Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Dragon’s Bounty
SERIES: Dracula’s Love #1
AUTHOR: S. Joy P.
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 298 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 24, 2014
In fifteenth century Wallachia, the self-serving boyars will do anything to advance their own positions, while the Hungarian king and the Ottoman sultan between them threaten to tear their country apart. One interest is shared by all: a weak prince on the Wallachian throne. A prince who bends easily. But a fierce and spirited man rules the land – Vlad III of the House of Basarab, also known as Vlad Dracula, and he would rather break than bend. Murderers robbed him of his closest family. Pretenders lay claim to his titles. A noose of intrigue that reaches beyond the borders of his realm tightens around him. Undaunted, he fights for his ancestral rights and for the defence of Christendom. Through all his struggles, Love, known as The Englishman, stands true and faithful by his side. Only Love is not the English mercenary he claims to be, but the god of Love who inadvertently uses his magic on himself, and falls passionately for the only man who claims not to have use for love – Vlad.
Turbulent events drag them both into a brutal clash of honor and duty against treachery and ambitions. Into a dance of swords in which a single wrong step can bring death. And only one of them is immortal.
Dragon’s Bounty takes you on a sweeping adventure through medieval Wallachia and Transylvania. It is a sensitive love story woven around events seen through the eyes of a man in love with a warrior prince, a man as hard as the challenges he faces.
Series: Dragon’s Bounty is the first volume in the gay historical fantasy saga Dracula’s Love. Genre: epic historical fantasy, fantasy and adventure, historical drama
After finishing this book I dithered for a while trying to figure out just how I would write my review. To be honest, I’m still not entirely certain how to put this so I’m going to do away with my normal review and go instead with a straight talk about what this book is and, in turn, what I both liked and didn’t like about it.
I’m fairly certain everyone has at least heard of, if not studied, Vlad the Impaler at one point in time or another; I myself researched him for a project in High School. What’s most widely known about him was his penchant for impaling his enemies on long spikes that were stuck in the ground as a method of execution. This book is essentially Vlad’s story told from the point of view of the God of Love, who accidentally got a dose of his own love dust when trying to use it on Vlad. Don’t mistake this for a love story, however, this is a pure historical novel with a hint of mythology that features a one sided love.
Now, what I liked about this was how well the history was brought to life within the pages; I love history and it was interesting getting to see Vlad’s campaigns and story written this way. Love was an interesting character as well; you can really see how he evolves as a person over the course of the story and what he’s willing to do for Vlad in the name of, well, love. The descriptions were very well done and it was very easy to envision both the events depicted here as well as the settings they took place in. I also really liked how the author managed to make me see Vlad as a man and not just a monster; I started this book with the mindset of how horrible a person he was but finished pleasantly surprised by how he was portrayed.
As for what I didn’t care for…while I liked the historical fiction it was, at times, a little hard to get through. There were times I just needed to put it down and go do or read something else because a book like this isn’t one easily plowed through in a day. While the story takes place over several years, and time did move fairly well as far as pacing is concerned, sometimes it felt as though it would take me several years to get through it. I did enjoy it but not enough to stay glued to its pages. There is also a fairly decent amount of violence in this book (I mean, its Vlad, what would you expect?) and some things, while not really graphic, were disturbing enough to require a break all on their own. I did include a graphic violence tag for the novel due to those disturbing images as tolerance levels vary and I wanted to err on the side of caution.
I did like the book overall but this type of book isn’t going to be for everyone; the use of the Gods was unusual but did allow for a way of telling the story that I found I enjoyed. It will certainly be interesting to see where the Love/Vlad relationship goes. Also, the ending, while upsetting to me, left off in a good place to slide on into the sequel whenever it gets released; I wouldn’t label it a cliff hanger but more a place holder until more of the story can be told. If you’re really into history and/or historical fiction this book will be right up your alley but if you’re looking for romance, fluff, or an easy read I’d pick something else.