4 Nov 2022

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: DRAGON UNLEASHED by Grace Draven

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!


Author: Grace Draven
Series: Fallen Empire #2
Source: ARC from Publisher
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: June 9, 2020

Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it's far more than what it seems.

Dragas haven't been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They're wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him--unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.

Unbeknownst to both, the Empire's twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire's machinations and his own lethal birthright.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

I appreciated how this book continues on with the story for the first one, but focuses so heavily on a new character and love interest. I would have liked a bit more of a focus on that overarching plot that seems to be brewing behind the scenes.

This book can feel a bit slow in pace, though. There is a lot (and I mean A LOT) of build-up for this with the majority of the action in the last 15%. While I loved the relationship, it did feel a bit like a drag to go through everything for not a lot of payoff with that overarching plot.

While I'm enjoying this world and lore, DRAGON UNLEASHED follows the same meandering pace that book 1 had, where the middle section dragged for quite some time without an actual progression in plot. I'm all about character interactions and development, but that seemed a bit stagnant as well. And while I love every page immersed in this world, I couldn't help but feel my attention slip in the middle. Other than that, I enjoyed the rest of the book mightily and thought it was a solid sequel. Book 1 was definitely a bit more impactful for me, but DRAGON UNLEASHED was on the quieter and calmer side, and still as lovely and wonderful.

Both characters, and the excellent expansion of the setting, made this book a great fantasy romance read. The villainess was fiercely evil (albeit a bit one-dimensional), and several secondary characters added to the fun in the story. I really recommend this series for fans of fantasies that lean more heavily towards romances, and if you're a fan of the author's previous works. It's a quieter romance, for sure, but the slow-burn will also pull at your heartstrings as Malachus and Halani work together to find themselves and help defeat evil in a kingdom with more magic than it seems.

I can't wait to read book 3!

Have you read this book? What was your favourite part?

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