Title: Dragon Magic
Author: Megan Derr
Series: – –
Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance
Four strangers. A shared moment long forgotten. A bond forged in desperation.
On the first day of the Festival of Counting, the beginning of the royal census that takes place every ten years, the royal city is filled to overflowing. Everyone is happy, excited, and proud to be counted amongst those who live in the glorious kingdom of Orhanis.
Then a demon strikes, killing thousands in mere seconds and leveling the city. As the royal castle burns, only four men remain to drive the demon away—and in their desperation, accidentally bind themselves together in a legendary Oath, unable to part ways until they find and kill the demon once and for all.
Mahzan, the King’s Jester, an orphan who clawed his way to the top and hides a fearsome magic… Sule, the notorious North Captain, who sacrificed everything to live as a strong, capable, highly respected man… Cemal, a priest who traveled the continent bent on revenge and now lives lost… and Binhadi, the mercurial shadow mage with a dark history and bloody ties to the throne…
Four men used to standing apart, standing alone, who must learn to stand together if they hope to save themselves and all of Orhanis.
Source: ARC from Less Than Three Press via NetGalley
For the most part I enjoyed this tale of four men and the magic that binds them together, leading to love and adventure and plenty of other things along the way. Mostly because I liked the characters.
Mahzan is showy and flamboyant and I loved him. He’s argumentative and loves being the centre of attention, but I rarely found him annoying. He helped keep things interesting and his magic definitely made the bond more convenient. Because I liked Mahzan so much, it took me a long time to warm to Sule, the surly soldier. He does have his reasons for being so stoic and grumpy – thanks to his family’s refusal to believe that he is actually a man, despite their transphobic beliefs – but he also has an exceedingly short temper, can be prone to arrogance and often bickers with Mahzan for no apparent reason.
Cemal, by comparison, is an absolute marshmallow and a sweetheart with a tragic past but a wicked sense of humour. Then there’s Binhadi, the man whose POV we see the least and who has the deepest most complicated secrets. As with Sule, it took me a while to warm to Binhadi, mostly because I was expecting him to spring surprises at any moment.
The four make for an interesting group, and I enjoyed seeing how their partnership grew over the course of the book. When the romance happened, it felt natural, and I liked seeing how Binhadi especially changed as their bond deepened.
However, the pacing is a choppy, with a lot of time and distance skipped, especially towards the end, and the plot veered heavily from the quest to the romance, then back to the quest again as it seemed to remember these four were brought together for a reason. Some of the action scenes were a bit confusing to follow too, while others were quick and rather too convenient. As for the ending – where suddenly we’re thrown into the future to look back at history – that left me feeling really unsatisfied with how things turned out and definitely left me wanting to know more about what really happened to them all.
So it’s a mixed one. I loved the characters and the idea is great, but the plot didn’t quite hold up all the way through and the ending was rather disappointing. I liked it, but couldn’t quite love it as much as I wanted to.
Dragon Magic is Out Now.
Visit Megan Derr for more details.