A Boy and His Dragon

BoyandHisDragon[A]Title: A Boy and his Dragon
Author: R Cooper
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon:
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: Novel/240 PDF pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Review Summary: A lovely romance that could have been improved with more worldbuilding and a faster pace.

THE BLURB

A Being(s) in Love Story

Arthur MacArthur needs a job, and not just for the money. Before he dropped out of school to support his younger sister, he loved being a research assistant at the university. But working for a dragon, one of the rarest and least understood magical beings, has unforeseen complications. While Arthur may be the only applicant who isn’t afraid of Philbert Jones in his dragon form, the instant attraction he feels for his new employer is beyond disconcerting.

Bertie is a brilliant historian, but he can’t find his own notes without help—his house is a hoard of books and antiques, hence the need for an assistant. Setting the mess to rights is a dream come true for Arthur, who once aspired to be an archivist. But making sense of Bertie’s interest in him is another matter. After all, dragons collect treasure, and Arthur is anything but extraordinary.

THE REVIEW

Readers who love paranormal stories, especially those with shapeshifters, tend to like different types of shifters. My choice of shifter is a dragon and I’m always on the lookout for new stories about them. A Boy and His Dragon was a no-brainer for me and I eagerly snatched it up, anticipating being engrossed in a different world.

When Arthur met Dr. Philbert Jones, or Bertie, for the first time it was for a job interview as his assistant, and he was scared because Bertie interviewed him in his dragon form. Bertie’s intent was clear. He wanted to test Arthur’s mettle. It was important for Arthur to ace the interview and get the job because even though he had been working three jobs, partly to take care of his sister who had a few issues, he still could not make ends meet. Once he started working for Bertie he realized how difficult the job was, much more than he had anticipated. To compound matters he was falling for the dragon and he knew that throughout history, relationships between humans and Beings never went well.

Bertie was cleverly drawn and inspired. He was an exceptional dragon, very different from any shapeshifter in my favourite stories. His character was unusually sympathetic, original, charming, witty and whimsical. His most endearing traits were his kindness and gentleness to Arthur and the way he cared for him, although he was always teasing him, making innuendos and flirting, but he never said outright what he wanted or what Arthur meant to him. He was certainly not the typical fire breathing alpha dragon, and the author did a great job of giving readers this wonderfully complex picture of a dragon, a feat that’s difficult to accomplish when the story is told from the other MC’s third person POV. He was also very perceptive. He realized that Arthur was sensitive about his financial circumstances so he tried to help him without being obvious.

Arthur was just as three dimensional – vulnerable and kind, always wanting to do the right thing for his sister and Bertie. He was also shy and ashamed about his personal circumstances, mostly a lack of money, and he tried to hide his desperate situation from Bertie. He would do anything for his formerly wayward sister and Bertie, and when he felt that Bertie was being threatened he did what he could to protect him, so he was definitely not a wimp.

This is one of the loveliest romances that I have read in a while but the pace of the romance, in fact the pace of the story was slower than the usual paranormal romance. I liked the way that the romance evolved but I wanted the other elements of the story to go a little faster as I thought it lost focus a bit in the middle. The worldbuilding was another area that I thought needed to be moved into higher gear as most of the story took place in Bertie’s home which seemed to have some strange properties but was not magical.

A Boy and His Dragon contained a lot of dragon lore and poetry that was detailed and mystical but there’s not much angst or conflict in the book; I didn’t think that was necessary as the story was complete and delightful. However the lack of angst might disappoint readers who are accustomed to it in their M/M romances, but Arthur’s sister had an interesting past. Also, don’t expect lots of excitement and danger – you won’t find it here.

I really liked the romance between a dragon, or Being, and a human. What won me over was the way Arthur and Bertie were so transparent in their love for each other but although this was clear to readers, neither MC seemed to realize how important he was to the other protagonist. I loved the eloquence of the writing and its freshness which brought Bertie so beautifully to life. There’s very little sex in the book which I thought was appropriate, so if this is important to you, you might be disappointed, but when Bertie and Arthur revealed their feelings to each other there was a sweetness that I haven’t found in many M/M romances.

The lack of worldbuilding and the pace of the story were the only reasons I didn’t give this book 5 stars but I enjoyed it immensely.

Highly recommended if you’re looking for a beautiful romance. As you probably figured out, although Arthur was delightful, Bertie was my favourite.

 

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

28 comments

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this one too. Unlike other readers I also really enjoyed Some Kind of Magic, I liked the werewolf / fairy pairing very much. Play it Again irritated me as I thought it overblown and deliberately inarticulate. So Bertie and Arthur were a joy to meet. 😀

    Thanks for lovely review Wave.

    Reply
    • Hi Raine

      Thank you for the kind words.

      This book was such a delight I’m seriously tempted to read SKoM. I’m weighing the pros and cons of the differing opinions regarding the story and yesterday I read Feliz’s review. I’m still on the fence. However I know I won’t be reading Play it Again.

      Reply
  • Oh! I cannot wait to read this! I’ve had it in my TBR since it came out. I love all things shifter but dragons are my very favorite. There’s just something about the paranormal and the fantasy that makes it truly magical. I’m gonna have to read it next.

    Btw, I just started Familiar…finally 😀

    Reply
      • I’ve finally finished it. I am a big paranormal/fantasy fan, so dragons tend to be my favorite, although I have thing for all sorts of shifters. Most of all I love Bertie. His quirkiness and eccentricities just made him all the better. I like the originality of his character as a dragon shifter. There are so many out there that it’s hard to be original, but he will remain one of my favorites. I also really liked the old world romanticism mixed in with real world problems. This history of dragons and Beings added a good layer to the story, as well. But I’m with you, it was a slow read, especially in the beginning, but once I got into it I really liked the story. And I would have liked more world building as well because what was described was fascinating.

