Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on December 3, 2013
There are certain words that are bound to grab my attention. ‘Highland’ and ‘Dragon’ are two of them and they were in the same title so…yeah, forgone conclusion that I was going to grab this one up for my reading pleasure. This was the first of a historical paranormal romance series and as such there was a deal of set up and introduction work going on. I enjoyed the story from all the paranormal races brought to life in Victorian London to the build up of suspense as a vengeful villain sought to harm the good guy dragon, but I wasn’t necessarily wowed by it when all was said and done.
Before I go much further, must address the cover. I focused in on the title for my part when I was choosing this one, but I want to give fair warning to all those who make reading decisions based on covers. Cover doesn’t match the story. Yes, Laird Stephen MacAlisdair is a highlander, no kilts to be seen, and yes there is a sword, but the story is set entirely in London and the sword stays firmly hooked to the wall above the mantle. Just wanted to put that out there for those looking for a sword-wielding highlander in a kilt in the highlands.
Story starts with Mina getting suspicious of one of her employer’s guests after her employer shows signs of fear. Her intrepid nosiness is rewarded by landing her in a heap of trouble involving a larger than life red dragon, shadow creatures, a vengeful human who wields magic and an autocratic Scotsman. Mina has raised herself up from her humble beginnings and has no intentions of letting her new situation intimidate or cower her. She learns the eye-widening lesson that there is more in the world than humans as she resides under the protection of an actual dragon who is the laird of a clan of dragons. Together they work to stop a man who doesn’t care about human life and has made it his mission to get back at the men who stopped him once before. Now, if she struggles to control her attraction to Stephen MacAlisdair, just the reminder that she is human and a commoner and he is neither, keeps things realistic for her.
Stephen was none too pleased when a bristling, stubborn, loyal and brave human woman stumbles into his life and his secrets. She juts out that chin, whips out his fire poker and thinks she’s brave enough to take on the supernatural nasties of London or at least she is willing to try. After a while, he comes to trust her judgment and respect her strong nature. When they complete their task of locating his enemy, he wonders what his life will be like without her in it.
This was one of those stories that had many things I liked which allowed me to enjoy the story, but there were things that left me less than satisfied too. The romance was just meh for me and I can’t really put the finger on why other than I wasn’t into the characters maybe. There was a nice build up where they first learned to respect each other and they gave into attraction a few times and I even liked them together, but all that being said, I was just mildly interested.
The action part of the plot was great until the last scene left me wanting more after the villain was built up as this big baddie. Not to say that it didn’t get real exciting there, but just that it was a wink and a blink affair.
As to the characters, I was a bit taken aback when this one opened. Mina was just so gung-ho into affairs that were not her own and then got all up in Stephen’s grill because he was none to thrilled about her interference. She’s a self-made woman and trust me, that has all my respect, but she was a bit of a reverse snob about it and oversensitive as a result. It was the whole demand respect instead of earn it thing. She had a bit of the ‘I’m right; you’re wrong na na na boo boo’ thing going too. And she was right, but many times she was just lucky too. Now while, Mina’s character sort of hits you in the face with her personality, Stephen’s is much more laid back and neutral. He takes his responsibilities and duties seriously, he is sensible in the face of other people’s expertise, but he doesn’t ooze power and personality.
So, it was a slow-building story with a mild romance set against a paranormal Victorian world. I enjoyed when Stephen was the dragon and want to read his brother’s story. I would recommend this book for those who enjoy the blend of the historical and paranormal romance with a romance that is more sweet than spicy and a plot with some good action sequences sprinkled throughout.
This was my TBR pile choice for the month which set me up nicely to be able to read the sequel about Stephen’s brother as a review commitment this month. Look forward to what you pick for me next month.