Hi there! Today I’m sharing a throwback Thursday review of an adult paranormal romance from Kerrelyn Sparks. EIGHT SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING A DRAGON is an adventure for an outcast elf trying to save her dear friend’s child from a marauding dragon. It’s the third book in a series, but read fine as a standalone.
Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. When the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…
Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart?
Gwennore is an outcast elf living on a remote Isle of Moon with other women who were also outcast for being born on the eclipse of the planet Aerthlan’s twin moons. These “embraced” women seem to hold the key to peace and prosperity of the four kingdoms of Aerthlan. They have made a bit of a society, and two of her “sisters” have recently found love.
While celebrating one of the two feast days of Moon, a child of one of Gwennore’s adoptive sisters is kidnapped by a marauding dragon, and she demands that the dragon who was chasing the first bring her in pursuit to save her “niece”. Gwennore’s journey is frightful, but she lands safely in Norveshka and immediately learns of the strife at court. It seems the queen of Norveshka is gravely ill, and thinks her dead daughter is still alive–she’s had the dragons off stealing replacement “princesses” which is what the dragon had been doing. General Silas Dravenko has been trying to prevent such occurrences, knowing it threatens the peace between nations, and he’s eager to return the little girl to her parents–who happen to be the monarchs of a neighboring nation. He’s not so eager to return Gwennore, however. Not only does he find her very attractive–a novelty for Gwennore as she’s been an outcast her whole life–but Gwennore’s ability to find the source and cure of a disease is especially appealing. Perhaps she can find a cure for the disease the Queen suffers.
It doesn’t take long to find out the Queen is being poisoned, but how, and by whom? Posing as a lover to the general, Gwennore is in a good position to stay close to the queen, and help her recover. In the meantime, Silas and Gwennore are steadily falling for one another. This is dangerous, because the elves are staunch enemies of the dragons of Norveshka. Having been raised on Moon, however, Gwennore doesn’t have any prejudice against the dragon land, or its people. And Silas knows this. He also expects she won’t stick around once she learns the heart of the long-held secrets in Norveshka. As a member of one of the three “cursed clans” Silas has shifter abilities he’s not eager to share with the class–or an elf who might become a sympathizer to Norveshka’s enemies.
It’s a bit of a slow burn romance, and there’s not much sensuality on the page. I liked the themes of overcoming prejudice, and fighting for what’s right, even when it’s uncomfortable and unappreciated. Having started in the middle of the series, I didn’t feel like I missed much, as this romance for Gwennore was really contained and explored in only this story–all the other “sister” characters had side parts. We get a decent amount about Sorcha, as she is an “Embraced” from Norveshka–Silas’ born sister in fact. I wondered if she would star in the next book, but I haven’t checked on that just yet.
For me, it was a fun read. I think I had two major issues: the anachronistic dialogue and baby talk. The world here seems lush and lively, a bit old-fashioned and steeped in lore and mystery. But, the common use of English slang would snap me out of the fantasy. And, the girl who’d been dragon-napped spoke with that ear-grating, nerve-stretching lispy-talk that I can’t tolerate. Having had four kids with varying phoneme emergence, I just get stabby about making kids sound like eenie-weenie-babies, and that’s how her dialogue sounded as I read it. I was glad she didn’t stay on the page long. I’d definitely read on in the series.
About the Author:
Kerrelyn Sparks apparently has issues with reality. After writing more than a dozen books about vampires, she has now completely gone off the deep end and wound up on another planet. But how thrilling that she can share this magical new world with her readers! Although she is best known (so far) for the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list, she hopes her readers will love The Embraced as much as they did her merry band of vamps and shifters.
To learn more about her paranormal, historical, and upcoming out-of-this-world fantasy romances, please visit Kerrelyn on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!