        Reply
        • Hi Crissy

          First of all I’m so pleased that you liked this book and that you found the same flaws with the story that I did, as well as the high points. Wasn’t Bertie the best? Dragons are my favourite shifters, even dragons in their natural form, and he was definitely awesome.

          I hope that this author writes another story about dragons with much more worldbuilding, building on what’s in A Boy and His Dragon.

          Reply
  • Great Review Wave!
    I liked the first chapter on the DSP site so much that I pre-orders this one and was so glad I did!
    A real slow building romance that left me very happy!

    Reply
    • Hello Ailish

      I loved the way the love between Bertie and Arthur unfolded. No slam bam thank you man. Just a beautifully written romance. the dragon lore was exceptional too, even though there was not a lot of worldbuilding.

      Reply
  • Once I’d gotte over the 😯 a dragon named Bertie? seriously? I loved this one too! My rating would’ve been the same as yours for the very same reasons. At times, Arthur thought so much during a conversation that by the time he spoke on, I’d already forgotten what they’d been talking about.
    I didn’t mind the little worldbuilding so much as I’d read other Beings In Love stories beforehand. But Arthur’s sister, despite all the background about her, remained pale to me.
    A beautiful story!

    Reply
    • Hi Feliz

      I’m so glad we agree on the rating and the story.

      I thought that the author needed to do something about the pacing which was in danger of losing its focus a couple times. Also, I really missed the worldbuilding I’ve been accustomed to whenever I read a book about dragons. I had never read any of the other Beings in Love stories so I didn’t know this lack of worldbuilding was the norm.

      You’re right about the sister – she was in the book a fair amount but wasn’t three dimensional enough to make an impact, although she was the reason Arthur was desperate about money and always hungry.

      In the end the author pulled it out and delivered a remarkable story.

      PS Bertie is really Dr. Philbert if you want to get technical. 🙂

      Reply
  • I really enjoyed “Play it Again, Charlie” by this author, so plan to buy the book for this one. I’m ready for a less-angsty story and this sounds perfect!
    Glad you reviewed it!

    Reply
    • Hi radfan7

      I had heard conflicting opinions on Play it Again Charlie and was therefore hesitant to read A Boy and His Dragon, but this book exceeded my expectations mainly because of Bertie the dragon. I hope you like it half as much as I did.

      Reply
  • I couldn’t resist a dragon shifter and pre-ordered this book. I absolutely agree with your review (though I wouldn’t have been able to put it into words!). I like angsty reads as well but a story as sweet and lovely as this one is a definite reread.
    I bought the other of the Being(s) in Love stories on the strength of this book but didn’t enjoy it as much.

    Reply
    • Hi Andrea

      This really is a lovely story and I’m happy you enjoyed it as much as I did. Very little angst, (which made me happy :)) but a wonderful romance, even though there was very little conflict. I haven’t read any other Beings in Love stories and probably won’t because I loved this book only due to Bertie the dragon and of course Arthur.

      Reply
      • I picked up Some Kind of Magic, the other Being(s) in Love story because I enjoy shifter/fantasy stories and loved the dragon story. SKoM wasn’t bad but it was not great either – I think for the same reason that you won’t read the other book: the MCs were just that compelling in A Boy and His Dragon and made the story and SKoM didn’t live up to that.

        Reply
        • Thanks for clarifying SKoM. I was thinking of getting it but I would have been looking for characters that are as compelling as Bertie and Arthur and would have been disappointed.

          If you read any other dragon shifter books that you can recommend please email me.

          Reply
    • Majken

      Would it help if I said that other than the first time I met Bertie, he was only in his dragon form one other time in the book? Maybe you could re-consider because it really is a wonderful love story.

      A question: If you love dragons, are you looking for dragons stories where the dragons are not shifters and remain in their dragon form throughout the book, rather than their human form?

      Reply
      • I’m looking for dragons that are dragons, no human form whatsoever, when I say all things shifter I also mean ‘off screen’, I just can’t read it, it’s a squick of mine

        Something along the line of Anne McCaffreys dragons where they share a bond with a human is more my thing 🙂

        Reply
        • See, I’m just the opposite of you Majken to some extent. I love dragons in both their dragon form as well as when they’re human. I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders books years ago and loved them, but I also love dragon shifters. 😀 😮

          Reply
          • It’s a good thing we’re all different or life would be boring, and who knows, maybe one day someone will write my kind of dragons into an m/m, until then I’ll stick to the Pernese ones 😉

            Reply
  • Let me count the ways how much I loved Bertie. Seriously loved him (Mine, mine, mine) and Arthur and totally agree with the review.

    I was not even bothered by lack of world building, usually romance in such limited settings would have made me feel claustrophobic and here I was just enjoying them. So funny so sweet, so very lovely.

    Reply
    • Isn’t Bertie wonderful. I thought he was delicious. He reminds me somewhat of Rodney (I can’t remember the name of the book but I know you read it).

      I haven’t read any other books by this author and many readers are ambivalent about Play it Again charlie which I haven’t read, but A Boy and His Dragon is definitely on top of my list. Wonderful book!

      Reply
    • I’m so happy you thought my assessment of this story was correct. 😀 This was a really romantic story and I couldn’t have loved Bertie more, although Arthur was a close runner-up. 😆

      Reply

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