Rating: 4 stars
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Dragons. For me, that’s enough said. I don’t know what I love more about dragons, the strong, sleek forms, the mystery and myth behind them, or their fierceness and the fact that they are top of the food chain. I love the strength and dominance of dragons. I enjoy just about all stories dragon, whether they be dragon shifters or dragons in their natural form. I’m not picky.
So needless to say, Storm Moon Press publishes an anthology focused solely on dragons and I’m all over it. And I’m not at all disappointed. Some of these tales I enjoyed more than others, but I liked something about them all. They are all quite unique. The fantasy in each story transports readers into a new and inventive world every time. Maybe it’s the dragons. Maybe it’s the fantasy. Maybe a little of both. I don’t know. What I do know is that I enjoyed this fun and distinct collection of dragon tales.
So, without further ado, here are my brief views on each story:
Fugue in Gold and Fire by Avery Vanderlyle
This is such a fun, creative story. The world is colorful and exciting. The writing is well done. And I really like the characters. Adri is the one we see the most in this story. He’s a little sad and introspective, but such a sweet character. He’s kind and giving. And he loves unconditionally. We don’t see as much of Dru as I’d like, but he’s a supportive lover, kind, and loyal. He is the rock that holds Adri up. This story is so very creative. From start to finish, it’s something new and entertaining. I only wish we could have seen what happened to Dru’s family. But other than that, I truly liked this story. 4.5 stars
Teller of Tales by D.K. Jernigan
Teller of Tales is such a sweet story, but I wish it would have been bigger – more world building, more character development, more relationship building. I wanted feel the reasons behind the ever increasing bond between Peter and Tom, but I didn’t get that. I like the characters. Tom is sweet and innocent, and he sticks to his boundaries. And Peter is warring with his own mind and heart. They are lovely characters, but I would have loved to really delve into them. And, like I said, the story is sweet, but it could have been amazing. So overall, this story was good, but not great. 3.5 stars
Weird Magics by E.E. Ottoman
Steampunk and dragons, not something that I would have thought of, but I like it. There is a lot to this story and I think I would have enjoyed it even more had it been longer. The ending was matter of fact and quite rushed. The romance portion of the story is told as kind of an afterthought. And then there’s the world. We get some glimpses into this world, but I feel it could have been so much more detailed. I liked the characters. They were mysterious and interesting. It’s all very imaginative. Like I said, it’s a good short, but I feel that it would have been much better as a longer, more detailed story. 3.75 stars
Chanson Commencante de Guerre by Lor Rose
First of all, no, I have no idea what the title means, nor do I know how it relates to this story. Chanson Commencante de Guerre is a story of a dragon falling for the forbidden dragon shifter. Yes, they are two different classifications – dragon and dragon shifter. This is not a great story, but it is decent. The characters are fun, if a little awkward. This story is written in third-person present-tense, which is more of a personal issue for me. I’m just not much of a fan of stories told in the present-tense, whether first- of third-person. The world-building is good for such a short tale. I think my biggest problem is with the big, gaping hole in the end, the unanswered questions. There’s this plot that is pretty good, but when it came time to get some answers, the author skipped right over that and moved back to the romance. So in the end, this one is simply likable, but could have been better. 3.5 stars
Two in the Bush by E.R. Karr
What do you get when you take a birdbrained, mother hen of a dragon and a psychic detective with a concussion camping? Mayhem…complete and total mayhem. Two in the Bush was an absolute joy to read from beginning to end. It’s my favorite of the bunch. The story creative and entertaining. It’s so well written – upbeat, light-hearted, and easy to read. And it’s funny. I caught myself smiling the entire way through and even laughing out loud a couple of times. David and Ferdie are so much fun. Their energy leaps off the pages. There is some history described in this short, and I can only hope there will be a book written someday to give life to the beginning of David and Ferdie’s relationship. I truly enjoyed them. And this world…for such a short story, this author does a wonderful job of creating such a vast, colorful, and mysterious world. All around, this story is a great one. 5 stars
Finding the Rain by Tam Ames
Asian cultures hold some of the oldest dragon myths. So I love that this story is focused there. In Finding the Rain, dragons are the protectors, the gods of the people. This story has an old, parable feel to it, like the stories passed down through generations. It’s a sweet story with a lesson to be learned and a love to be found. I love Buwei. His sweet innocence and unfailing loyalty is so endearing. I would have liked some of Tian’s point of view, but what I saw of him I liked. He’s protective as a dragon should be and fiercely loyal. Overall, I really enjoyed this world and this story. 4.25 stars
Lukos Heat by Megan Derr
This final story is another good one with such talented world-building in such a short period of time. It’s the beginning to a story that I can only hope will be continued at some point in the future. I love the uniqueness of the dragon in his human form and his animal form. I adore strong-willed, arrogant Najlah. He thinks himself invincible, until he’s not. And then Barkus, who is somewhat of an open book, protective and caring. They make an interesting couple. And I probably shouldn’t get into the secondary characters. We’d be here all day. Needless to say, they’re great. The story is one of mystery and the beginning of a romance. It’s fun and very entertaining. So, in the end, I really liked this tale as well and I’m still hoping for a continuation someday. 4.5 stars
So, as you can see, some stories I liked more than others, but overall this anthology was fun and entertaining. I enjoyed the many trips into fantasyland as I read each story. Some of these authors are new to me and I look forward to what is to come. And others I read faithfully and can’t wait for more.
Cover: I absolutely love this cover by Nathie Block. Had I not already been drawn to the anthology for the simple fact that it’s about dragons, I would have wanted it for the cover. It’s both beautiful and sexy.