Monday, June 26, 2017

ARC Review: A Destiny of Dragons by TJ Klune

A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania, #2)
Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.

Life is good.

Until it’s not.

Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.

And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.

Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.

The first book in the DESTINY FUCK YEAH! Trilogy (because sometimes, having a destiny is the stupidest thing ever).

Todd's rating:

I truly loved every page of this story, but I admit that I went into it expecting the same over-the-top comedic punch to the face that T.J. delivered in "The Lightning-Struck Heart."

However, this story showed a lot more restraint with those punches. It was almost as if the fists had uncurled and turned into much more gentle, tickling fingers, instead, dug firmly into my sides.

Yes, I laughed, snorted and giggled (shut up, I was still totally manly about it!) through all 400 pages, as evident in the *33* updates (wow, that's a fucking lot, right?) that I posted while reading.

And for each update I did post, there were at least 3 *more* that I wanted to put up, but I was attempting to hold back a bit, to not give anything critical away. Insanely hard, let me tell you. The struggle was REAL, people!

This story didn't have quite the same carefree feel as TLSH. After all, there was the return of a centuries old evil looking to burn the entire world to a cinder.

In lieu of a quest to save one person from one dragon, like last time, Sam must come to terms with, and face his Destiny to gather the five remaining dragons of Verania and save his people and, most importantly, save those he loves.

With so much more at stake here than in the previous book, that necessitated a more serious tone to the story; however, it never felt like a 'downer' book.

Sam was still Sam, irreverent as ever. Ryan was still dashing and immaculate. Gary was still a glittery Diva Bitch Princess, capitalized, of course. And the rest of the cast rolled their eyes a lot and just went along with the weirdness. And what's not to love about all of that?

Sam faces challenge after challenge, coming out on top for the most part, but not entirely, as the second half of this tale will be told in the next book. Plus, the Big Bad is a real asshole, so zero way was he going down in only 400 pages. Nope.

And GURL! There was this one part with the sand mermaids, where (spoiler removed) and (spoiler removed) almost (spoiler removed) and I nearly shit myself!

Of all the new characters introduced in Destiny, my very favorite by far was Zero, the 1,400 year old 'Emo' dragon.
"Everything sucks, life is pain, you don't even know me, so why are you still here? Stop talking already, jeez! Get out of my room, like, NOW!"
God, he was awesome and I'm praying that he plays a very large part in the books yet to come. T.J. totally had fourteen (hundred) year old adolescent angst down when writing Zero, let me tell you.

But Ryan was extremely entertaining in this story, too. Sam's possibly evil, very manipulative grandmother, Vadoma, brings Sam a *new* cornerstone. Ruv, who is hot and sexy and wears very few clothes. And Ryan, no, he's having none of that. NONE.

And it's fucking glorious to watch the jealousy boil and bubble over. *rubs-hands-together*.
“Does he always have to be shirtless?” Ryan asked. “Does he own shirts? I can give him one of mine. Probably would be too big on him. Because I’m bigger than he is. So my shirts would be too.”

“It’s embarrassing to witness, isn’t it?” Gary said to Tiggy.

“No self-awareness,” Tiggy agreed.
I really enjoyed "A Destiny of Dragons", which was more of a slow simmering giggle-fest vs. the all out snort-fest in "The Lightning-Struck Heart." TLSH was still my favorite, but zero way would I feel any justification in penalizing Destiny rating-wise, just because it's *not* exactly like TLSH.

So as the book playfully points out:
“I didn’t do it this time,” Kevin said, head stuck through an open window. “It would have felt a little repetitious. Lord knows people hate repetition.” He frowned. “But then they’ll also complain when something wasn’t exactly the same as it was before. I really don’t get humans.”
So yes, this story was *different*. But also partially *the same*, too. And still 100% worthy of my full 5-star rating.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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