Rating: 2.75 stars
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One hundred years ago an alpha wolf made a deal with the devil, a devil in the form of ancient dragon shifter, Warwick Ehecatl. As collateral, he put up pack territory, pack businesses, everything he had — everything Warwick made him agree to. It was ruinous, but Alpha Montgomery was desperate… and now the bill is due.
Alpha Montgomery has no way to repay the loan. His only hope is to throw open a courtship for his youngest child and only son, the omega Avery, and gamble that some other pack might be willing or able to help him buy just a little more time. Avery, an innocent and spoiled young man, has no idea what his father has planned, only that Alpha Montgomery has been in a foul mood, and the powerful shifter who came to confront his father has a sinfully sweet scent.
When Warwick sees the young omega he knows two things. The first: he must have him. The second: he will have him. There is nothing in the world powerful enough to deny a dragon what he wants, and Alpha Montgomery is in no position to refuse Warwick anything. Not even his son. For the price of three properties and the omega, Warwick is willing to cancel the debt. For the price of three properties and his hand in union, Avery is sold to a dragon.
For a creature who lusts for wealth and land and cars, Warwick has found something his dragon wants more than money. For a young omega who never fit in, Avery has found someone who will accept him for who he is. Maybe there’s a chance for something between them, something worth more than all the gems and gold in Warwick’s hoard.
There was an attempt in Dragon’s Hoard to create an interesting approach to dragon shifters. Unfortunately, the idea behind the dragon shifters never quite came together for me in this book. A lot of things didn’t quite come together for me in this book.
First there’s Warwick, an ancient and impossibly powerful being who serves as a loan shark to the paranormal community. As an absolute alpha powerful enough to cow other alphas, he should have oozed personality and strength. Instead, as we see from his chapters, everything has to be explained patiently and pointedly and he poses and postures. He comes across more pompous than powerful and more obnoxious than charming.
Next up is Avery, the spoiled and unpleasant young omega. He is an omega, as is marked by his coloring. Omegas are spoiled and petted because, if they aren’t, they’d sulk and snap and sulk… which Avery does even while refusing to believe he acts like an omega. We’re informed twice that omegas have paler coloring — blonde hair and golden hazel eyes — but Avery thinks his coloring is an abnormality. Perhaps because he doesn’t want to be an omega? Or resents being an omega? Much of his thoughts on the nature of omegas are contemptuous and sneering, even though, based on his description of them — spoiled, lazy, used to the finest things in life — I can’t tell that Avery is any different. Except he has a job… sort of, a job he had to make his father to give him. Perhaps knowing his father wanted an alpha son — or even just a stronger son — has made Avery insecure and defensive, and being treated as an omega has taught him that sulking and sniping are the ways he’s expected to behave. It makes him unpleasant and tiring and he comes across as a moody twenty-something (or younger). However, the author makes it clear that Avery is one hundred years old. I don’t know why. His age or lack thereof neither adds nor detracts from the story, but in using it — in stating that Avery is 100 years old — it makes his behavior even more childish and wincing.
When Warwick and Avery meet, which happens fairly early on, one would expect sparks, especially what with the whole dragon angle. Instead, they’re amiable and pleasant to each other. There is no tension, no drama, no passion between the pair, or even in the plot. Warwick sets his conditions, everyone agrees, the end. Only there’s still more of the book to get through.
A werewolf courtship is somewhat involved. An omega must lead his prospective partner on a chase through the woods — a ritual called, appropriately “The Chase” — to make his intended work for him. Only Montgomery isn’t confident his son can manage that and so asks Warwick to drag it out so his son doesn’t embarrass them all in front of the pack. This was supposed to prove Avery’s werewolf abilities, to both prove his father wrong and to show his worthiness and brilliance to be the mate of an ancient and powerful dragon. The author, perhaps, tried to show Warwick as having trouble finding Avery, but instead it comes across as the dragon patronizing the pack as he picks up Avery’s trail very easily and sort of loiters about, showing off his half-dragon form for the pack. Instead of Avery proving himself, it just had Warwick looking like an ass as he looks down, quite literally, on the werewolves.
At the end of the book, once Warwick has taken Avery home and shown off his belongings and his staff — who are ageless and immortal themselves thanks to a dose of dragon blood, something that adds nothing to the story. Warwick gives over the three companies to Avery. For reasons. They’ve known each other two days, and in no conversation does Avery show any business acumen. But now he has three prosperous businesses for his own. Maybe, had omega Avery shown, in any scene, that he wanted to learn how to run a business, or had talent or ambitions or ideas his father wouldn’t listen to, this might have made sense. But, like the dragon blood, it came out of nowhere and added nothing to the story. Perhaps the dragon blood was a way for the ancient dragon to have his mate live longer so they could be together forever, but… Avery is a young man as far as werewolves are concerned, even at the age of 100, so why would he need dragon blood? So many things didn’t fit together, instead reading like half-finished ideas left in by accident, or poorly fitting ideas shoved in because the author didn’t want to get rid of them.
There was one part of the book that annoyed me more than Avery, and that was the author’s need to explain everything twice. Everything was explained a second time in case you hadn’t read it a paragraph ago when she explained it the first time. In the most egregious scene, Warwick is explaining how dragons work… only to have another character say right after — in essence — let me get this straight, and then repeat the whole paragraph again. This happens three times, which is three more times than it needed to happen.
Unfortunately, I found the characters boring, the plot listless, and the world building too shallow. I did appreciate the effort to make dragons something somewhat other than shifters and the explanation — both times and back-to-back — of their powers had the potential to be interesting, but it just didn’t come together. I’m sorry, but I can’t say I recommend this book.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.