The Dragon Master
by Allyson James, fantasy (2008)
Barkley, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-425-22471-7
The Dragon Master is so much like a typical mate-mate-mate romance that it is quite a disappointment for me to read this after having read a few paranormal romances that break the tired formula before this book gets its turn with me. Allyson James follows the rules so faithfully that when the story finally becomes interesting in its late third or so, I'm fatigued by that point with the familiar mechanics of the so-called romance in this story.
Like the previous books in this series, we have yet another shapeshifting dragon from Dragonspace (read my review of the first book in the series, Dragon Heat, for the setting details if you are new to the series) going all protective over a human heroine with undeveloped special powers. Seth, our dragon, is naturally the most powerful of all the dragons featured so far in this story because when it comes to formulaic paranormal romance novels, you are not a hero unless you have the biggest chest and fattest penis in the entire universe. He is accidentally summoned by our heroine, Carol Juan, who only wanted to get her business degree and focused her energies on the family restaurant. Well, Seth will soon "protect" her from the bad guys, although the definition of "protection" in this kind of stories often involve abundant use of one's private parts in vigorous pleasurable activities. What was it the doctor said again? A shag every fifteen pages keep the critics too distracted to lob the rotten eggs?
A naughty rogue dragon wants Carol for his own nefarious purpose and he has a bunch of demons running around to do his bidding. But because Seth has bigger muscles where it counts while Carol gets her super powers all ready to zap some rear ends when she gets, er, schooled plenty by Seth, there is no question that the bad guy will be totally humiliated by the end of the story. Throughout it all, the romance consists of familiar concepts like mating instincts, hormonally predestined mates, and how all these things present a realistic case for love.
Allyson James is always an entertaining author and there are some amusing banters between her characters here, for the most part, The Dragon Master feels like a tired rehash of the previous two books in this series as well as every other paranormal romance out there that places great emphasis on the dreaded word "mate". In other words, this one has its moments, but it is also a very clichéd mate-mate-mate paranormal romance in many ways.
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