by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #8
Pub. Date: Nov. 24, 2015
Publisher: Zebra / Kensington
War makes strange bedfellows.
I, Gaius Domitus, one-eyed rebel dragon king of the Provinces, know that better than most, since I have to fight off half my ungrateful family on a regular basis to keep law and order here in my lands. But I never expected to have to consort with a barbarian human woman.
Kachka is beautiful, if you like them fierce—and of course I do. But she keeps complaining about how spoiled and decadent I am, and how a feared Daughter of the Steppes has no time for foolish dragons. I think she likes my eye patch, though. It is quite dashing. With death always at our tails, we take our passion like we take our allies. As they say, love the barbarian you’re with…
Good grief this book made me laugh out loud. This series and its loud, brash, arrogant dragons do not disappoint when you want some slapstick comedy with a good story and some romance thrown in. I do not recommend that you try to read these books a standalone. There is a story arc that builds with each installment that you will want to follow from the beginning.
Our heroine in this installment is Kachka Shestakova, sister to Elina and formerly of the Black Bear Riders of the Midnight Mountains of Despair in the Far Reaches of the Steppes of the Outerplains. I wasn't sure how I would feel about reading these sister books back to back, as I finished Light My Fire just yesterday. The Steppes of the Outerplains society, or Riders as they are called, are this matriarchal group of warrior women that make you think Xena Warrior Princess to the most extreme degree. They are big and mean and literal and logical and think that all men are too emotional to make any decisions in life. So I was a little afraid that reading these two books together may be too redundant, but I was wrong! Kachka cracked me up. She had an extremely dry sense of humor and was so good at messing with the arrogant self-absorbed dragons. I loved that she became The Scourge of the Gods, and was able to lead a group of misfit Riders.
Iron Dragon and Rebel King, Gaius Dominus, is our hero in this installment and it was so nice to finally see him paired up as he has been hanging around for quite a while now. King Gaius is also very good at messing with the other dragons, particularly the mated males. I only wish that I could have remembered more about Gaius from earlier in the series. When he and Kachka paired up to go at the dragons, hilarity ensued.
Again I was not quite as interested in the romance of this story as I was the continuing story arc, the general hilarity, and the secondary characters. I think with the past two heroines who are extreme feminist type characters, and take on the more traditional male role, you aren't going to have a lot of hearts and flowers type of romance to get behind. You mainly have hilarious raunchy banging. And that was fine with me. I enjoyed it.
The powers of the Gwynvael Five continue to grow and freak people out. I am really looking forward to seeing what they can do. The original three Abominations now have Armies, though they played a back seat in this installment to some new secondary characters, including my new favorite - Zoya Kolesova of the Mountain Movers of the Lands of Pain in the Far Reaches of the Steppes of the Outerplains. She was so happy and clueless and hysterical. I loved everything about her and her character. I hope we see a lot more of her (and her sisters) in the future books.
I highlighted so many funny quotes and passages in this book, but they are so raunchy and potty-mouthed that I am not going to post them. If you want a good laugh and love dragons, pick this series up! I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
Originally from Long Island, New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken has resigned herself to West Coast living, which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Writing as Shelly Laurenston, she is also the creator of the wickedly funny Pride series for Brava. For more info about G.A. Aiken’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, go to www.gaaiken.com.
Elina’s suggestion that they play a game was not helping Kachka’s current emotional state. If anything, it just made her feel even more useless.
Elina studied the game board with her one good eye, debating her next move.
This was the life of the Shestakova sisters now.
Decadent. Lazy. Spoiled. Sitting around. Playing board games like children.
It amazed Kachka that adults played these games. Daughters of the Steppes had their three-year-olds playing these games to help them understand the concept of “divide, conquer, and destroy so that the next city or town over just gives us what we ask for.”
So for the two sisters to be playing these games again appalled Kachka on a visceral level. How far she’d fallen back. Would it never get better?
Finally, after much thought, Elina went to make her move . . . and her hand missed the piece by a few inches. Although, based on Elina’s reaction, it might as well have been a mile.
Kachka’s sister growled, then she swiped her hand at the board . . . which she also missed.
That’s when the entire board went flying, her sister’s bellow of rage startling the weak, delusional servants who worked for these rich, decadent royals.
Kachka sighed. “You were winning.”
Kachka leaned back in her chair. “Such whining. Like baby, you whine!”
“I am still weak!”
“You took down bear last week.”
“Took me three shots!”
“That’s not eye. That’s this life we now live.” She pointed at one of the dragons walking by. “Decadent! Like that dragon.”
The dragon stopped, placed a hand on his chest. “Me? Kachka, you love me!”
“I love your beauty. I have no use for you personally. You represent all that we hate.”
“Why do you talk to him so?” Elina asked. “He cannot help that he is beautiful but worthless.”
“I am not worthless! I am Gwenvael the—”
“We do not care, lizard!” Kachka barked.
“Do not yell at him!”
“Do not be so pathetic! So you miss eye! Get over it!”
That’s when Elina kicked Kachka under the table. So Kachka kicked her back.
Elina reached and grabbed Kachka by her leather buckskin shirt. That Elina could grip with no problem.
Kachka punched her sister’s arm, but that only made Elina drag Kachka out of the chair. Kachka gripped Elina by her shoulders, shoving her back against the table.
“Stop it! Both of you!” the dragon called out. “I have enough beauty to share with everyone!”
Ignoring the beautiful but useless dragon, Kachka drew back her arm to punch her sister, but it was caught and held.
She assumed it was the dragon, but when she looked, it was the queen who held her. What worried her, though, was the look on the queen’s face. She stared at Kachka as if she’d never seen her before.
“You,” the queen said.
“What about me?”
She didn’t answer at first. Simply stared. Then, suddenly, she yanked Kachka off her sister. “Come with me,” she ordered.
“No!” Elina cried out, grabbing Kachka’s other arm. “Do not kill her!”
The queen blinked. “What?”
“It is all right, sister,” Kachka soothed. “I am ready for death.”
“What are you two—?”
“Don’t worry,” the beautiful dragon tossed in. “I’ll make sure you have a beautiful funeral.”
“Gwenvael!” Annwyl roared.
“Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t do anything. It was the outsider!”
Annwyl yanked Kachka from her sister’s grip. “She’ll be fine,” she snapped before Elina could complain further.
“Do not worry, sister,” Kachka said as the queen dragged her off. “I will go to my death bravely!”