Reviewed by: E
War makes strange bedfellows.
I, Gaius Domitus, one-eyed rebel dragon king of the Provinces, know that better than most, since I have to fight off half my ungrateful family on a regular basis to keep law and order here in my lands. But I never expected to have to consort with a barbarian human woman.
Kachka is beautiful, if you like them fierce—and of course I do. But she keeps complaining about how spoiled and decadent I am, and how a feared Daughter of the Steppes has no time for foolish dragons. I think she likes my eye patch, though. It is quite dashing. With death always at our tails, we take our passion like we take our allies. As they say, love the barbarian you’re with…
This blurb came from Goodreads
I think about twice a year for several years now I have come on the blog and mentioned that I thoroughly enjoy Aiken’s writing either as Aiken or as Laurenston. I am happy to sit here and be able to say once again that I really love her writing! Events have continued to progress in the Dragon Kin world as things move towards what looks like an impressive confrontation with Queen Annwyl and her allies on one side facing Chramnesind (The Eyeless One) and his minions on the other.
In this particular novel Gaius Domitus has made several appearances in previous stories starting with The Dragon Who Loved Me, Book 5, and ending in the most recent. In each of those, except for the first, he appeared rather urbane, calm, and controlled if slightly nonplussed by Annwyl but most who meet her are. It was a lot of fun to see Gaius at his best and his worse while contrasting him to the Cadwaladrs and Bercelak’s brood. He had the extreme self-confidence of most dragons but his way of manipulating and annoying others was much more subtle while still having a fabulous effect. Still dealing with the combination of guilt and anger over his sister’s imprisonment at the hands of their uncle and cousin he set out after their remaining supporters.
Kachka, sister to Elina (heroine of Light My Fire, Book 7) was bored. Skilled and aggressive enough to to marry she never settled down with any of the Steppes men because she didn’t want to be stuck there. After helping her sister escape their mother she expected to die a glorious death in battle but instead found herself living in Queen Annwyl’s palace growing soft, lazy, and discontented with life. Her only enjoyment came from scaring the “sheep,” humans who served in Annwyl’s palace, and deflating the dragons’ immense self-importance. Annwyl noticed this and frustrated with Chramnesind’s incursions into her territory, destroying places of worship, and brutally killing all who worshiped there she asked Kachka if she was willing to get rid of the problem. Kachka eagerly agreed and collecting her own band of Steppe misfits set out to build a team loyal to her and therefore Queen Annwyl alone.
Kachka and Gaius on their separate missions ended up crossing paths on multiple occasions. Each time they noticed how easy and entertaining it was to use each other to annoy the other dragons. They also discovered how much fun it was to tease each other and from there discovered they were extremely compatible in other ways. Like always, I enjoyed the central romance as well as the multiple levels of interaction between all of the characters. I really wonder what the first generation of half-human/half-dragons are going to unleash on the world and their enemies if they survive each other. Getting to know the members of Kachka’s team, Gaius’ sister and aunt, and this particular group of Mi-runach was a lot of fun. I have hopes that some of them will get their own storyline in the future.
In addition to the memorable characters, Aiken moved the storyline ahead and tied up a few lingering threads while exposing more of what appears to be a long running battle of the Gods left to the humans, dragons, and half-dragons to end. Aiken hinted at other parts of the world having a stake in this battle with the reappearance of Eastern Dragon magic and Gods, who have ben absent since much earlier in the series. I am gaining a sneaky suspicion that Annwyl knows more then she is displaying and has a plan in mind. I hope so because I wonder how they are going to manage to win the war since the enemy appears to be violating the rules.
Feel the Burn as always was an entertaining read that gave me several laughs, a few tense moments, and left me with the desire for more. Dragons were my first fantasy love and to see Aiken’s take on them really brings me joy. I love her world and how it is always expanding along with her over the top characters. I can reread this series over and over again and never find it dull or repetitive. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
I give Feel the Burn an A-/B+
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