Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: Dark Heat by Donna Grant

Dark Heat: The Dark Kings Stories
(Dark Kings #0.1-0.3)
Donna Grant
Release: December 31, 2013
Reviewer: Rose Red
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The Dark Kings are sworn to defend an ancient legacy of dragon magic. But their fiercest challenge lies in the modern world, where a woman’s love conquers all. These are their stories.

This book contains the first 3 Dark Kings prequels + a bonus story, "Passion's Claim":

"Dark Craving"

Fueled by ancient magic—and enflamed by human desire—the Dragon King known as Hal can transform himself at will into one of the legendary winged creatures he is sworn to protect. But one thing he can never do is fall in love...with a mortal woman.

"Night’s Awakening"

The dark immortal warriors were never meant to experience human desire. But when Guy, a member of an ancient order of shape-shifting warriors, meets Elena—a mere mortal whose beauty and blind ambition shakes him to his core—all bets are off...

"Dawn’s Desire"

For centuries, the Dragon Kings have hidden their shapeshifting powers from the world. But when a mortal enemy threatens to expose them, the warrior Banan must leave his secret lair in the Highlands to risk his life for the dragons within—and resist the temptations of human love.

"Passion’s Claim"

Banan has been waiting for centuries for someone like Jane. Guy knew it was love at first sight with Elena. Can two Dragon Kings commit to two immortal women for eternity? Or does fate have something else in store?
Review by Rose Red:

Dark Heat: The Dark Kings Stories contains novellas written by Donna Grant that set up her new dragon shifter series. I’m a huge fan of Grant’s Dark Sword/Dark Warriors series. So when I found out that she was writing a new series I jumped on that as quickly as I could. I enjoyed the stories but found that the development of the story lines were a bit rushed and would have done better as full-length novels instead of novellas. But theses stories are meant more as a teaser of what is to come in the series instead of stand alones.

The collection consists of three novellas and a short story. I decided to divide my review up by novella instead of a large review. It just makes more sense to do it that way.

Dark Craving (3 Stars)
Cassie has fallen on hard times and has moved to Scotland to stay in her brother’s rental cottage. The move is just the beginning of her problems though. She has to drive herself from the airport on what feels like the wrong side of the road and in the middle of a Highlands blizzard. She finally reaches her destination and finds herself locked out because her brother forgot to give her the security code. Then Duke, her brother’s dog, escapes the car and takes off running. Duke is later found running around by Hal, one of the workers who resides at the neighboring Dreagon distillery. Hal finds Cassie nearly frozen to death in her car. He gets her inside and takes care of her until she comes to.

But Hal has a secret. He is one of the Dragon Kings tasked with protecting both dragons and humans. Hal and the other Dragon Kings are not supposed to feel love for a human. But he starts falling for Cassie.

I was really into this story until one part of the story. It was a bit ridiculous even though it kind of fit. After that, I had a hard time taking the novella seriously. The romance was very much an instalove situation and there is no development in that department whatsoever. It was all very rushed. I know it’s a novella with a small amount of pages, but I still needed more. Several things were brought up that seemed important but were never mentioned again like The Silvers moving.

I did like the novella but it definitely should have been a novel. That way more things could have been explained and the romance could have developed at a more reasonable rate. It was a good introduction to the Dragon Kings though.

Night’s Awakening (3.5 Stars)
Elena Griffin and her new boss, Sloan, trespass onto the private property consisting of Dreagon Industries to go caving. As it is her first time, Elena is very anxious about the whole affair and ends up just stumbling around trying to follow her boss. Sloan is so excited about their spelunking that she pushes Elena to the point of exhaustion. It is only once they are deep within the cave that Sloan allows Elena to rest. Leaving Elena alone on a ledge, Sloan decides to lower herself down to a branch off the cavern to explore on her own. Things happen and Sloan ends up falling.

Elena panics when she realizes what happens and that Sloan most likely dead. As a newbie, she can’t recall the way they entered and she has no knowledge of how to get herself out of the cave. After wandering and getting injured, Elena is finally found by three of the Dragon Kings who come to investigate the noise Elena and Sloan were making.

Guy, one of the three Kings, takes an immediate interest in her. Grant allows their romance to bloom at a more believable pace than the first novella, but it’s still really fast. Naturally, Constantine and the other Kings are suspicious of Elena since she was found trespassing on their private property. However, Guy slowly comes to trust Elena. Enough so that he wants to reveal what he truly is to her. Will Elena accept him or shun him for what he is?

Guy comes up with a way for her to prove her innocence, but it is up to Elena to decide if she can follow through with it. But will this plan reveal a further plot against Dreagon and the Dragon Kings’ secret?

I enjoyed this novella better then the first. Although, I felt like the first one set us up but this one really took us into the story with the Kings. This story is intense and fast paced. We learn more about the Dragon Kings’ history and as well as getting a re-cap of the information initially revealed in Dark Craving. I liked the relationship between Guy and Elena and part of that may be that Guy kind of knew what to expect after watching Hal fall in love with Cassie. These novellas are definitely setting up a plot with a villain. That plot is slowly being revealed which I think will make things much more interesting later.

Dawn’s Desire (4 Stars)
This novella is hands down the best in this set of three novellas. We get a sinister plot as well as the romance.

After the revelations in the last novella, Elena goes back to London and her job in hopes of discovering more information for the Dragon Kings. This is when we meet Jane. As a secretary for PureGems, Jane is just trying to simply live her life. She dislikes her pompous and bigoted boss, Richard Arnold. But who doesn’t hate their bosses anyway, right? It is only when she overhears her boss talking on the phone about Sloan and Elena’s accident that she realizes something is truly not right. But will that something get her in trouble?

When someone starts following Jane, the Dragon Kings step in to help and hopefully find more about why Sloan was in that cave. Banan starts to fall for Jane as a more sinister plot comes to light during their investigation.

This was my favorite of the novellas, but I wanted more. Banan is my favorite of the Dark Kings so far. He seemed the most relatable, the most down-to-earth, and I loved his sense of possessiveness when it came to Jane. It’s possible that I just want to read more about Jane and Banan together. Okay, I wish we had had a full-length novel about their relationship. Also, with all of the action, everything happened too quickly and I want more details. I would have liked to see more of the dragon mythology played out. Grant always does a great job at world building. I can’t wait to see where this story line goes when the full novels start with Darkest Flame.

Passion’s Claim (3.5 Stars)
This is a short story that explores both Elena and Guy’s and Jane and Banan’s relationships further. I liked it but there was one part that made me angry, but I won’t say anything since this is a short story and it would spoil it.

Overall, I found Dark Heat to be an enjoyable introduction to Donna Grant’s newest series and I look forward to reading more about Dragon Kings and seeing where this plot goes. Although, I would definitely recommend reading Grant's Dark Sword series and its spin off, the Dark Warriors series, before this one.

 3.5 / 5 stars

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