Title: The Only Option
Author: Megan Derr
Publisher: Self Published
Word Count: 30,000
Reviewed by: PrinCkhera
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.
When he is summoned to the royal castle, Rochus anticipates nothing more than a particularly difficult assignment. The bothersome journey is almost made worthwhile when he is propositioned by a young, beautiful dragon, Tilo, who seems untroubled by the fact that Rochus is a necromancer.
When Rochus arrives at the castle he is ordered to marry the very same dragon he spent the night with. Though Rochus would rather sign papers and return home, he is helpless against Tilo’s pleas for help, even if it means spending more time around a man he is desperately drawn to but who doesn’t seem to want him.
My fourth Megan Derr in the past month. Enough to know that Ms. Derr is wonderfully capable of crafting fantasies where two characters find each other, despite their stations or circumstances, and fall in love. Though there is no insta-love, usually there is insta-lust, to a certain extent.
Rochus, 43 year old necromancer, has been hurt more times than he can count by his “lovers”. Either it’s betrayal, or some other form of hurt – but it always ends in the other leaving him because they cannot stand his half-dead state any longer.
That’s also why, when he comes across a young, beautiful dragon – clearly flirting with him – he doesn’t rise to the bait…
“What do you want, kit?”
“Things that wouldn’t interest little kits.”
Immediately, that is.
It takes this dragon drowning Rochus with a bloody kiss and straddling his lap (in public) before he can even get Rochus to follow him.
What was supposed to be a one night thing, turns into so much more when Rochus finds out that he’s supposed to get married to this young dragon the very next day.
While Rochus is forced into the marriage by the Queen, Tilo doesn’t know what else to do. His land needs a necromancer but because of mysterious circumstances, his petitions requesting one have gone ignored. Upon arrival, finding out that none had even reached the Magus Supreme, he falters, feeling as though he has no choice, and chooses to enter a marriage. Anything, if it’ll get him a necromancer to take home and solve the problem.
What is interesting about Ms. Derr’s fantasies that kings and queens are able to take lovers of the same sex, and usually they do.
There is nothing strange, as in nobody thinks twice about it, about same sex couples in her books, which is a novel idea for me because I haven’t come across many books that choose that route because usually there is some angst or some degree of “concealing-the-relationship” going on. Those that do, are like Ms. Derr’s – high fantasy. Which makes me curious, what if she were to create a story with such complete acceptance in our contemporary society? A premise I have yet to see, and interesting enough it makes me wonder whether she’d be willing to explore it.
You feel compassion for Rochus, because of the discrimination he faces – and hate bashing to be exact even though he’s providing a service that his country and fellowmen are desperately in need of.
Yes, he has blue teeth, blue hair and drinks blood. Technically he’s half dead – or half spirit – whichever way you look at it. He fights those misusing the dead, and as a necromancer has to face the stares, glares, and far too frequent traps.
I don’t know whether this counts as racist or not. Because he is human, however, half of him is now filled with necromancy powers. The only reason he even became a necromancer is because of a draw – it wasn’t a choice. Yet, he is set apart because of this. Feared. But, respected? Even though because of them the people are safe – they still judge him for the necessary sacrifices he’s had to make in order to be able to keep those people safe.
Basically… people can be ungrateful bastards.
So, it’s no wonder the way he interprets Tilo. The majority of the book has been about Rochus denying what was between them because of his own perceptions of what Tilo “forced” himself to do. Unwilling to listen, but still not willing to let go.
A “forced” marriage. Rochus being the only necromancer available. Tilo being the only dragon to ever approach him and then willingly offer his blood.
I like it. Feels possessive, like you’re staking a claim, hoarding something no one else can have.
Ms. Derr has created an interesting fantasy in which a necromancer and a dragon find love. Though not the most wonderful piece of hers I’ve read, this was definitely an enjoyable read I’d recommend. The back and forth between Rochus and Tilo keeps the reader entertained, the mild mystery as to what is going on – solved very quickly – made us cautious about who to trust and what would happen next. Overall, a short but enjoyable read. Mostly about an elongated misunderstanding which is solved nicely in the end.
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If this was how dragons plundered, he was definitely all for it.