Thanks to Entangled and Susannah Scott we are participating in her Luck of the Dragon blog tour. The rafflecopter entry widget is below the review so make sure you enter for a chance to win a dragon scale necklace and earring set along with at $25 gift card from Amazon. Good luck!
Luciana de Luca has a PhD in sass and gemology–and a problem. Her twin brother’s gambling debts have gotten out of hand, and a mob enforcer is blackmailing her to rob the latest, greatest mega-casino on the Strip. Although Lucy has worked her whole life to get away from her family’s grifter past, to save her brother, she dons three-inch heels and a sluts-r-us dress and struts into Alec’s Gerald’s casino, determined to put her long-forgotten thieving ways to the test again.
Alec Gerald, a shape-shifting dragon, has built the Crown Jewel casino to provide sanctuary for his people amongst the flash and awe of Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the sexy little thief trying to rob his gem exhibit turns out to be his mate, and he must woo her before he loses his dragon form forever. With enemies in every corner, and the all-important mating ceremony looming, Alec and Lucy must learn to trust each other, before time runs out for Alec and the rest of the dragons.
This blurb came from the author’s website.
I was browsing Netgalley when the title of this book caught my eye. I saw the word “Dragon” and as I have mentioned before I have a serious addiction to dragons. I read the blurb and thought this story had the potential for some laughs, some suspense, some angst, and DRAGONs. In short I thought it was something I would enjoy so I requested it. Unfortunately, things did not work out as I hoped and I ended up having several issues with this story mainly the heroine, the pacing, and how things end with her brother.
I did really enjoy the thought of a huge Vegas casino complete with shows, various entertainment rooms, gambling, gem exhibits, shops, and great architecture. Given the expectation of Vegas adding dragons to the mix in plain sight and chalking it up to illusion/magic made me smile each time I thought about it. I loved how humans were scared and disbelieving at the first sight of a dragon but easily accepted that it was part of the show and not real. Made me wonder how much is out there that we refuse to see because it doesn’t fit our mental image of what we “should” see. Alec does a great job of playing on that throughout the book yet it ended up almost biting him in the rear a few times when it came to Lucy. I also liked his struggle between what his dragon self was telling him and what his human brain was telling him when it came to dealing with his attraction to Lucy. I was not as happy when his dragon self provided the stronger impulse and took Lucy’s role-play as her acceptance of their future together. This led to some easily avoidable issues between the two of them.
Lucy received a much more mixed response from me. I loved the fact that she was a gemologist, knew how to pick pockets and locks, and could stand up for herself against Alec. But, that did not outweigh the things I found about her that I did not enjoy. In my opinion, she took an extended journey in the TSTL category when she continually tried to help her brother, Joel, and his schemes with the Vegas mobsters. This was after a lifetime of him using their childhood misery as a prod to convince her to join in. He seemed to tell her several times that he was never going to stop trying to gamble or get rich quick illegally. Yet she kept telling herself that he would stop after each one when instead he dragged her deeper and deeper. It seemed like Lucy was a smart intelligent individual but when her brother came around she started drinking stupid water and didn’t stop until he left. Even when she was committing or planning to commit crimes for him, she knew it was wrong and it wasn’t going to fix things. Lather, rinse, repeat. I had hopes that when she called Joel begging for his help and he refused that she would see the truth about him but she didn’t. It took the threat of losing her memory about dragons before she finally started believing that she needed to stop enabling Joel and his schemes. Because of her extended stay in TSTL territory I was unable to actually like Lucy as the heroine. I am not upset at her family loyalty and trying to help her brother but what really bothered me was the extent of her help into illegal actions whose consequences threatened her dreams, not those of her brother.
I mentioned earlier that I had a problem with the pacing of this story. The bad guy, major source of external conflict for both Alec and Lucy, was killed about two thirds of the way into the story. This meant for the last third, the action and emotional suspense was powered by internal conflict with a sprinkling of Joel on the side. This part really did not work for me because I felt the internal conflict was a result of not communicating and Lucy’s obsessive misplaced loyalty. Both of which dragged out for far too long. Alec never accepted responsibility for his portion of their lack of communication and even when Lucy did make her decision to stop assisting her brother, she did it very quietly and subtly while leaving the door wide open for him to come back into her life without cleaning up his act. Even though he almost ruined his sister’s life he got away with the possibility of his own HEA, no punishment, and no lessons learned. This offended my sense of justice because I felt that he would continue to try to coerce his sister the next time one of his schemes started failing.
Scott built a fascinating world with the dragons and their structure. Each extended group had different abilities corresponding to the different elements and had matching colors. They also tended to live in separate parts of the earth but Alec was trying to unite them in one safe location. I also found it fascinating that only at certain intervals in a certain ritual could dragons find their mate. Male dragons without a mate eventually lost the ability to shift into a dragon while female dragons did not suffer from the same problem. I thought this was very interesting and allowed the women to determine how things would go not the men. I was curious about the interval between mating ceremonies, if it was with the same partner each time, if a partner died during the interval what happened to the survivor, and a few other things. I was also curious about the reasons behind some of the supporting characters and their search for a mate or avoidance of a mate. A few of Scott’s characters also mentioned magicians and magic and hinted at the possibility that magical abilities of a sort were in the blood of both Lucy and her brother Joel but nothing more was said about it. This also left me wondering.
Luck of the Dragon has a neat premise and a fascinating world. I think Scott has a wide range of characters and possibilities to continue writing in this particular world. However, I found that her characterization and pacing to be problematic so I was unable to enjoy this story as I had hoped. Given how the blurb hit several things that I tend to enjoy and the result of my reading, I am not sure if I will pick up another of her books without reading some reviews first.
I give Luck of the Dragon a C-
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