Tour’s Books Blog

November 17, 2009

Book Review: Dragon Storm by Bianca D’Arc

  • Title: Dragon Storm
  • Author: Bianca D’Arc
  • Type: Alternate world paranormal romance
  • Genre: Erotic ménage romance; shifter; series
  • Sub-genre: Dragon Knights series
  • My Grade: C+ (3.2*)
  • Rating: xx
  • Length: about 80,000 words – full novel length for $4.95 introductory to be $5.50
  • Where Available: ebook available at Samhain; not available in print at this time
  • FTC Disclosure: purchased ebook on publisher website

Bianca D’Arc is a favorite writer of mine and when she’s on, she’s excellent, when she isn’t, it’s often average with glimmers of her potential coming through.  Unfortunately, Dragon Storm falls into that second group.  I don’t know if it’s the pressure to write too many books a year or not, but this fluctuation in the depth of character and complexity of story is very noticeable.  The same wide variations can be seen in her Blood Brothers vampire series.  In her Dragon Knights series, it stays mostly above average, but here we go back to shallow, poorly developed characters whose sole purpose seems to be to introduce another set of lead characters.  If you haven’t read her previous Dragon Knights books, you might find some of this confusing.

The royal family of Draconia are shifters, black dragons, something that not many know.  Like non-shifting dragons, they generally find one mate.  The Knights each have a telepathic link to a dragon and dragon and knight become a fighting pair.  But dragons need mates, which means the knights share a woman.  Think of Anne McCaffery’s Dragonriders series with an erotic twist.  Here the knights form ménages, 2 males and one female willing to be shared by two knights and live with dragons.  Since the royal family are all shifters, they form single bonds, or in the case of twin brothers, sometimes ménages.  It’s not a matter of necessity as it is with the knights, but just the twin bond that sometimes works that way.  The nature of the relationship with the psychic links with knights and dragons, and dragons having rather exhibitionist tendencies, combined with the dearth of women willing to live the life of a knights wife, gives them all a tendency to semi-public sex.

The royal family has two sets of twin bothers and a total of 8 brothers.  Roland is eldest and king of Draconia and his brother Nico, a few years younger and known as the Prince of Spies, is next.  (Prince of Spies is one of the best books in the series along with Firedrake)  Both have mated.  In Firedrake, their youngest brother, Wil, is kidnapped and returned just a week later – but 5 years older thanks to being held on Gryphon Isle, an island protected by one of the remaining wizards.  With each successive book, the lands and peoples involved in the battle of good and evil enlarges and the royal family learns more their own world – and in this book, ours.

A flight of gryphon are seen headed toward Draconia from Gryphon Isle.  With them is Shanya, one of the fair folk and a seer that is known to Wil.  She brings with her two talismans for the twins, not knowing there are two sets of twins in the royal family.  Using the telepathy that dragons have, Roland tells one of each set of twins to shift to human.  Shanya immediately walks up to Connor, the most suspicious of the twins and asks where is brother is.  Though he can feel the magic in the talisman, he doesn’t slip it around his neck.  Darius, more trusting of Wil’s judgeent, puts his own.  

The talismans are key to the plot of Dragon Storm.  After a night of feasting, Darius and Connor head on another boring routine patrol to the Norther Lair.  While flying there in dragon form they’re caught in a huge, magical storm.  When they land, they are on Earth, in our Northwest in a remote area of a National Forest, Darius with an injured wing.  They see smoke from a cabin and head that way in human form.  It’s the impetuous, injured Darius who chooses to approach the cabin when he sees a woman.   Josie Marpa, a snowcat shifter, watches a strange man approach thinking it’s another lost hiker or hunter accidentally shot by another.  One scent of the man and she knows the stranger is no ordinary human, he’s also her mate. Cue the irresistible sex urge.  Enter brother Connor and a threesome.

Snowcats are more ‘magical’ than other shifters.  Like the dragons, their clothes stay with them when they shift and, when in cat form, they are surrounded by an aura of light.  They are also more mystical.  Josie, like all snowcats, has Tibetan blood.  Her now deceased father was from a small community of snowcats high in the mountains and, after her mother’s death when she was a teen, her grandfather took her back there, raised her and taught her of her legacy.  To get her men home, she must get them to her grandfather.  Using a network of shifters, she manages to smuggle them into Tibet in one day. (hummmmm)  With the aid of her grandfather and the two dragons, they go to a cave that can only be reached by air.  In it her grandfather helps the recover 3 items – a talisman for Josie that seems to be a mate to the ones the brothers have, and two fighting staffs, one for each brother.  With the three talismans Josie can call a storm to take them back to the brothers world.  (Lots of sex in the cabin, the Alpha’s house and Tibet)

The twins and Josie land back on their world and see a large force moving south.  Soon Roland Nico and the other brothers meet them at the Northern Lair.  Josie has to prove she’s a snowcat, a creature thought to long extinct on their world.  But the force moving south is actually snowcats looking for Josie.  The mate they are so desperate to find isn’t who they were expecting.

The problems with Dragon Storm are several.  Many scenes are generic to her other dragon knights books – like the wedding feast and the following sex scene – leaving me with a ‘been there, done that’ feel.  Neither Darius or Connor have any character to speak of.  They’re handsome window dressing, more noticeable after the well written Firedrake. Despite it’s full novel length, Dragon Storm read like a fast, easy, novella.  Josie has only slightly more character development, but again, not much.  The book had no real tension, the obstacles fell fast and furious.  It was all so smooth and easy, it was boring.  More so because the lead characters were blah and the dialogue without wit or verve.  The twins story could have been condensed into a secondary storyline in a complex novel.  At $5.50, you’ll get your money’s worth, but just barely.  If you’re following the series, it’s worth if.  If not, start with her earlier Dragon Knights books.

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