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Review – Drago Illuminare by Grace Draven

Drago Illuminare CoverPublisher: Amber Quill Press
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: One novella I purchased, one novella provided by the author for the purposes of this review

Here be dragons…and passion. Welcome to the world of the illuminated dragon–where a prince of earth and air seeks reconciliation with his human mistress, and a wyvern reclaims the fiddler who loved him, lost him and never forgot him. Previously available only in electronic format, these two novellas have now been combined for a paperback edition!

Included are the tales……DRACONUS [-] An earth dragon, long-lived and skilled in the ways of magic, Magnus Silverclaw has hunted relentlessly for his errant human lover. He is furious and bitter over what he considers Leida’s betrayal and seeks retribution by having her sentenced to four years of enforced servitude to him in a position far below the one she once occupied as his mistress. He does not anticipate her horrified reaction to the punishment or the reason for it, and her revelation leaves him reeling with shock and jealousy.

After nearly four years of evading capture, Leida of the Glimmer South stands bound before a tribunal of dragon judges, accused of theft and the illicit use of dragon magic. Once the favorite of the dragon lord, Magnus Silverclaw, she faces punishment for a crime considered high treason among dragons. Leida is still deeply in love with Magnus but refuses to divulge her reasons for why she stole from him and left without warning four years earlier. Only the threat of enslavement makes her reveal a carefully guarded secret, one that can either reunite her with Magnus or tear her from him forever.)……

[and] WYVERN [-] Elsbeth Weaver, a talented fiddler, gave up the man she loved to care for her ailing grandfather. Now, eight years later, she must risk her life to save her grandfather from a lynching, by playing for the wyvern that has terrorized her village throughout the summer. When she comes face-to-face with the beast at the haunted cliffs of Maldoza, she is both terrified and fascinated. Something about the creature reminds her of her long-lost lover, something more than just a shared name. Alaric has never forgotten nor stopped loving the human woman he left in a dusty village almost a decade earlier. So when he meets her again on the cliffs, wearing old dragon armor and playing her fiddle as if her heart would break, he is overjoyed. But Elsbeth never knew the man to whom she had given herself was only an illusion for the wyvern. Alaric must convince her that the heart of the beast is no less devoted than the heart of the man, and that leaving her a second time will not last another decade.)
Blurb from Amazon.com.

Back in the spring of this year my fellow bookpushers decided to push Grace Draven on me.  Upon discovering that we all enjoyed her writing we hosted an interview in April.  If you missed the interview you can take a look, Grace Draven Interview I had a discussion with Has about the books and decided that I wanted to do a review, but I didn’t want to do MASTER OF THE CROWS since I knew we were going to rave over that during the interview.  Surfing Amazon as I looked through Ms Draven’s back list I found DRAGO ILLUMINARE.  Now I happen to have a certain weakness for dragons since they played key roles in my introduction to adult books (THE HOBBIT and THE WHITE DRAGON) so I decided that would probably be the book to review.  As I read the blurb I realized that it was two novellas: WYVERN and DRACONUS.  Since I had limited physical space at the time, I decided I would attempt to find the digital version of the novellas.  I was able to purchase one but I could not find the other.  As a result Ms Draven sent me the second novella so I could do a complete review.

The first thing I really liked about these novellas is that their blurbs are extremely accurate; not once did I go back to look at the blurb and wonder if I was reading the same story.  Based on that accuracy I am going to talk more about what I enjoyed about Ms Draven’s writing style and how she laid out her novellas instead of what happened in each novella.  Due to the limited word count available in a novella we join the stories almost in progress as it were.  Each starts with a significant event that sets the tension and adds a combination of importance and uncertainty in the reader for the eventual outcome.  I guess you could say that like a good oral storyteller of old she set the hook within the first few pages.

The second thing I liked is that she avoided using the dreaded infodump to build her world and characters.  In both novellas the hero and heroine have had prior encounters with each other that helped shape the situation they find themselves in.  Ms Draven uses mainly two different techniques to draw the reader into their history.  DRACONUS primarily uses conversation between the hero and heroine as he struggles to understand what went wrong and she struggles to protect her secret.  WYVERN on the other hand primarily uses flashbacks from the heroine’s memory.

I think the only nit-picky thing I have is with WYVERN, one of the word choices Ms Draven used required me to do some searching for Middle/Old English/Latin meanings to ensure that I understood for sure what that term referred to.  I had a pretty accurate guess I had just not seen that particular spelling before.

I give DRAGO ILLUMINARE an A-

Wyvern Nookbook | Draconus Nookbook | Amazon Book

By E_booklover

E is addicted to books. She discovered at an early age that not only were they her transport to far off worlds, adventures, and exotic cultures, but that she ran into far fewer objects if she walked while reading then if she wasn't reading. She reads across several genres, such as: romance, western,mystery, SF/F and its derivatives. She isn't too picky except for good characterization, settings she can imagine, and a story that flows logically... umm so ok -- she wants a good story. Have any to recommend?

2 replies on “Review – Drago Illuminare by Grace Draven”

I normally don’t read fantasy romance, but I absolutely loved Master of Crows. I just checked Fictionwise and found both of these in ebook format there so I’ll be buying them. Thanks for the review.

@JenM Glad to hear that. We all enjoyed Master of Crows. I hope you enjoy these novellas too!

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