Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: The Dragon’s Hoard
SERIES: The Dragon’s Hoard Series, Books 1-4
AUTHOR: Mell Eight
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 379 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2015
Four tales of dragons, and the trouble and joy that comes from meddling with them …
Finding the Wolf is the story of Nyle, the unlucky dragon ordered to track down a missing prince. It should be a simple enough task, except that where humans are concerned nothing is ever simple. Breaking the Shackles is about Baine, who arrives at the werewolf village to rescue the twin brother torn from his side years ago. He quickly learns that mixing dragons and werewolves always results in chaos. In Stealing the Dragon Jerney reluctantly finds himself helping a baby dragon retrieve its stolen hoard, never imagining he might find his own heart stolen in the process. Our tales of dragons conclude with Melting the Ice Witch, the story of Kam, kidnapped by the Tribe of the White Dragon in a desperate bid to save themselves from the ravages of the frozen wastelands they are forced to call home …
The Dragon’s Hoard is a bundle of the four books that make up the Dragon’s Hoard series by Mell Eight. While the four books are interconnected in some fashion, they can be read as stand-alones. I would say, though, that to really enjoy them you should read them in order. Each book is about a hundred(ish) pages long, and they differ on the amount of sexual content in them (Stealing the Dragon, for example has practically none while Finding the Wolf has the characters having sex within an hour of meeting). Despite the ranging sexual content, I would classify all these stories as overall very sweet and low-key. They are fluffy and perfect little pick-me-ups.
I will be reviewing each of the four books on their own, but overall I must say that I really enjoyed this series of books. I love dragons, and these books had them all in such lovely configurations. Not to mention witches, werewolves, and other interesting characters. If you get a chance I would encourage you to pick up this quartet of books (either in this bundle or sold separately) for when you need that little bit of extra pick-me-up. And hey, they are even sold in audio book form (which I must admit I am tempted to try).
Finding the Wolf — 3.5 stars
The dragon Nyle is in the human city only because he has been asked to find the youngest prince of the human rulers. Prince Leon has been missing for years and the king needs the dragons help to find him. However there is much that the king has kept secret, and finding Leon will only be half the battle for the dragon and his pretty…I mean, prince.
I didn’t realize till I started reading this bundle that I’d read this first book before. I was pleasantly surprised to find it just as sweet and fun as I vaguely recalled. Nyle is totally charming in his mix of dragonish-demeanor and his innocence of youth. I really liked that I could feel both his age and his maturity at the same time (dragons tend to mature at a much much slower rate then humans). He is several hundred years old, and yet still the youngest dragon of his species. I was surprised to find that both showed up well on the page.
Of the four stories this one definitely has the most action in it (and probably the most sex, or sexual content, as well). It is not the focus of the story, but the fighting and the mystery build up a good deal of tension that helps bring the story together. Plus I love a good dragon battle as much as the next guy (who is obsessed with dragons).
Mostly my favorite part of this book was the chemistry between Leon and Nyle. I really like the hoarding aspect of their relationship and how it wasn’t made a big thing, even if it was a big deal. Alternately the hardest part for me was perhaps Leon’s brash personality in the beginning of the story. I just have a hard time with characters that tend to steam-roll over other characters. Especially in regards to sex. I don’t think what happened between them was in any way non-consensual, but I would have had an easier time with Leon if he didn’t seem to basically push Nyle into his bed.
That aside, it was a good start to this quartet of stories, and it left me looking forward to finally getting a chance to read the rest of this series.
Breaking the Shackles — 4 stars
(If you haven’t read Finding the Wolf, this may be a tad spoilerish. I tried to keep out a lot that might spoil book one, but I may mention a few things related to the plot of the book.)
The maji, born to be vessels of magic, have long been held as slaves to the other half of their community, the magi. But the tide has turned and the maji seek to break free of their chains. That freedom will come from different sources, though, for the twin maji, Baine and Laine. Separated by their masters for years, they must each find a way back to each other. Or, perhaps, find a new path to walk together.
Um, I guess I should point out that despite what my half-ass’d summary might hint at, this isn’t acutely a twincest story. Sorry. Though I would have totally taken one of those as well. ;D
No, this is the story of two brothers who have to find a way to look past their captivity and find themselves the masters of their own fate.
Laine, who was featured in book one, has to break free of his chains (both metaphorical and physical) and see if he can have a place with Reese, the werewolf who has taken him in. Baine on the other hand has fought his way to freedom, only to find himself bound once again to an imposed duty by his family and his community. He feels bound to the duty almost as much as he feels drawn to Dean–a dragon who has every intention of gathering the young maji into his hoard.
