Shield of the Dragon
Author: Megan Derr
Title: Shield of the Dragon
Series: Dance with the Devil 6
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Pairing: M/M, M/F, Poly
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
In the aftermath of destroying two powerful syndicates and joining league with the last person he expected, all Ken wants is a chance to catch his breath, and maybe regain the attention of the man who said he wanted Ken as more than just a Steward but now seems to have lost interest. But every other day brings a new crop of people wanting to kill them, and it's only a matter of time before they succeed.
All Amr wants is time—time to move his clan and settle them into their new home, time with the dragon he never thought he'd own, and most of all he wants time for his Steward, to see the man rest and recover and stop getting himself almost killed every week. He wouldn't mind a chance to rekindle their fragile relationship either.
Diamond wants a life that feels worth living. The one he left behind wasn't all that great, but it beat waking up to the nasty results of a curse that should have killed him and working as a hitman for the Cambry Syndicate. Then he goes to fetch someone for his boss, and gets dragged even deeper into the strange paranormal world he's still learning to call home...
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The book opens from Diamond's point of view. A long time ago he was hit with a semi-failed Snow White curse, which means that he looks like a corpse and his blood is poisonous, but he's alive. That curse brought him into the supernatural world where he now works for a dragon pit boss. Exactly how he was cursed was given just enough detail to satisfy, but never really given enough depth to make Diamond's condition really sit well throughout the book. It just didn't gel properly for me. Yet, at the same time I liked his personality and overall characterization. I sometimes found myself speeding through the portions of the book narrated by Ken just to get back to Diamond. He was just that interesting.
Ken's story picks up where it left off at the end of Sword of the King, the direct prequel to Shield of the Dragon, and all the issues I had with SotK came roaring back. SotK was written twice, once well before Derr began publishing her work and a second time with LT3. The problem I've always had with SotK, and the series as a whole, is Derr can't seem to keep straight which portions of the series were posted for free online a long time ago and which parts of that original version were subsequently put into the series she's published. Much of the explanation and history for SotK, in particular, was never put in a published format and that lack continued forward to this story as well. (Some of it was eventually written in Risk it All, but not enough of it.) It made Shield of the Dragon difficult to follow at times.
Also, much of the detail that was given in previous books was relied on too heavily. Character descriptions, powers, how magic works, the world-building, etc., was all explained in other books in the series. Yes, this is a sequel to those books, but at least a minor refresher was necessary to make certain this book had enough depth, and I wasn't given any of that. To fully appreciate Shield of the Dragon, I would have had to read both versions of Sword of the King as well as all the other books in the series first.
My other issue with this story was it felt like it was written more to set up additional books in the series rather than to have its own plot. Two potential sequels for Midnight were clearly outlined: one directly after Midnight ends and one set in the present time. Too many pages of the book were focused on that, rather than on the actual plot.
I do have to say, what little plot actually made it into this book was an excellent read, which is why this story deserved three petals. I'm looking forward to rereading the entire series and then trying Shield of the Dragon a second time to see if that helps with my overall enjoyment.
I do recommend this book. It was yet another interesting and well-formed story, exactly what I've come to expect and appreciate from Derr. However, I thought the plotting was a little weak in this story. It relied too heavily on things in the past and future books, rather than highlighting its own, distinct plot. Overall, I liked it, but there were enough issues that I could only give it three petals.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.