Author: Amy Rae Durreson
Series: Reawakening #1
Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance
For a thousand years, since their defeat of the Shadow at Eyr, the dragons have slept under the mountains. Now their king, Tarnamell, has woken. Driven mad by loneliness, he hurls himself south until he finds and tries to claim the Alagard Desert. Unfortunately, the desert already has a guardian spirit, and he doesn’t want to share. Amused by the cocky little desert spirit, Tarn retreats, planning to return in human form.
When his caravan enters the desert, however, Alagard is missing. Rumors fly of a dark power, and soon Tarn’s caravan encounters the living dead and an amnesiac mage called Gard.
Forced to take refuge in the Court of the Shells, a legendary fortress in the heart of the desert, Tarn, Gard, and their allies decide to seek out the Shadow before it destroys the desert. But to confront the Shadow, Tarn needs to gather his strength. A dragon’s power depends on the love and loyalty of his human hoard, but Tarn’s original hoard has been dead for centuries. Before he can face his most ancient enemy, he must win the trust of new followers and the heart of a cynical desert spirit.
Source: Review copy from Dreamspinner Press via NetGalley
This is a fun M/M fantasy romance between an ancient, freshly awoken dragon and the desert spirit who catches his attention. It’s set in a richly detailed world, with plenty of friends made along the way and a big evil bad thing to fight. And a dragon, because that’s always worth a second mention.
Speaking of Tarn, I loved the idea of a dragon’s hoard being made up of people and love, rather than cold treasure. The loss of Tarn’s hoard is a palpable pain for him, since he’s been asleep for a thousand years, and it’s no wonder that he wants to form a new one. However, being an old dragon, he doesn’t quite grasp the fact that people don’t understand what a dragon’s hoard actually is anymore. This was a point I both really liked and found irritating. Because it’s so obvious to Tarn that he doesn’t see the need to explain what he means, while everyone else around him is confused – or, in Gard’s case, appalled – by the notion of belonging to the dragon. But there was something adorable about Tarn reassuring people that they were safe because they were under his wing.
However, talking isn’t really a thing that Tarn or Gard do. I like them both as individuals – though I do prefer Tarn over the flirty/prissy Gard – but sometimes I could shake the pair of them when they’re together. Tarn never explains anything, he just expects Gard to get it, while Gard switches from flirty to furious at the blink of an eye, and has a tendency to always jump to the worst conclusion – where Tarn is concerned anyway. And he flounces. Tarn sulks, but the ephemeral desert spirit flounces and scours with his biting scorn.
Although, given how the pair first get together, Gard could be forgiven for some of his behaviour. That was the one part of the book I didn’t like so much. Tarn knows who Gard is, knows that he holds power over him, knows everything in fact, while Gard has no idea, thanks to a bit of memory loss. Because Tarn holds all the power and is purposefully keeping Gard in the dark, it added a layer of dubious consent to their early relationship that I was a little uncomfortable about. Tarn doesn’t even try putting Gard off, or even think about explaining things, he just goes along with it. Yes, he’s old and a dragon, but his remembrances of past lovers shows that he isn’t all beast and no consideration. True, this never bothers Gard, but it bothered me. Especially when Gard gets so up in arms over other things.
Away from these two are a bundle of fascinating characters who tend to come and go as needed in the plot. This is kind of a shame, because some of them (Sethan and Cayl in particular) clearly have fascinating stories of their own that I really want to know, and I liked having them around. There were also times when the plot drags along, before jumping into an action sequence that roars off in double-quick time. There’s a lot of build-up – perhaps too much at times – so when everything is over so quickly it can feel a touch disappointing.
However, overall, I really liked this. I love Tarn and the nature of these dragons, I liked Gard and the elemental spirits, and I loved the difference between the two of them and where they gained their strength from. I also liked the extra story at the end that hints at more interesting things to come from this world and these characters. I can’t wait to see where this series heads next.
Reawakening is Out Now!
Visit Amy Rae Durreson for more details.