by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genre: Fantasy / Romance / Urban Fantasy / Paranormal
Ages: 16 and up
Note: So, I haven't written a review in a long time. I have meant to, but work and my own writing have taken precedence lately. This book, however, made me so mad that I had to write a review just so I could stop complaining about it to everyone in my immediate vicinity (plus, it practically wrote itself in about 10 minutes I was so mad). I hate to do it, because Ms. Kenyon has long been a favorite of mine (particularly her League novels), but it had to be done. There are mild spoilers in this review.
Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed– a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.
Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost― to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone– to see the entire world burn in Dragonmark, the next blockbuster Dark-Hunter novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon.
I cannot remember the last time I felt so disappointed and angry after reading a book. I love Sherrilyn Kenyon, have read all of her books including the out of print, difficult to find ones. Not all of them have been great, but Dragonmark was just...bad.
I was so excited when I started Dragonmark, wondering what twists and turns and new character angst she would spring on me this time. It started out okay. Edilyn and Illarion were sweet and fun, if not quite as deep or exciting as I was hoping for. If there was less intensity to their story than Kenyon's usual style, though, I was sure that would improve as they became more developed. I just did not realize that development was never going to come. Instead, the hero and heroine become separated and almost the entire remainder of the book is a nearly word for word repeat of scenes from the previous two books in the series, with only the most halfhearted attempt to show them from Illarion's perspective. I waited for some sort of great personal revelations on Illarion's part to justify this, as there were in Styxx, but there was nothing. At the very end - and by that I mean the last thirty pages or so - there was finally a return to new material, but it was far too late to save this book.
What bothered me nearly as much as this lazy recycling, was the knowledge that if anyone picked up this book as their first Dark-Hunter series, it would look like an insane mish-mash of partial stories. It assumes that you have read the previous two books, Son of No One and Dragonbane, and yet it repeats them anyway. My first experience with the series was Acheron and, while I definitely missed out on some references, it at least made sense as a cohesive story.
If Illarion and Edilyn's story had been a novella containing the first 150 and last 30 pages with only a tiny bit of what came between, or if it instead followed Edilyn's POV, which sounded pretty interesting in the tiny glimpse I got of it, this book would have been fine. Nowhere near the best in the series, but anything would have been better than this. I went from eagerly hoping for books about a dozen or so other characters in the DH world to hoping Kenyon hurries up and brings on the apocalypse she's been threatening for so long so she can focus on the Chronicles of Nick and League novels, since she clearly has little interest in actually writing new DH material.
I will still be reading Ms. Kenyon's books - I LOVED Born of Legend and Invision, which makes it all the more surprising that this book was so bad - but the anticipation I always felt upon opening one of her books will now be tempered by fear that it will turn out to be another Dragonmark.
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).
Probably a 7-8. I was honestly too horrified to pay much attention to swearing. Lots of mid-level words, a couple of f-bombs at least.
I'd rate it a 6. It was pretty mild for a Kenyon book; only a couple of semi-descriptive scenes.
I rate it a 5 for some fighting and death, but, as with the sexuality, it was pretty mild by Kenyon standards.