Genre Paranormal Romance Published 25 June 2013 Publisher Pocket Books Series Dragon Kings book one
Ten years ago, Audrey MacLaren chose to marry her human lover, making her an exile from the Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons once worshiped as earthly gods. Audrey and her husband managed to conceive, and their son is the first natural-born Dragon King in a generation—which makes him irresistible to the sadistic scientist whose mafia-funded technology allows demon procreation.
In the year since her husband was murdered, Audrey and her little boy have endured hideous experiments.
Shackled with a collar and bound for life, Leto Garnis is a Cage warrior. Only through combat can Dragon Kings earn the privilege of conceiving children. Leto uses his superhuman speed and reflexes to secure the right for his two sisters to start families. After torture reveals Audrey’s astonishing pyrokenesis, she is sent to fight in the Cages. If she survives a year, she will be reunited with her son. Leto is charged with her training. Initially, he has no sympathy for her plight. But if natural conception is possible, what has he been fighting for? As enemies, sparring partners, lovers, and eventual allies, Leto and Audrey learn that in a violent underground world, love is the only prize worth winning.
The Urban Book Thief Review
I adore trying out a brand new book series. It always feels a little bit like Christmas – some years it is awesome and fun, but other years it can be over-hyped and slightly disappointing. But not this year folks, oh no – Santa has delivered and it is COMPLETELY BODACIOUS. Yes, even Bill and Ted would get down on their knees and worship at the shrine that is Lindsey Piper and her fantabulous Dragon King series.
This has to be hands down my favourite new paranormal romance series of 2013 to date.
This book is not for the faint-hearted. It is raw, it is violent and it made me cry like a right old ninny. I must point out straight-up that this is not a shifter novel nor were there any dragons in this book at all. The Dragon Kings are a race of people with long lives and super awesome powers (dragon gifts), the actual power depends on which of the five clans they come from.
This author has the ability to let the book’s world shine through without copious pages of info dumps and awkward this is how things work round ‘ere kinda speeches. Brilliant.
We join Audrey MacLaren at probably the lowest moment of her life. Her husband is dead, her six year old son is being held captive by a mad scientist and she has spent the last couple of months in a lab being cut open, tested upon and subjected to all manner of nasty surprises. We join her as she wakes up in a small dark cell to be told that she is now a neophyte. Basically a baby cage fighter with no privileges, no possessions and certainly no voice. And the person who wakes her up is her trainer, Leto Garnis, a super McHottie with a Body. He’s one step above feral and has never lost a fight in his twenty year cage fighting history.
“Yet he was sexy in the basest, most primitive sense. Weapons and armor and strength. Unequaled skills. He possessed confidence she doubted could ever be matched. Rather than want to divest him of that confidence, she wanted to get closer, soak it up, know what it was like to look at the world with such unabashed certainty.”
Audrey has been through hell and back – and that is before she even steps inside a gladiatorial ring. To her people and her clan, the Tigony clan, she is Nynn. The woman who left her people to live as a human, to marry a human and do something that no other had done for a generation– give birth without the intervention of medical science. This miracle is the reason why her world was torn apart and why she and her son are now at the mercy of a corrupt family.
Nynn is told that if she survives the year then she can go free and take her son with her… which will be a challenge as she has no combat experience or dragon gift to speak of. But this is a woman on a mission and she wants to make those mothers pay! Damn straight – no one messes with a kick-ass lady holding a serious grudge who has a handsome male side-kick for back up. Nuh-ah. Slowly Nynn comes to realise that she has something extremely powerful at her fingertips. So powerful that parts of her memory are missing… gone and lost forever. But what is that power and will those lost memories ever be restored to her? Plus the more Nynn trains, the more she realises that something about herself is different. Something more.
It’s a very stark story. It’s certainly not an easy love story either. Nynn hates Leto at first – and this continues for a long time. Despite the impressive pectorals. He can’t save her, no matter how he feels emotionally – but he can teach her how to survive, despite the beatings and the torture, the starvation and the brainwashing.
Leto is such a character. Misguided, honorable and incredibly intelligent, he is from Clan Garnis. The Lost. Special among their kind, he is incredibly quick with super fast reflexes (but not too fast, if you get my drift…). I must admit, I’m a sucker for the ‘unloved boy lurking under a man’s skin’ syndrome. He is completely the epitome of this. A strategist in and out of the cage, his intelligence – pitting people against their own demons, is part of what has kept him alive the last twenty years. Leto is not a slave or paying off debts to one of the cartel factions like many of the other inmates, but fights for his family. He fights to afford medical expenses for his younger sister and fights so that his family can reproduce and carry on the Garnis line. But at what cost?
When he falls for Nynn, he falls HARD and it isn’t pretty. Leto doesn’t treat her gently, but as a warrior. They have a strange but strong elemental connection, one that could land them in a world of trouble. And pain. Throughout the book, Nynn tries to open his eyes to the outside world and when they do open, it is a beautiful thing.
“I’ve seen the snow and the sun now, but without you, I’ll live in the dark forever.”
Overall, I thought this book was the bomb, but if fighting and violence is not your thang than look away now. I don’t reckon that the book is as violent as say, the BDB boy’s fights, but nor is it a walk in the park either. Th author writes about tough social issues such as abuse, slavery and gender inequality. These are not easy things to read about but they make for a darn fine story. Give this new series a try, you won’t be disappointed and please book gods, please let Tallis be next. Pretty please!
The Urban Book Thief has awarded Caged Warrior a kiss factor rating of five – epically bodacious.