The Dragon Master

Allyson James
2008, Paranormal Romance
Berkley Sensation, $6.99, 304 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425224716

Grade: B-
Sensuality: Hot

Though I donít really generally care for shapeshifter romances, dragon romances appeal to me because theyíre often mythical, somewhat animalistic, and incredibly sensual. The Dragon Master combines all these elements with unique characters to make an interesting tale.

Working on her MBA and building up her familyís restaurant business doesn't leave Carol Juan much time to believe in the dragons and magic her grandmother always told her about. Her disbelief disappears the night a naked man shows up in the alley behind the restaurant demanding to know why Carol summoned him. When he turns into flame and flies away, she learns that he is a rare and powerful fire dragon who is hers to command. To make matters even more complicated, latent abilities to enslave and command dragons are beginning to develop within her. Previously unbeknownst to her, Carol is a dragon master.

Seth, the fire dragon in his alternate form, despises dragon masters, so when heís pulled against his will from an alternate universe, he is bitter and angry. However, this dragon master is different from the one he had before. Carol is beautiful and pulls him to her with a power that feels like fate.

Carolís latent dragon master powers erupt because of the presence of yet another unknown master. In addition to the unknown dragon master and the threat he poses, a band of demons want to do away with Carol so they can claim the fire dragon and use his magic.

There are so many elements that come into conflict in this story. To begin with, you have the relationship between the dragon master and the dragon. Even though Seth is physically and magically strong, his powers belong to Carol. Because heís not given a choice in the relationship, there is the constant question of whether or not his feelings are real or are a result of their subconscious link. Also, he is a dragon in his true form and she is human and, though he constantly craves her in his human guise, both question whether or not they are actually fated.

Though I enjoyed the animalistic possessiveness and protectiveness Seth feels for Carol, it was hard to really understand those feelings because they develop almost instantly, as if by nature. However, the time they spend together is incredibly tense, sensual, and fraught with a struggle for power. Also, I tend to worry about characters after the end of the story and Iím not sure if Iím truly convinced of their HEA.

I enjoyed the world and characters in this book. The dragons, dragon masters, witches, demons, and lesser mages in the modern setting of San Francisco and in the book's alternate universe provided a quick break from reality that I carried me away just for a little while. Though I had a few concerns, on a whole I found it an enjoyable story and a series that Iíd like to continue.

-- Heather Brooks

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