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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dragonborne by Chandra Ryan

Dragonborne by Chandra Ryan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (72 pgs)
Heat Level: hot
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Water Lily

For her people, she’d sacrifice anything. For her, he’ll sacrifice everything.

When the children of her village start dying of a mysterious plague, Sophie refuses to believe it’s the will of their deity. As the town cleric, she’s always followed the church’s strict rules, but enough is enough. She vows to do anything to find a cure—even if it means defying the church.

The giant black dragon she finds injured and poisoned near the abbey seems beyond her ability to heal. Until he suddenly shifts into a dangerously handsome man who, even in his weakened state, is a temptation beyond her ability to resist.

Reuel has never trusted humans, but this delicate young woman entrances him with more than her beauty. Her bravery, devotion and passion call to his wounded heart, and he’s moved to lend his magic to her cause. Magic that is not only powerful, it’s all too tempting to abuse—something his family has never let him forget.

Sophie is hopeful when Reuel solves the secret of the plague, until one healing uncovers a sickness that runs far deeper than the children’s vulnerable bodies. Now she is being persecuted, and to save her, Reuel may have to become the monster his family believes him to be…

This novella should be a novel.

Sister Sophie is a great heroine. She’s a strong, principled, and very caring plant specialist trying to save her village’s dying children. Her betrothed, Brother Naryn, is a healer who is all too comfortable with his young patients’ deaths and far too supportive of the new healer Sister Lilith. The mysterious disease killing the children is as disturbing as Naryn’s reaction. But there are hints that Naryn has deeper thoughts and motivation than is first apparent.

Even though Sophie is an herbalist and not a healer, she races to help Reuel, a hunky injured dragon shot from the sky. Their connection is instant and steamy. The reader sees snippets of Reuel’s story and it’s an interesting one. The hints of his life before this story, intrigues me. It’s easy to see he’s a much more complicated character than revealed in this novella.

Chandra Ryan packs a lot in the seventy-two short pages that comprise Dragonborne. This story is filled with more complicated plot points and deeper conflict than some full length novels. While I loved the characters and the story, I found myself wishing for more — more description, deeper characterization, a closer look at dragon life and society, and more time to delve into the various conflicts. Naryn’s story, Sophie’s story, Lilith’s story all could easily have been expanded. This book felt like several chapters out of a really good full length novel. And I want to read that novel.

Chandra Ryan writes a good novella, but I think she should write long instead of short. I loved the world of Dragonborne. I want this to be expanded into a novel. Chandra, give me more!