Review: Never Deal with Dragons
Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Being a dragonspeaker sounds like the best job! Lovers of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider series will conjure up images of humans telepathically communicating with dragons. This is not a book where dragons are like pets with loyalty and honour. Instead, these dragons are the superior race who speak in dragon tongue which only a handful of humans can understand. Myrna Banks is one such human blessed with the skill to understand the hissing and grunting.
How did the dragons become the ruling class? It's a bit far-fetched, but it works for readers enjoying a constructed world. Myrna's job as dragonspeaker is integral to this new world populated by large flying reptiles who tear into sheep and cattle. One would think it's a glorious job. This is not the case. A day in the life of a dragonspeaker can be spent soothing crying pregnant female dragons who vomit barely digested animal parts. Sometimes, it's consoling grieving humans who have lost their pets to a unsanctioned dragon snack. Basically, it's mediating between two different cultures - human and dragons. Myrna excels at negotiating tough situations plus she possesses the heart to do with kindness.
There are a few odd things in this story. Myrna is slated as a secretary instead of a negotiator. This is because of a situation caused by an ex-lover, Trian. Now, once Trian's real job with the North American dragon lord is revealed, some plot holes are exposed. And this is what makes the story a bit average. First, how could Trian not realize the impact of his actions upon Myrna? Second, how is it possible that afterwards, he didn't know what happened to her? Even a year later? Third, how is it conceivable that he doesn't know why Myrna's boss Emory is in an exalted position at DRACIM? These are all fact a person in his high position should know. If he didn't then he's poor at his job. While the first two points is needed to create a conflict between Myrna and Trian, it is a bit weak. The main conflict of this story is good enough to survive on its own. In fact, the main conflict is treated as a side note when it could have been used as a more powerful and intricate plot device. This is of course, a matter of opinion. Is this a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy? As a paranormal romance, the story flows fine and the focus is on the heartbroken Myrna. As an urban fantasy it squeaks by.
The characters Ms. Christensen creates are clearly understandable. The reader comprehend their motivations, selfish or otherwise. There are a couple of intriguing characters, mostly in the form of the dragons. The humans are simplistic. Even the human villain in this story is easy to predict why he behaved the way he did. For Myrna and the dragons to completely miss this is very surprising. This reader figured it out as soon as a tidbit about the character's past was revealed. Honestly, with a past like this characters, how did they get the job they did? It should have been a red flag immediately. While it is used to make the story work, it comes across flimsy. The dragons on the other hand, they are familiar yet a bit foreign. It would be nice to learn more about the dragons. Perhaps even have the dragon as the main character and the story narrated from their point of view could be fascinating. Overall, this book is a light and enjoyable read. It is recommended to dragon lovers who enjoy a good paranormal romance.
*provided by NetGalley