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Review: To Love the Dragon King – Antonia Aquilante

To Love the Dragon King - Antonia Aquilante

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Reviewer: Jay

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About The Book

Once upon a time, before the hunts, dragons were plentiful in the world. Now they exist only in legend…except in the land of Ivria.

Without the Dragon Talent, Sascha has long been told his only value is his ability to make the best match possible, whether as concubine or husband. He has always done what his family  expects of him, cultivating grace and beauty, and when his parents make a match for him, Sascha goes without protest. He never anticipates being contractually bound to a cruel man embroiled in a plot to overthrow the king of Ivria. Or being confronted by the king himself, a man with whom Sascha is disturbed to find himself fascinated.

With help from the few people he can trust absolutely, King Lysander is working carefully to uncover the members of a conspiracy to overthrow him and expose the existence of dragons to the world. Apprehending one traitor only complicates the situation further, not the least of which because of the man’s beautiful, intriguing concubine. Who may be involved in the plot and whom Lysander is immediately attracted to.

As danger looms, Sascha and Lysander grow closer, but can Lysander trust Sascha with his life and heart? And can Sascha be strong enough to love the dragon king?

The Review

For anyone (like me) who loves the combination of fantasy, romance and crime of one kind or another, this novel is an absolute delight.

The fantasy world is well developed, including the magical talents that allow some characters to change shape without destroying their clothing, and others to be generally helpful in various situations. The palace where most of the action takes place is both intricate and interesting. 

The romance between Lysander and Sascha is a slow burn. Both have to learn to trust each other after a rocky start, and we follow their detailed character development to its charming conclusion. Lysander’s cousins and his children are also beautifully drawn, and add immensely to the enjoyment of this tale.

The plot hinges on a conspiracy, and there are plenty of red herrings about who is responsible for the attempts to overthrow the king and harm him and his family. There’s also lots of angst and excitement, and everything ends satisfactorily for all except the villains. 

It was one of those books I didn’t want to finish, though I was anxious to find out what happened next. Highly recommended.

The Reviewer

I’ve been doing book reviews on my website, crossposted or linked to various social media, for a few years. I read a number of genres but I really enjoy all kinds of speculative fiction so thought I’d like to share my views with you. I love sci fi and other speculative fiction because of the way it can, at its best, make us see ourselves in a new light. Quite apart from the exciting stories, of course! I used to be an English teacher, and I’m a writer (fantasy) so I can be quite critical about style etc. but I hope I can also appreciate properly some books that don’t appeal to me personally but might be simply perfect for others. I have, obviously, read widely, and continue to do so.