I found I enjoyed this story a bit more than I did the first, probably just because I didn’t know how it was going to end. I liked how the author set up the magical world of the maji/magi. It was a lot more interesting than I thought it was going to be from what I read of the first book.
Unfortunately there were a few editorial issues with this story. Most notably the fact that Baine becomes Blaine at several points in the book. I did have to take a few points off for that. I’m not one to usually moan about grammar/spelling things (since I am horrible at it myself), but I kinda like my main characters to have the same names all the way thru the story at the very least.
Dragons and werewolves and magic made this an entertaining read. It was less quick-paced than the first book, but made up for it with all the tension between the various MCs. I am really enjoying this series and look forward to whatever is next.
Stealing the Dragon — 4.5 stars
This one had to be my favorite of the series. It takes place some 15-20 years after the events of book one and two. The castle has been rebuilt and life has gone on like normal for the most part. Unfortunately for some people that also means the bad parts are just as common as the good.
Having rescued himself and his siblings from being sold off to anyone with a need for young magical folk, Jerney has tied himself and his magic to the criminal underworld of men. It is not a bad life, but neither is it what he would have wanted for his family. Especially when it leads to his sister stealing the prize jewel of the young dragon’s hoard. And that she did it with his magical spells, no less, only makes it worse–for both of them. The loss of hoard item is hard for any dragon, but for a dragon not even two decades old, it is devastating. But if Jerney returns the item he will risk not only his freedom, but his sister’s as well.
I absolutely loved this one. Tori, the young dragon, is ridiculously adorable. I love that there is clearly a connection between him and Jerney, but because of Tori’s age it is more of a devotion between close friends than one of lovers. Yet. Once Tori grows up I have no doubt that Jerney will be right there with him in all ways humanly and dragonly possible. I was worried that the romance was going towards a more sexual relationship, but luckily it didn’t. It would have been a bit off-putting since the book repeatedly emphasized how young Tori really was.
The story was sweet and funny and easily the best of the four books. I honestly could read ten more about these two and how they grow up together and with each other.
Melting the Ice Witch — 4 stars
The tribesmen of the icy north have long struggled to keep themselves and their families alive in the brutal cold. But in the two tribes there are only two witches left with any real power, and the witches are what make life in the ice even possible. If they do not find some solution soon they know that they will perish whether in a storm or from lack of food. That is why they arranged to steal Kam away from the human city after they hear he might be of magical lineage.
The only problem with that is that Kam is not a witch. However no one seems to believe him till he has spent weeks up north, amongst Lor’s tribe. Lor, the witch for his tribe, is sad that he has once again failed to find another witch to keep his tribe alive, and that he has taken Kam without his persmission, but he cannot deny that the young man seems to be happy in new home. And it is true, Kam is coming to care for the people, no matter how he ended up in the north. These people are nothing like the cruel and uncaring neighbors that made his life miserable in the city. And that he is coming to care for Lor, is all the more reason to stay.
Even if he cannot be what his people need of him most desperately.
I was wondering where this story was going to go after I read the blurb for the book. While I wasn’t expecting it to head in the direction it did, I can’t say that I am sorry. Kam being taken captive (and basically sold off by some random asshole in the city) had me betting that Kam and Lor would be a bit of a hard-sell, but the growing relationship–and the care shown between them–helped a lot.
While the story does focus on Lor, Kam, and the rest of the ice-tribes, I did enjoy the side story of the White dragon and his rather tempestuous relationship with the rest of the dragons of the south. Plus this story gets automatic bonus points for some more wonderful Tori cameos. He make everything so much more fun!
The life that Kam and Lor live up north is a lot rougher than any of the other stories. More violent, more deadly. In essence, Nature is the antagonist of this book. And like most things about Mother Nature, you can not beat it, you just have to survive as best you can. I thoroughly enjoyed this look into tribal living that is always one-step away from total annihilation.
This story probably couldn’t beat the pure awesomeness that was Tori and Jerney’s story, but it was still very good. There characters were fun, and I loved how Kam’s gift came into play. And puppies. Puppies are adorable no matter what form they come in (please don’t tell my cats I said that, I don’t want to wake up with a mouse’s head in my bed!). This story also left me wanting to know more about the White dragon and his past. I’d love to have a continuation of that story.
Also, more Tori would not run amiss. 😀