I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
by Grace Draven
Released: June 9, 2020
Series: Fallen Empire #2
“This was an action packed adventure with a brilliant romance and some unforgettable characters”
~ Under the Covers
I am already a fan of Grace Draven, but even if I wasn’t I would have to pick up this book, why you ask? Firstly, look at that cover, it’s a work of art. I could frame it and put it on my wall and it wouldn’t look out of place. Secondly, dragons. I love a book with dragons in, especially when they are the good guys.
In Dragon Unleashed dragons are actually called draga and in the cruel Krael Empire they were hunted down to extinction generations ago. The Empress even has a throne made of draga bone. Malachus is one of the last, if not the last, draga and is forced to journey to the Krael Empire to retrieve something that was stolen from him. Something that if he doesn’t get back soon will mean his death. Halani is an Earth witch in an empire that has outlawed, on pain of death, magic. So taking in the injured man who earlier showed her great kindness is a dangerous risk. Both Halani and Malachus have secrets, but for both of them to survive all the trials the Krael Empire forces on them, must learn to trust each other.
I almost feel like I could divide this review into three sections: The Good, The Bad, The Things In Between. When I say this though I am not talking about the merits of the book, I am talking about the character types. We have the good guys, we have the bad guys and then we have the characters stuck in between.
For anyone who likes a slow burn romance, this is just the book you need to pick up. Luckily, I really enjoy a slow burn romance. Not that Halani and Malachus don’t have some chemistry they do, right from the start there is a spark between these two characters. A spark that Draven then expertly and organically fans into trust, friendship and more. The only issue I had was that I wanted to see more of them as a romantic couple. Most of the book is the development of their relationship and I would have liked to bask more in the culmination of it.
There’s nothing worse than a fantasy book, or really any book where the forces of good and evil clash, when the bad guys are…meh. You want someone you can revile and hate, someone that when the good guy or girl slices their head off with their flaming sword of justice, you are right there with them rejoicing as the blood spurts. Or, perhaps you prefer a wicked and charismatic bad guy someone who you can’t help but emphasise with, so that when that flaming sword slices through their neck there’s tears in your eyes and doubt in your heart. Either way, you want a villain that causes a reaction.
In Dragon Unleashed the villain was pure evil. We’ve already met the Empress of Krael in book one of this series and her evil continues in this book as well. She was evil, a sadistic psychopath who enjoyed wielding her power for her own wicked ends. The blackness of her soul was entirely without nuance, which sounds like a criticism, but it really isn’t. She was bad and the conflicts she causes was delicious and frustrating and provoking in all the best ways. Also, does anyone else love a female villain?
The In Between
The In Between aka the grey area, is normally something I love and it was no different in this book. Mainly I am talking about Gharek, known as the Empress’ cat’s paw. Feared throughout the Empire, he does her dirty jobs, of which there are many. But, the more we begin to understand Gharek and the awful things he has done, the more we realise that he’s also a victim, a slave to the Empress. I really hope we find out more about him and explore his story further in future books.
This was an action packed adventure with a brilliant romance and some unforgettable characters, I highly recommend giving it a read. If you haven’t read the first book in the Fallen Empire series, I think this could probably be read as a standalone. All I know is, I can’t wait to see what Draven gives us next.
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