Title: The Dragon CEO’s Assistant (Golden Kingdom #2)
Author: Jenn Burke
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Genre(s): Fantasy, Magic, Dragons
Page Count: 167 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The heart remembers.
When Aidan Bishop staggers out of the woods, naked and suffering from amnesia, he needs to relearn who he is and where he fits in the world.
His boss, nearly five-hundred-year-old dragon Nassim, head of a successful tech company, hurries to claim his wayward assistant and guide him back into the life he disappeared from. As they get to know each other again, Aidan wonders if their relationship went deeper than employer and employee. But Nassim isn’t telling, and Aidan has a secret of his own… even if he doesn’t know it yet.
The most important thing to note about this book is that it is a good story, well-structured with a steady build-up of depth and offers a few twists. That said, there are areas that could have been so much better. This is the second book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone story. The book is written in the 3rd person and this plus the style of writing holds the reader at a distance particularly from the central character. With every passing chapter, the story attempts to draw the reader in but there is always a sense that the author is presenting a story rather than allowing the reader to be a part of the experience.
The world-building is interesting and offers a slightly different twist to the merger of two worlds trope. Certainly, more could have been made about the tensions between the two worlds, but the focus is on one realm rather than the other. As such, this is really a story of magic set in the real world of today. This allows the author to use a familiar setting without the need to create a world. This keeps the story short and manageable.
The background to this storyline as well as historical setting is revealed as the story progresses and this is done well and allows the reader to understand this in the context of the plot.
Characterisation is strong and despite the writing style the central characters are well fleshed out and approachable. Secondary characters add variety and quirks that enrich the story.
Given the nature of the plot, the relationship between the two central characters is developed as their knowledge of each other is revealed. This is interesting from a reader’s perspective as there is a sense in which everyone learns at the same time. There is clearly an attraction between the two that is developed through circumstances but are often frustrated by historical factors. Once they get together there is description of sex; sadly, the writing keeps the reader at a distance and it feels more wooden than it might otherwise be. The description is good but lacks heat.
The pace of the story is steady but variable with points of tension that increase the pace temporarily before it returns to an easy pace. Certainly towards the latter part of the book and the denouement the tension and pace increase noticeably and the reader is drawn along with it. The major twists are set up, but not readily predictable.
The end of the book is rounded off cleanly for these characters. This makes a neat finish, but it does feel somewhat abrupt and the reader is left with questions, not about the ending but rather, about the steps that led to it.