I want more dragon romances! The werewolves and werecats are nice, but they’ve flooded the market and it can be hard to find other shifters. Thankfully Coastal Magic just happened, and while I was there, I discovered J.D. Monroe and her Dragons of Ascavar series. Guess what…it’s a dragon romance! So of course I bought Wings of Stone and started reading it before I even left the beach. What I found was a fantastic world, filled with flawed refreshing characters, and a curiosity of things to come.
The one thing I love about dragon romance stories is the pure fantasy of it. They can be called urban fantasies or paranormal romances, but let’s be honest, if it involves swords, citadels, and your typical renaissance setting, it’s fantasy pure and simple. This is important because world building is essential to a good fantasy story, and I have to say, Monroe nails it. Since it is a whole new world (ugh…now I have that song stuck in my head), we have to be introduced to everything and some times that leads to info dumping. Monroe works around this by starting out in an urban setting (Reno, NV?? Okay.) and then transitions us to Ascavar (land of dragons!) as our heroine, Gabby, first encounters it. We’re being shown this world the same way as someone who’s seeing it for the first time, without all the history, structure, back story thrown in. It’s then fleshed out as Tarek takes Gabby on a tour. We’re not taken everywhere, just the main areas where the story exists and a few for character, and then she keeps us there. We’re not discovering the entire world of Ascavar in one book – we’ve only seen a small percentage of a citadel – but I can picture those areas in my head now. Each time Gabby or Tarek enters one of those areas, we’re given another nugget of knowledge that adds to world but doesn’t take away from the story.
Now…that’s not to say that I’m glad I didn’t see more of Ascavar, because I do want to see more. Especially a certain two dragons Gabby first meets during a dinner reception and where they come from. I have a feeling that will be an interesting story or two if Monroe ever does centers a story on them.
But I’m not suppose to be talking about them, so let’s talk about Tarek and Gabby, our romantic duo. The two have this cute innocence that hasn’t been scarred by growing up. They are confident in their skills and are a force to be reckon with when it comes to their area of expertise; but they are shy with each other. For once, the hero isn’t this aggressive, playboy alpha who wants the girl and chases after her. Yes he turns into this giant lizard (at #CMCon18 Monroe stated that the mechanics of it is “poof it’s magic”, which, yeah it is since one minute he’s a man and then he’s a dragon), and Gabby did witness a transformation which lead to an internal debate on her mental health, but it doesn’t define him. In a lot of shifter romances, the animal is present in both man and beast, but it’s not here. We don’t “see” the dragon until we actually see the dragon. That’s kind of refreshing since we don’t have to worry about Tarek battling his duo nature once the chemistry begins. He’s a flawed hero who finds redemption in a girl he never expected.
When Gabby gets her first glimpse of magic, she does begin to wonder if she’s have a psychotic break, but she’s an ER doc and her training kicks in when the action begins. Seriously…she’s running from two of the villains and stops to help a patient who’s machines are beeping. She’s logical in her thinking, in her actions, and when faced with the impossible, she accepts it and moves on. Yeah this may be an easy way of avoiding the talk about the magic of it all, but with Gabby’s personality, it works. She doesn’t let the impossible hold her back, instead she adapts. Again, it’s refreshing to have a heroine who’s not kickass (and knows it), but is also not a hindrance. Plus she listens! She knows she’s in an unfamiliar world and doesn’t take for granted that everything will work out. Even keeping her man isn’t a sure thing – not when they’re from two different worlds. Literally.
I’ve been rambling on for a bit, so I need to wrap this up. The world and characters were fabulous, and I can’t wait to see more. The story itself, while good, didn’t really suck me in. I didn’t feel compelled to read Wings of Stone in one sitting, to say just one more chapter. I also feel like it’s a little incomplete. There’s no conclusion to the conflict, which makes sense since this is a series and needs an arc plot, but I don’t feel like I learned much either. I feel like if I say anything more, I’m going to start getting spoilery; so let me go with this…the story held my interest enough that I want the answers to the who and why, but I wish it was a little more exciting.
If you love dragon romances like I do, then you definitely need to read Wings of Stone. Hell…if you enjoy a good fantasy romance, then you should read Wings of Stone. Take a trip to Ascavar and discover a few dragons. Meet the people, see the sights, and then let me know what you think. Let’s see if the same two dragons can catch your interest like they did mine.
Tarek Windstriker, a guardian of the portal between the human world and his home, has always upheld this rule. But when he discovers the princess of his people has been brutally attacked and left for dead in a human hospital, he must act. He just wasn’t prepared for a gorgeous human doctor to witness him transform into a dragon and fly away. And he definitely wasn’t prepared to ask for her help.
Doctor Gabrielle Rojas is a practical, logical woman, so the last thing she expects is to meet a dragon while working the night shift. But after watching the hot stranger turn into an honest-to-God dragon and fly away with one of her patients, she can’t deny what she’s seen. When she answers Tarek’s call for help, Gabrielle is drawn into his dangerous world of dragons, magic, and ancient wars reignited.
Embroiled in the intrigue of a distant world, Gabrielle and Tarek can’t deny their growing attraction. Can two souls from different worlds find love?