Review: Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter

It’s that special time of year again. Time for holidays! That means reading as much as possible to me and I managed to squeeze in three books during a recent trip to Istanbul in Turkey.

The first book I read is also the first in a series. It’s Gena Showalter’s Heart of the Dragon, and it’s part of her Atlantis series of books.

So here’s my candid review of this paranormal romance book by Gena Showalter.

Heart of the Dragon
Gena Showalter
Searching for her missing brother, Grace Carlyle never dreamed she would discover a secret world populated by mythological monsters–or find herself facing a sword-wielding being whose looks put mortal men to shame.

But there he was, Darius en Kragin, one of a race of shape-shifting warriors bound to guard the gates of Atlantis, and kill all travelers who strayed within its borders.

Now Grace’s life was in his hands, and Darius had to choose between his centuries-old vow and the woman who had slipped beneath his defenses and stolen the heart of Atlantis’s fiercest dragon.

I went into this book not expecting much which is perhaps why I got so much out of it. Just like how I really enjoy a movie when I go into the cinema with zero expectations about the film. We enter the book in the past, with Darius as a child taking on the role of a guardian responsible for killing anyone who enters through the portal in his palace. Understandably he’s a little reluctant to kill, but he’s driven by a need to protect his dragon people and Atlantis from the kind of brutality that his family suffered. This teasing glimpse of a feelings-laden Darius really provided a sharp contrast to the man we meet shortly afterwards—a battle-hardened and emotionless killer.

Grace Carlyle comes face to face with this beast of a man when she is sucked through one of the gelatinous portals and into Atlantis during her search for her missing archaeologist brother, Alex, who had sent her a package containing a medallion shortly before disappearing off the face of the planet. Grace’s first reaction to the hulking great monster of a man that is Darius is the same reaction I had. Hubba hubba. The man is a god, and it’s because of him that I fell hard for this book.

He’s a super-sexy warrior with everything a female reader wants in that type of hero—strong, protective, possessive, and deadly. Plus, he had the added bonus of being so cold and detached. I love it when a heroine has to work to prise open a man’s closed-off heart and release his emotions as well as his sexual desire. It’s explosive when that happens, and it certainly happens with a bang in this book.

Showalter mercilessly teases with a series of “almosts” that had me panting for the hero to give up his inane obsession with his duty and his need to not get involved with Grace and kill her instead. I admit, I was miffed when the suitably strong and unwilling to give up on finding her brother or getting into Darius’s pants Grace went home rather than submit to the delicious dragon warrior, but I guess it helped to show Darius’s commitment to having her as his… or was that his commitment to killing her?

The only downside to this book is that we’re reminded several times too many about Darius’s duty to kill Grace, and some parts of the book just didn’t feel right. Nothing between the hero and heroine was out of place, but hopping into the head of her brother and a female dragon threw me a bit as I didn’t want to read about them. I wanted to stay with the sexy Darius and his would-be mate, Grace. I also felt the sudden relationship between Alex and his female dragon was a bit forced considering that Darius had earlier observed that Javar, another dragon, and this female had been very into each other during their marriage-of-sorts. I think it probably would have been best as a separate story that happened afterwards, but you’ll have to read the book to see what I mean as I don’t want to give any spoilers. I also felt that the dragons could have been described more clearly when they transformed into their beastly counterparts. I didn’t really get a feel for what they looked like and whether they retained any sort of human features or how big they were as dragons.

The big fight at the end was good, although I would have liked more action as it was resolved quickly and fairly easily, or perhaps just better description would have sufficed and I would have been satisfied.

In terms of writing style, there were a few instances where I had to read a sentence over a couple of times to make sense of it, but I find that happens to me a lot in Showalter’s books, so I can’t moan too much about it. The writing is very Harlequin too. It’s hard to describe but has that Harlequin light and easy feel about it. Not too dark. Not as dark as I like.

All in all, this is getting a four star review from me because I really did fall hard for Darius. He’s worth reading this book for… honestly… go get yourself a copy or borrow one from a friend / library.

Read reviews of Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter on Goodreads:

About Felicity Heaton

I'm a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books as Felicity Heaton and F E Heaton. In my books I create detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, Larissa Ione, Kresley Cole, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will love my books too.

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