Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 4 hours, 13 minutes
Knight’s Fire by S.J. Himes is sweet story with instant attraction followed by a fast declaration of love, a prince and his knights, a young possessive dragon who has survived abuse, and the cutest premise for a paranormal story ever. Seriously, it’s hard not to be affected by this tender romance. Not only did it satisfy my every desire for a swift and lovely romance, it also was funny and cleverly done. The story revolves around the prince/first knight of the mythical land of Kentaine, Sir Gawain, being sent by his sister, the queen, to rescue a dragon—a creature that hasn’t been seen in over a hundred years. Apparently, the dragon has injured some villagers after they fearfully attacked him for supposedly stealing some livestock.
When Gawain finds the starving dragon, Zephyr, he recognizes the creature has been held captive and abused and later learns it was by an evil mage who would steal the dragon’s magic periodically as it replenished itself. What follows is an adventure to race back to Kentaine and avoid the dangers that keep cropping up to slow down the rescue party. Along the way, Gawain and Zephyr will realize they have a growing attraction despite Zephyr not being human and only sometimes able to take a man’s form.
Knight’s Fire is just the beginning of the Scales of Honor series and the author reminds of this when it ends with a note saying that more is to come. There are definitely some dangling plot points that need to be addressed and I am sure they will be in the next installments. Because this was the first novella, there is a great deal of prose describing the characters and the countryside. I found myself not always appreciating the passages that told us what Gawain and others looked like as it was often heavy with telling what they were wearing. This got a bit old after a while and I just wanted the story to move on and get to some action. Thankfully, after just a few chapters, the author did just that and from there the story took off and captured my imagination completely.
I ended up enjoying this incredibly cute dragon and his stalwart and trustworthy knight; honestly, this was so like the tales of King Arthur in similar content that it made me swoon! Knight’s Fire is a sweet bit of fluff and I can’t wait for the next chapter to unfold.
Narrator Joel Leslie is in his element when presenting this story. Between the accents and the blue blood voicing he uses for the prose sections, Leslie is absolutely perfect for this novella. Always nice to listen to, he makes this presentation even more delightful by giving us a Scottish accent for Gawain, his sister, and the other knights, making them fun to listen to and get to know. Once again, his pacing is spot on; I really appreciate how this narrator uses pausing and speed to give his characters depth and personality. He has no problem moving from the slight English accent of the narrator to the Scottish voices and the transitions were smooth as silk.
I thoroughly enjoyed how Leslie made Zephyr’s dragon voice sound a bit like a much younger man, with just enough sibilance to match how the author chose to script the voice to seem a bit like a snake. Then Leslie made the dragon’s tone different, slightly lower, when Zephyr was human, but left just a little bit of the sibilant ‘s’ sound behind so we knew exactly who was speaking. It was so well done. Using Joel Leslie for the narration to Knight’s Fire was a perfect choice and he managed to make an already delightful story even more alluring and successful.