Review: Power Play by A.J. Marcus

power playRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella


Calvin came out of college and had a difficult time getting an internship. All of his choices were taken, and he winds up at Naga Industries working for the head of the company, Draeke Lindwurm. Dreake wants nothing to do with an intern, especially because Calvin is a human. Calvin’s always late, is clumsy, and doesn’t dress very well. However, Draeke has a PA who is determined to make him keep Calvin around.

While on a private plane headed to Shanghai, Calvin confesses to Draeke he’s attracted to him. Draeke lets him down by telling him he thinks Calvin is entirely average and not someone he’d be interested in. Calvin doesn’t have much time to be upset because, as soon as they land, he’s kidnapped. Now, Draeke has no choice but to save Calvin and the valuable, top secret information he’s carrying.

Anyone who reads my reviews knows I love shifters. I’m really into wolves, but I’m always willing to try something different. So, when I saw the opportunity to read about a dragon shifter, I jumped on it.

Power Play isn’t a bad book. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. The concept is great. A human intern for the most powerful man/dragon in the world (and I mean that literally) is a fun idea, and while I don’t think the story misses any sort of mark, it just didn’t move me.

Let me start with Calvin and Draeke. I had a bit of a time liking them at first. Calvin was a procrastinator and a little slobbish (is that a word?). Who doesn’t wear a tie on their first day of work at a huge company? Draeke was rather rude and catty. He kept referring to Calvin as average, and humans in general as if they were nuisances. It felt more than just arrogance. We’ve all encountered stories where the boss MC appears that way, but the average thing kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t start to care about them until after the kidnapping. Once that started rolling, I warmed to them. When they finally get together, it was quick…almost unbelievable. However, considering this is a dragon shifter book, suspending believability is not really a problem. They don’t have sex until the last chapters of the story, and that’s fine. When it was finally time, it was romantic and erotic. It worked well with those characters and their situation.

There are a lot of background characters…the bad guy, of course, and I’m not going to reveal who it is, and two good guys who provided some humor as well as being indispensable to Draeke and Calvin. Arach (he’ll also answer to Eric) the PA, is funny and flamboyant, and he cares for his grouchy boss. He also really likes Calvin and wants him to succeed. Next is Lizzarrdo, and if that’s not the greatest name of any character I’ve ever read, I’ll eat my hat. He’s Draeke’s cousin, pilot, and confidante. Finally, there is Tao Lin, a panda shifter and translator for the bad guys. He’s being held prisoner right along with Calvin and has been treated horribly. All these guys, plus the unnamed men working on both sides, fulfill their roles perfectly and really enhanced the story.

The mystery/intrigue/action had a lot of potential, but because Power Play is a novella rather than a novel, it seemed to lack a lot of information that would have really fleshed out the plot. That doesn’t make it bad, by any means. I found it to be interesting enough to be absorbed, and seeing how this is book one is a series, I’m more than willing to read book two. I’m going cautiously recommend this book, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

kenna sig

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