Devi has about had it with mages. All she wants to do is her job, which is slaying the dragons that plague the country. She doesn’t have time or energy to spare for coddling or pandering to the fussy mages she keeps getting stuck with as partners. Unfortunately, her last mage was also a noble with clout, and Devi has the feeling her days as a Combatant are numbered.
Instead of reprimand or termination however, she winds up with a new assignment and a new partner: Noeme, who is competent, friendly, distractingly attractive—and far too good to be true.
Note: This story was first published in the Vixen anthology
Source: ARC from Less Than Three Press via NetGalley
I enjoyed this quick slice of fantasy. It has a fairly standard setting – dragons, mages, combatants/knights, a pseudo-Medieval European setting – which most readers will be familiar and comfortable with. Fans of Sasha L. Miller will also be familiar with her style of pitching a grumpy character against a much more easy going one. In this case Devi is the grumpy combatant who is fed up of rich, whiny mages getting in the way when she’s trying to do her job.
I would have liked to have known more about what happened between her and her previous mage partner, since the potential reprimand weighs on Devi’s thoughts a fair bit throughout the book, and perhaps a bit more about the other mages she’s clashed with. Devi’s not the most likeable character, being very prickly, with a hefty chip on her shoulder regarding wealthy mages and her own personal reasons for becoming a combatant, so it might have been nice to know what really went on (even from her pov) to see whether she really was to blame in all cases.
Luckily, Noeme is her complete opposite. Not that we get to know her all that well, but she tends to smile and maintain a cheerful attitude even when Devi’s being her most anti-mage. She also proves herself to be competent, which is nice. However, it seems she too has frequently been partnered with less decent combatants, making it seem as if these two are the only professional people out there.
I liked the different classes of dragons that the pair discuss on their way to deal with the threat, but I have to admit it might have been nice to have had more dragons. Or at least more dragon time. Still, this is only a novella and the plot is definitely split between dragon threat and romance, so I suppose the romance trumped any more dragon action. The romance itself is sweet and fairly straightforward, showing a softer side to Devi – which is definitely needed.
Overall this is an enjoyable read with a standard fantasy world and a sweet romance. It’s not my favourite of Miller’s tales, but if you’re looking for an easy, F/F romance with fantasy elements, this definitely fits the bill.
Slaying Dragons is Out Now!
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