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Friday, October 2, 2009

The Dragons of Hazlett by Michelle Scott

The Dragons of Hazlett by Michelle Scott
Publisher: Mundania Press, LLC
Genre: Fantasy/Murder Mystery
Length: Full (212 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Heather

In Amberweise's polite society, a proper young woman of pure Magician ancestry would never involve herself with something as unpleasant as solving a murder. She would faint at the sight of wheels, pulleys, hinges or other demonic machines. She would never deign to notice the wretched lives of the non-magical commons who serve her day and night, nor would she ever dare to question the traditions of her upbringing. And, most certainly, she would never even think of falling in love with a man whose combination of common heritage and magical abilities have made him a pariah.

Good thing Romana of Amberweise isn’t a proper young woman.

Now, as she works to solve the mystery of her granduncle’s brutal murder, Romana uncovers a fearsome plot to overthrow a ruler whose tolerance for technology just might release the commons from their centuries of bondage. Besieged by dangerous enemies, Romana must use her courage and cunning to rebel against the powerful Magicians who will do anything to protect their lives of prestige and privilege.

This is the biggest surprise I’ve read so far as a reviewer. I absolutely could NOT put this book down! Read it in one sitting because I HAD to know what happened. This is not a romance, though it has romantic elements. It was touted as a fantasy. It’s really a murder mystery with paranormal trappings.

Heroine Romana is informed her great-uncle is dead and she’s his sole heir. Duty demands she go attend his funeral, but she only met the man once and barely remembers him. However, she’s a Scrying Mage of a noble house, raised that tradition and duty are all and so she goes. Hero Delainey is a companion to the ruling Pater, Dorian. Dorian has a drug addiction that makes him increasingly unstable and irrational. Delainey suspects someone murdered Romana’s Great-Uncle Jasper, and is poisoning the Pater, but who and why?

Romana and Delainey don’t think much of each other at first, but as they work together they come to respect and admire each other and eventually become friends. As mages, they have a deep abiding prejudice about the artifactors’ movement, those that support machinery over magic. Will the “common” (mundane) populace one day overthrow their magic-wielding overlords? Why would the Pater apparently condone such a movement?

All the characters had weaknesses and flaws that made them human. I really liked Romana. Delainey had moments when he annoyed me with his attitude, but I knew why he was what he was, so kudos to the author for making him so real! The only thing that tripped me up was I felt the ending was a bit abrupt. All the loose ends were tied up, but so much time was spent developing the story that I felt the resolution might have been a bit rushed. Nevertheless, all loose ends were neatly tied up with a bow. Did I mention I read this in one sitting? Until after midnight? I definitely recommend this author – and anything else she writes!