What is the consequence of being betrayed by those you most trust? Of being lied to while you are assured it was in your own interest? Of finding out that your destiny is to save the world and all those who you love, even though that same destiny means someone you hold dear might be lost? And how will all those things be affected when your best friends are a sex-crazed dragon claiming to be your stepfather, a snarky unicorn that sparkles, and the sweetest half-giant you have ever met? Oh and your boyfriend poses with his sword a lot and has the most gorgeous ass…ahem, never mind. Well if any or all of the above applies, then this must be a review of author T.J. Klune’s latest novel, A Destiny Of Dragons, and the ongoing saga of Sam of Wilds.
Oh Sam…I love you so. This story, the sequel to The Lightening-Struck Heart and the second in the Tales From Verania series, is sure to resonate with anyone who enjoyed the first novel. If you have not read it—go no further for this review will be full of spoilers since it virtually picks up where the first book lets off. Once again we are privy to the insanity that is Sam’s best friends and I might add that the stroke of genius in having Kevin and Gary proclaiming themselves as Sam’s stepparents was just the best bit of crazy I have read in a long time. They are all back, including the jilted Prince Justin for whom Sam is attempting to find a boyfriend, and that chapter alone is worth the price of the novel.
Of course, the Knight Commander and Sam’s boyfriend, Ryan Foxheart, is back and honestly the love he and Sam have for each other is just the most tender of moments in this book next to Sam communicating with the newest cast member, Zero—a sand dragon Sam must win over to his side. We finally discover some of the secrets that Morgan, Sam’s Wizard mentor, has been keeping from him and they are devastating to say the least. The confessions by Morgan will leave Sam angry and hurt, but will also be instrumental in determining his path and the decision to accept his destiny. That destiny is revealed by his gypsy grandmother—the same one that banished Sam’s mother when she married outside the tribe, and at first Sam is loath to believe that he is not being shown a lie. However, as Morgan divulges just who the Dark Lord is and how incredibly deadly he will be, Sam begins to understand that he must do as he is being told despite the fact that it scares him to no end.
You see Sam is at a crossroads in this novel. While it’s not the first time he has been told he cannot control the magic that runs through him, he is made aware that he is not ready and must be despite that fact. He is also smacked in the face with the fact that as a wizard he will live a long life and Ryan, as a human, will not. Just how shortened Ryan’s life and those of all his friends could be will be determined by Sam’s ability to fight the big bad. So with Morgan’s betrayal laying heavily on his shoulders and the knowledge that only he can save his beloved King and friends, Sam goes forth to meet his destiny and it is one hell of a ride.
Klune’s delivery in this novel is almost frantic at times, with serious moments nearly derailed by sexual jokes, innuendo, and downright insanity that spew from Gary, Kevin, and Sam. While we understand that for both Gary and Sam this is a form of deflection from the real fears that they both have for each other and the ones they love, it can be said that there are times when it bogs down the pacing of a scene and derails the deeper meaning behind it, particularly in the first third of the novel. There were times in that section where I wanted to shake most of the characters and tell them to stay on task and just finish a thought without resorting to admittedly funny, but low humor. And even though that same silliness abated just a bit during the rest of the story, it was just enough to even it out and help us keep up with the fast moving story line. That was my only real complaint with this book, for the rest was just simply magical.
I saw the depth of love Ryan and Sam shared—gosh, that was gorgeous and filled with poetic moments that made my heart just swoon. I fell in love all over again with Tiggy, the half-giant, and his simplistic yet incredibly deep viewpoint on why he would follow Sam to the ends of the earth and then some. And we welcomed a new dragon—a teenager who was just the right blend of emo and petulance that simply masked the tender heart beneath that wanted to create beauty. My blood ran cold with the introduction of pure evil in the form of a new threat to the kingdom–a dark lord who has deep ties to both Randall and Morgan. And, finally, I laughed, cried, and sighed my way through hundreds of pages of a story that thankfully has two more installments in the future, because I just cannot get enough of these clever characters that have wormed their way into my heart.
A Destiny Of Dragons just begins the next chapter in Sam of Wilds’ journey. Where it will lead is anybody’s guess, but the clues that are dropped in this book are not all happy ones and I fear we are going to ugly-cry quite a bit before this series is complete. But, that’s okay because we have a more than capable storyteller leading the way and he is so very clever at keeping us guessing to the very end. A Destiny Of Dragons by T.J. Klune is out—and you need to get your copy—now.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.