Friday 21 September 2012

REVIEW: Dragon Heat, by Allyson James (3.5*)

(Berkley Sensation, 2007)

'She took several deep, dry breaths of air, and said, "Caleb?"  His smile returned and his eyes twinkled...  He spread his arms.  "In the flesh."'

Well now...  another bit of holiday fluff to chat about... What can I say about this one that the horrendously-bewigged Boden model on the cover hasn't already told you?  First up, can I just say that it was quite refreshing to be reading a paranormal romance novel about dragons rather than vampires, werewolves or angels?  I think I might like this series, actually...

Secondly, ignore the dude on the cover.  He really does look like he should be crop-haired, dressed in a button-down cardigan and riding a bike through the Cotswolds.  Instead, try picturing Caleb the golden dragon-warrior more like this:


*carefully rolls tongue back into head*  Aaaaah, much better.  ;)

Right... now, essentially this is a dragon sex book.  That's how I've been referring to it all week anyway, much to Mum's amusement.  It's about a beautiful part-Chinese girl called Lisa who has recently moved back to San Francisco to her late grandmother's apartment, where she has befriended the fifty-foot glittering golden dragon-guardian occupying the portal in her spare room.  As you do.  (Don't worry, all is explained... conveniently...)  Unfortunately, there is an EEEEVIL BLACK DRAGON wandering around the city in human form, which means that the only way Caleb the Golden Dragon can protect Lisa is to... whaddaya know?  Become human too!  Which he does, just in time to save Lisa from one of the black dragon's minions.

Of course, Lisa is a bit bemused to find herself suddenly face-to-pec with a six-foot-six naked man-hunk with amazing blue eyes and a shiny golden... armband (minds out of the gutter, people).  Caleb, for his part, is equally perturbed by his new complicated human emotions and interesting man-bits.  Naturally the only demonstrable response to this unexpected situation is to have lots of sex - so they do.  And in between bouts of energetic bed/wall/floor-shaking lurve, they also have to deal with the black dragon (who is actually just a little bit misunderstood), an evil witch who masquerades as a soccer mom, two extra witches, three incubi (read: excuse for lots more sex scenes), a dragon orb, a bottle of chocolate sauce, some near-fatal mishaps, a detour into Dragonspace, and the possibility that Lisa may be a whole lot more awesome than we all originally thought.

So far so predictable... but actually, I really enjoyed it!  Sure, it had its less-than-fine plotting moments/odd typos/occasional dialogue-based clunkiness, but it was still a fun novel with enough spice to satisfy paranormal romance junkies, enough dragon lore to keep things interesting, and enough substance to pull it together into a satisfying little comfort read.  It does what it says on the tin, surprised me once or twice, and actually made me cry at one point (at the sheer magnificence of Caleb's... nah, just kidding) - and that's good enough for me to say 'yay dragons!' and go find the next book in the series!

Notable Quotables:
  • 'Lisa sat up, her jaw dropping.  A tall, massively muscular man with long golden hair and eyes as blue as lapis lazuli held Greg by the neck in a powerful grip.  The man looked like a wrestler, his body rock solid, his face square and hard, his skin moving like liquid bronze over muscle.  He was also quite naked.'
  • 'Human women, he knew from watching television, would do anything to make themselves rail thin, including slicing into their bodies to remove bits of it.  Why, he could not fathom.  A woman was beautiful, whatever shape she happened to be.  She had curves in the right places and hair to stroke, and eyes to admire, and a smile to warm your heart.  He wished he could make them understand how perfect they were.'
  • 'Caleb and Malcolm were watching television.  Caleb held the remote, and both man-dragons stared with looks of rapt concentration at a basketball game being rerun on a sports channel.  "Ah," Lisa said.  "Male bonding."'

Source:  I think I probably nabbed this one from the shop!  Surprise surprise...  :)