Grace all of a sudden realized she was in love with him. I was like "Huh??? What??? How???" (I'm sure if it was possible, my pupils would have turned into question marks or something). It's not that I have any problem with a couple lusting for each other, and then eventually loving each other, but there must be some valid turning point in between. Unfortunately, that turning point was not present in Gena Showalter's Heart of the Dragon.
The whole story was also kind of flat in my opinion. There were several places that could have been more exciting and could have made the book more of a page turner. Unfortunately, the writing style could not put me on the edge of my seat, and, other than the prologue, there was no particular scene where I couldn't put down the book to do something else. Although, for the record, I did finish the book in two days, when I was off and at home with nothing else to do, I never hesitated to put it down for a break or to do something else entirely different.
Unfortunately, Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter is not a paranormal romance novel that I would recommend if you're choosing among a variety of available books. It certainly did not make it to my "Must Read" list. I would admit that since it was the first book I've read by her, it certainly didn't give me the best impression; however, this will not be the last book I'll be reading from her. I do plan to try her Lords of the Underworld series, since I've heard it was better. So, as of now, I'll be putting the Atlantis series on indefinite hold on my reading list, and when I've no more books to read, I might just get back to it and give it a second chance.
This review was initially written for my blog.
Imagine his surprise when Grace a human woman looking for her brother in the Amazonas stumbles through.
What to do? Follow his duty to kill her or succumb to the desire flowing through his veins.
This is a great start in the Atlantis series. I highly recommend it.