Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea…
Ever wondered what happens when Jackie grows up?
Jack Draper’s an orphan, with what he’s always thought of as a very active imagination — until he discovers the dragon from his childhood memories is real. Worse, he’s the son of the usurper king of Honalee and the Red Sorceress — which means Jack is a wizard himself! Now Jack has to go to wizard school…
Could life get more confusing than being a modern day gay man who suddenly becomes a wizard/dragonrider — and heir to the throne his father didn’t earn? In a word — Yes.
This box set contains three novellas — Dragon’s Egg, Dragon’s Stone, and Dragon’s Quest — but I only made it through the first book before deciding not to finish the collection. The story itself, that of a man dreaming of a mysterious lover (who just so happens to be the dragon friend of his childhood), is well established, but there are parts of it that left me feeling uncomfortable.
Dragon’s Egg makes it clear that Puff, whose real name is Aneurin, is older than Jack. He has also known Jack throughout his childhood, being his friend and confidant (and having watched over him even before Jack knew him). While Aneurin puts off the idea of sex until he’s certain Jackie is 18, the fact that an adult character has been having a romantic relationship with a teenager, and encouraging these thoughts in a younger person, just doesn’t sit well with me. I doubt the author meant it to come across as grooming, but that’s kind of what it felt like to me. But the breaking point in this story was the mention of Jackie as a five-year-old child being raped. It felt like it was included purely for the dramatics of it. It seemed Jackie was raped as a child so that his first time with Puff would cause flashbacks, leading to Jack screaming and begging for his freedom.
Aneurin’s mother repeats, several times, that though Aneurin has lived many more years (if not centuries) than Jack, they’re really the same age (they were born on the same day, but Aneurin was sent back in time so he could mature, what with dragons aging being different than that of a humans), so Aneurin sleeping with — in his own mother’s words — “someone so young” was okay. More than okay, actually, since the two of them have been meant to fall in love and marry since they were born. This is also the woman who hunted Jack down to become his therapist so that she might urge him back in Aneurin’s direction.
It might just be me, but all told, this came across as deliberate grooming with a gratuitous mention of the rape of a five-year-old child for spice. I have no intention of reading the other books in this series, and I honestly suggest that you avoid these books, especially if the subject matter within causes you any emotional triggers.