Publish Date: 25 Nov
Reviewed by: E
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher
The trouble with humans is that they’re far too sensitive. Forget you put a woman in the local jail for a few months–and she takes it so personally! And yet she is the one trying to assassinate the queen. And now I’m trapped with Elina Shestakova of the Black Bear Riders of the Midnight…gods! That endless name!
But what am I to do? I am Celyn the Charming with direct orders from my queen to protect this unforgiving female.
Even more shocking, this unforgiving female is completely unimpressed by me. How is that even possible? But I know what I want and, for the moment, I want her. And I’m sure that she, like all females, will learn to adore me. How could she not when I am just so damn charming?
This blurb came from the author’s website.
Hi, my name is E and I am addicted to Aiken’s world of crazy over the top characters who are full of surprises. So I let out a little scream of excitement when it appeared in my mailbox and I promptly started reading. While Light My Fire started off slowly and in a different way than the previous installments this really started a new arc and answered a lot of questions while raising some new ones. It was a lot of fun catching up on people and events over the past 10 or so years as well as meeting some new characters.
Elina is a tribeswoman from an area, which had not received a lot of attention in other books so learning about them and their reputation was very entertaining. Her society is very matriarchial and is between the White Dragon Queen’s territory and those who want to convert the entire world to worshiping Chramnesind The Sightless One. Elina’s people never threatened or encroached on the Dragon Queen because easier targets were available until one day they sent one of their own on a suicide million to kill her and bring back her head. Elina knew it was a suicide mission and she really didn’t want to succeed but having be raised to never quit or fail at anything she made her way and prepared to die well. Instead she was captured, tossed in jail, and forgotten about for months until the Dragon Queen had a mission for her. One that involved dragging a useless dragon with her as an “escort” back to her land.
Celyn has had quite a history. Born in a war-mongering clan of dragons instead of rushing around looking for battle, he was chosen to be on the Queen’s private guard. While this is normally considered an honor he had a feeling it was because his family thought he was a failure so he practiced his charm, his fighting skills, and did whatever his Queen ordered. Except in this case first his Queen ordered him to keep a secret from her mate, and then he was told to escort Elina back to her home so she could negotiate a meeting between her leader and the Dragon Queen’s representative. This wouldn’t be too bad but Elina thought he was useless and really didn’t want to have him around when she was supposed to want him and adore his presence.
I loved watching Elina and Celyn interact. Celyn could not figure Elina out since she didn’t act like any other woman of his acquaintance and basically treated him like he was of no help and needed someone to care for him. As he started to realize she said what she meant and really was a great compliment to his skills as an elite Dragon Warrior, Elina slowly discovered Celyn had some unexpected depths. Several scenes with them had me laughing out loud as I was reading and when her sister joined in I laughed even harder. Let me just say the first sex scene was hysterical and leave it at that. In addition to their primary romance, I really enjoyed seeing them interact with the rest of Celyn’s family, friends, and fellow dragons. Elina’s bluntness without trying to be offensive was a perfect counterbalance to the sometimes overly florid dragons.
Like most of Aiken’s stories she has the central romance and the adventures those poor characters experience but the world continues to change around them. The White Dragon Queen and her descendents, dragons and half dragons, were a threat to the spread of Chramnesind’s followers so her lands and people ended up being targeted in a variety of different ways. Celyn and Elina’s mission was an attempt to protect one border while Queen Annwyl and her people were working other methods of protection and attempting to gather information so they could prepare a defense or attack first. Watching all of the pieces come together and seeing how the Dragons were patient enough to play the long game was really rewarding, especially with the reveal at the end of the story.
It seemed like half of the story was romance and the other half involved everything else yet the two areas were interwoven so neatly it wasn’t until much later I was able to separate the different threads. For those who, like myself, have been wondering about the first generation of human-dragon children, they come back into the picture and continue to have their own plan for the future. I really enjoyed their departures from their various places of study and training because it fit right in with their independent nature displayed in earlier installments. I also liked discovering how the human-dragon combination resulted in all sorts of unusual abilities.
Aiken has once again produced a story I have read a few times since my review copy arrived and one I know I will re-read more. I am extremely curious to find out the results of the big reveal at the end and how things will play out especially since Chramnesind’s people made the first real move. I was glad to see Celyn get his HEA and absolutely loved the introduction of Elina and her people. I hope they continue to shake things up just like every other newcomer to the White Dragon’s people has managed so far. Aiken’s writing is always entertaining and Light My Fire is no exception.
I give Light My Fire an A