** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS WHAT MAY BE CONSIDERED SPOILERS **
Title: Sword of the King (Dance with the Devil series)
Author: Megan Derr
Cover Artist: London Burden
Publisher: Less than Three Press
Buy Links: Amazon Publisher
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Novel (236 print pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Larissa
Review Summary: If you are looking for a unique twist on dragons, strong, tough men, some action, adventure, drama and very hawt polyamory, then look no further than the last book in the Dance with the Devil series
Dragons are amongst the most feared creatures in the paranormal world, nigh unbeatable and barely controllable. Every year, countless men and women who bear dragon potential are stolen away and turned into beasts, their former lives lost forever. They are drugged to compliance and trained to fight in the notorious D Pits for the profit of the crime lords who breed them.
Blaze has been a pit fighter all his life, and it is a life he hates. The only thing that keeps him going is that if he stops, he risks losing the only thing that matters to him: his dragon, Erie. Though pit rules say it’s a bad idea to get too close to the dragons, Blaze has never been able to help it. He’ll do anything to protect Erie.
Ken and his dragon Nevada were once victims of the pits, stolen from their normal lives and made to fight. Now, they work to bring down the pits they despise, though the battle seems futile. Everyone who has ever tried has wound up dead. Stopping the pit fights once and for all would take a miracle—or a legend.
Oh I do love me some dragons! With Sword of the King you get some really cool and unique dragons all wrapped up in a neat little package.
I’ll admit that this book won’t be for everyone. This story has multiple protagonists. I’m aware not everyone likes this, but if done well, it doesn’t bother me and I thought it was well done in this instance.
Sword of the King features the Syndicates and pit fighting in the world of the Dance with the Devil series. While none of the characters from previous books show up, it’s clear it’s the same world, just as the dragons and pit fighting were mentioned in previous books. No fear, this book can be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend the rest of this series.
The dragons in this story are different from any other story in that they are mythical creatures, but with a twist. In this setting, the dragons are humans who have dragon genes. Once their potential is discovered (usually through their fixation on candy or fruit) they are turned through certain drugs and they lose their humanity and become dragons. While able to shift back to human form, they usually prefer their dragon state. They are no massive, big flying creatures, but more like overgrown lizards. Think Chinese dragons, but different. They are no longer human, but they become weapons in the hands of humans. When bonded with their owner or master, they will live and fight for their owner/master. If not part of The Clans, they are usually owned by the Syndicate and forced to fight in the pits for money and entertainment or used as enforcers.
There is more to it than just this. The dragons that are part of the Clans are vastly different, but if I go into that angle I will be giving away way too much of the plot. Suffice to say it’s good and worth the read.
As you can gather from the above explanation, there is quite some world-building in Sword of the King and this author is a good storyteller. The description of dragons and their masters/owners are descriptive and vivid and well done. It’s funny, enamoring, sweet and scary to see the relationship between owner and dragon. Especially the dynamic between Blaze and Erie is cute.
When starting this story, I was afraid it would feature mostly pit fights, but it’s more of an adventure that starts with pit fighter Blaze and his dragon Erie. They are both well trained and very good at what they do. Blaze has known no other life than that of the pits, but he’ll do anything to get Erie out. He’s tired of fighting and afraid of not only losing Erie, but also of the Syndicate boss Rust finding out that he is sleeping with Erie. This is something that is a big ‘no no’. His out comes when a dragon of high percentage is discovered in the territory of another Syndicate and Blaze and Erie are asked to help train it, but their secret orders are to acquire/steal it.
Rafael is the brother of the Syndicate boss that discovered Cam, the new and highly wanted dragon. He has a good feel for dragons and is good at training them, but with Cam he is way over his head. His brother owns the ice dragon Conway, though Conway clearly has eyes only for Raf.
Together with Ken and his dragon Nevada, both in it to stop the pit fights, and Amr a dragon trainer, they are in for quite the adventure to keep Cam from falling into the wrong hands.
There are quite a few plot angles in Sword of the King but they are handled well. Not once did I feel overwhelmed by what was going on. It was nice to see how they all come together in the second half of the story.
While it was handled well, I thought the ending could have used some work. There is no open ending but it did leave me with a feeling that it was unfinished or a set-up for more. Or maybe I just didn’t want the story to end.
What did bother me a bit were the numerous editing errors. While it’s not uncommon with this publisher, it was even worse than usual and it was only that the story and the dragons were so amazing that kept me going.
Sword of the King is definitely a story for readers with a love of dragons. It offers a unique twist on dragons and it involves the legend of King Arthur (that got ya intrigued ey, but I’m not saying any more on it), plus some hot men with their dragons. What’s more can a girl want? Oh right, chocolate to eat while reading it!