Review: Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven

Posted July 6, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 24 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven
Dragon Unleashed

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
three-flames


Series: Fallen Empire #2
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Published by Ace
Released on June 9, 2020
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight

In Phoenix Unbound, a new fantasy world is introduced.  It is diverse, colorful, and darkly dangerous.  It also introduced the heroine of Dragon Unleashed, an engaging side character named Halani.  I couldn’t wait to get Halani’s own adventure with a dragon.


Review

Dragon Unleashed is the second of the Fallen Empire series and is something of a companion novel with strong spoilers for book one so shouldn’t be read out of order.

Malachus is one of the legendary draga.  His kind have all but vanished especially within an Empire where they are hunted.  He doesn’t want to leave the land of Winosia and cross the sea, but thieving humans have stolen his mother-bond, a bone from his mother, that allows him to safely shift into his dragon form when it is time or he will immolate.  His quest takes him to a free trade market on the edge of the Empire where the hunted become the hunters and it is only with the help of a mysterious healer from one of the caravans that he survives.  Halani is like no other human he knows and he slowly learns to trust her even as the dark evil empress is closing in on the dragon she wishes to exploit and wring every last drop of magic from his blood.

Halani has lived as a trader all her life and used to her uncle’s greed, but when he acquires a magical bone and won’t listen to her about the bad feeling she has for this object, she knows trouble will follow.  And, a tall mysterious stranger whose magic sings with her own is the one who follows.  Having earth magic that she must keep secret at all costs, she adds more secrets to it because another’s life depends upon it.  Slowly, she comes to know Malachus and learns the price of her secrets might be his very life.  Will she be enough when the might of the empire comes for a draga who is nothing like she expected?

Unlike Phoenix Unbound, Dragon Unleashed takes its time building to the action part of the plot.  Slowly chess pieces are moved into place and gently the characters and their relationship are developed.  It is by no means boring, but the tension doesn’t snap into place until late so the book calls for patience.

Halani and Malachus are fabulous characters and I had no trouble engaging with both or seeing them together.   There was no hot sizzle there, but a slowly building fire. Hali’s mother Asil and the other members of the trading caravan group were fun to get to know, too- okay not her greedy uncle.  There are other perspectives- the empress and her go-to guy.  They are so warped and cruel that it was easy to hate them and cheer on their fate in the end.  Though, in that side of the story, I think I spotted the mysterious female lead of the next book.

As much as I enjoyed the characters and the storyline, I felt a little detachment and I wanted something more out of that epilogue.  It was good, but I wanted more.  Maybe that bit of more will come in the next book.

All in all, it was good stuff and I think fantasy romance fans who don’t mind a gentle pace and drawing out of the story will enjoy it.

I rec’d this book via Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.


Challenges Met

New Release #80
COYER Quarantine #50


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Nick @ The Infinite Limits of Love

I enjoyed the first book a lot so I’m looking forward to reading this one as well. I like the sound of the characters a lot. Too bad about feeling a bit detached from the book though. Glad you enjoyed it overall!

Sophia Rose
3 months ago

I have no doubt you will be fine with this one, Nick, especially since you loved book one. Maybe I was looking for a similar storyline and this one went a different way. 🙂

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
3 months ago

Oh this looks good Sophia Rose and it’s only book 2! win win

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Yes! You can get in on them early. I heard this is going to be a trilogy so that will make it easier to jump onto them, too. Love her books!

Mary Kirkland
3 months ago

I don’t mind a slower pace as long as the story is good. Glad to hear it was worth reading.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Exactly and this one is superb, Mary. 🙂

Melliane
3 months ago

I loved book 1 and if I enjoyed this one it was a bit difficult for me to connect

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Melliane

Yes, it had a different feel than the first book, but still good. 🙂

Anne - Books of My Heart

This one seemed more character driven while the first book had that plus more action. I liked them both and will be interested to see how the third will build or connect on these two. These two were barely connected.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago

Yes, exactly. The first one was exciting and got intense several times while this one built to that point without much action in the earlier chapters.
I agree. It will be interesting to see how the third one ties in.

vvb
vvb
3 months ago

It will be interesting to hear how this develops in the next book. Love the cover with that eye.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  vvb

Yes, I think I figured out who will be the next main character. I’m really curious.

That cover is gorgeous and I love the dragon eye in the background.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

Yes, this didn’t have quite the effect on me that the first did. It is still wonderful and like you I recommend it..but the first was magic.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago

I confess that the early half disappointed a tad, but only because the first book set such a high bar. 🙂

Lover of Romance
3 months ago

What a great review you have here. I am so happy that you enjoyed this one. It is slower paced, but this author makes it work. Hope you enjoy the next book in the series when its released.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago

I had to adjust to the different pacing from the first one, but I still loved it. Yes! Can’t wait for book three and to see if I’m right about the heroine. 🙂

Rachel
3 months ago

Glad to hear the second book was a hit for you, too, and hope you get that little more you’re looking for in the next book! 🙂

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

Thanks, Rachel! Now, that I realize that the author might alter the formula and pace from book to book, I’ll be a bit more prepared for that. 🙂

Lola
3 months ago

This sounds like a good series and that’s great this was a good sequel even with it having a different vibe than the first book and more of a slow build.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Lola

Exactly. It took a bit for me to adjust my expectations, but I really enjoyed the story.

Carole Rae
3 months ago

I really must read book 1

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Definitely! It was sensational.

Jen
Jen
3 months ago

I really liked this one – not quite as much as the first – but it’s a solid story, albeit a bit slow. I wasn’t sure if there would be more books considering the climatic scene of this one, but I hope so! Nice review.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Jen

I definitely liked it. I had to adjust that it wasn’t going to be like the first one. I really hope that mysterious gal who was the child’s nurse gets the third story. 🙂