Dragon Bones
by Patricia Briggs
304pp (Mass Market Paperback)
My Rating: 7/10
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5
LibraryThing Rating: 3.99/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.03/5

Book Description:

A magical tale from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Iron Kissed.

Riding into a war that’s heating up on the border, Ward, the new lord of Hurog, is sure he’s on the fast track to glory. But soon his mission takes a deadly turn. For he has seen a pile of magical dragon bones hidden deep beneath Hurog Keep. The bones could prove to be dangerous in the wrong hands, and Ward is certain his enemies will stop at nothing to possess them.

Although I love Patricia Briggs’ renowned Mercy Thompson books, I hadn’t read any of her work unrelated to this series until Dragon Bones. It’s a fairly short, entertaining, somewhat traditional fantasy with warring kingdoms and magic, but the best part of all is the main character, Ward.

When the book begins, Ward has spent the last seven years playing a part. He pretends to miss the obvious and acts as though he doesn’t completely understand conversations, all because he’s terrified of his cruel father, the lord of Hurog. Ward’s father killed his own father in order to take his place as Hurogmeten, and after he beat Ward especially badly one day, he decided he had better not do anything to make his father believe he was a threat to his rule before he actually beat him to death. Soon after the book opens, Ward’s father dies and it may no longer be wise for him to hide his intelligence, although he’s not certain whom he can trust with the truth—and he has to prove himself capable of being lord of the place he knows he belongs.

I found Ward quite compelling, although he’s by far the most fleshed out character in the book. In general, he’s kind and sympathetic and seems to go out of his way to help those who need it, and he does his best to look out for both his sister and his brother. He also seems to have a sense of humor, and often finds little ways to give people their just desserts while seeming completely innocent and oblivious to the effects of his actions. Because of this, I didn’t find it quite believable that so many believed his act, although I do think it can be justified as plausible since some did suspect and Ward also was aware that many people would expect someone who looked like he did to behave the way he did. However, I did find it completely believable that after playing a role for so many years, Ward struggled with being himself.

The beginning and the ending fit together well (although predictably given the emphasis on the meaning of “hurog”) and Dragon Bones is an enjoyable novel. It’s a great introduction to Hurog despite occasional slow pacing, and I do now want to read the sequel, Dragon Blood.

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

Book Description:

From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an original novella, set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring fan-favorites, Derek, and Curran and Kate’s very independent ward, Julie.

Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.

Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

Magic Stars, a novella set in the world of Kate Daniels, focuses on Derek and Julie. If you’ve read Magic Shifts and were wondering what exactly Julie was not telling Kate, this is the book to read to find out!

Although I didn’t find the plot of chasing down a murderous villain all that compelling, I did think Derek and Julie worked well together and there were both fun and touching moments between them. In particular, I enjoyed reading about Julie. I’m not going to spoil anything, but it was quite interesting to learn what secrets she’s been keeping from Kate! It’s a pretty quick read with some entertaining Ilona Andrews-style banter, but I didn’t think it was nearly as good as the full length novels even if it did provide some insight into Julie (which is the only reason I’m glad I read it).

My Rating: 6/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.