Loved. Loved. Loved. Loved this book!
I mean, c'mon how can you not love a book where there are characters named: Annwyl, The Bloody or Brandana the Mutilator or Vigholf the Abhorrent ... and those are the good
First thing, this is not a 'start here' book. Too much plot and character history has happened in the previous four books to make jumping in here comfortable. You NEED to read the previous books. You have to get to know all the dragons and their politics and their family connections and their personalities. You need to meet the humans (some of whom are more dangerous than the dragons *cough*Annwyl*cough*). You need to understand the background behind the long protracted war where this book jumps five years ahead into. You need to at least meet, if not understand, the motivations of the interfering Gods. And you just have to sit back and watch with a little trepidation the growth of the creepily awesome toddlers. Yes, I said toddlers
. Even the pre-school set in this book are hella ferocious! Heck just Annwyl alone is worth the price of this entire series.
But in the event you have read the previous four books then this one will welcome you right in. It follows he romance of Rhona, one of the crazy-evil-ferocious Cadwaladr cousins who is content to be nothing more than a soldier, and Vigholf the Abhorrent, a Lightning dragon (they don't spew flame, they bring lightning). A long protracted war has been raging between the Fire-dragons and the Iron-dragons. And there is a bounty on the heads of the 3 young children who are thought to be abominations. But since 2 of those kids are Annwyl's she is sick and tired of war and seeks to end it. So she sets off with just Izzy & Brenna as companions to do just that.
Her leaving is disastrous for the morale of southern armies and Rhona and Vigholf are dispatched to bring her back. On the road the two fight, bicker and fall in love.
As it is probably already evident in this review, the real strength of this story isn't necessarily in the A-romance plot. Rhona and Vigholf are a great couple and they have chemistry and Aiken does create a sexy, satisfying romance for them. But in reality, that alone would not have earned a five-star for me. No, the fab-ness of this book lies on the continuing story arc of the Annwyl, Fearghus (the Destroyer), Briec (the Mighty), Talaith and all the rest of the siblings/family of the fire dragons that kicked off in the first book. It has deepened and gotten richer and i have become completely obsessed with this group.
The book also bears Aiken's tradermark wacky humor. It is funny
. But it is also a great story that doesn't devolve into slapstick and still manages to be poignant, dramatic, bloody, terrible and fierce.
And I am loving where she is going with Izzy (the Dangerous) and Eibhear (the Blue). That is a romance that has been brewing for 3 books now and she is making them grow up and grow into themselves in a way that is wonderful to watch.