Series: Dragons of Austria 01 (tentative series)
Author: Anne Barwell
Genre: High Fantasy, Fantasy
Length: Novel (204pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (28th June 2013)
Heat LEvel: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Blurb: “The last of your line will be in the embrace of a dragon.”
Aric, Crown Prince of Astria, has been brought up to believe that all dragons are evil. But when he speaks with one, he finds himself questioning those beliefs. The dragon tells him to find a sword in Sherwin Forest to save not only his kingdom but also his sister, Georgia, who must otherwise wed the prince of a neighboring kingdom.
At the start of his quest, Aric dons a disguise and meets Denys, an archer and herbalist who lives alone at the edge of the forest. Denys agrees to guide Aric into the forest, but then Georgia appears, revealing Aric’s true identity.
However, Aric learns he is not the only one keeping secrets. Denys has a few of his own that could change both of their lives forever.
Review: Aric might be the Crown Prince of Astria but he is firmly under the thumb of his father as is his twin sister Georgia. After a forbidden visit to his aunts Aric meets a dragon and he begins to realize that not everything he was taught was true, the dragon tells him to find a magical sword that will save his kingdom and his sister. Heading off on his quest in a disguise, he meets Denys who begrudgingly offers to act as his guide to Sherwin Forest, as they progress Aric discovers he isn’t the only one with a secret.
This is a brilliant fantasy story that I hope we will see much more of in the future. Aric is butting heads with his father the older he gets now twenty-four he feels that his father is losing his grip and putting the kingdom in danger by ignoring the information, Aric discovered. When a dragon tells Aric of a way to protect his kingdom he sets out on a quest. Denys is a loner who lives at the edge of a forest when he comes across a traveler who has a magical cloak, he offers to escort the man to his destination if no one else will and finds himself returning to Sherwin Forest. The two men become close on their journey but their tentative relationship is nearly destroyed when Georgia turns up and blurts out the truth about Aric. Continuing on the journey their joy at finding love is cut short when Aric loses his memory, they still have a quest to fulfill and they discover enemy’s from within the kingdom.
I did really enjoy this story and liked the way that it was developed, the flow of the story was pretty smooth and was very easy to read. The characters were great and we get a really good feel for both Aric and Denys, at times Aric would let his mind wander and Denys would seem a bit standoffish but they were characters you could connect to. There was some pretty good background to the story, which we discovered more of as we progressed through the story, and secrets were uncovered which added nicely to the story. The story is quite interesting and at times, you can understand why things are, the way they are in the kingdom, but you can also see where the over-reaction has taken place and the ill effects it has wrought.
There were many things to enjoy with this book but there was also things that annoyed, like why Georgia joined Aric on his quest, I couldn’t see the point other than she was a brilliant archer, she didn’t really add much to the story other than stopping Aric and Denys from getting intimate at times. She does come in handy later in the book though. The ending had me gritting my teeth in frustration because nothing has been resolved, the very reason why Aric went on the quest still lingers and because of the circumstances you don’t see how it ever really will be either, and this is where we fall on our knee’s and pray that Anne Barwell will continue with this as a series.
I will recommend this to those who love fantasy, dragons, magic, a quest, betrayal, finding love and a happy for now ending.