Title: A Boy and his Dragon
Author: R Cooper
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
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.
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.
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.