Wednesday, June 28, 2017

ARC Review: A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania, #2) by T.J. Klune

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).

Jewel's rating:

The Lightning-Struck Heart was often compared to The Princess Bride (but more gay), and it was that. A Destiny of Dragons, though, reminded me a lot more of The Lord of the Rings, but funnier, and, to me, anyway, more down to earth. While this series is, at least so far, Sam's Hero's Journey (it's capitalized, so you know it's a thing), the story doesn't take itself too too seriously. And I loved it. TJ, TJ, need to write faster!

A Destiny of Dragons is delightful. And ridiculous. And wonderful. In all the best of ways. Sam, Ryan, Gary, Tiggy and Kevin are more than the best of friends. They're family. They're like the Fellowship of the Ring, without a ring, volcanoes and that creepy evil eye. But they don't need those things. They have a quest of their own -- a destiny, if you will.

“When the time comes, he will call upon my brethren five. He will allow their voices to be heard. The white. The fire. The two-snow.” The dragon wrinkled its nose in disgust. “The… Kevin.”

And Sam hates it. He doesn't feel ready to do something so important. For the fate of the whole world to be in his hands. What's a young wizard (apprentice) to do? Sam is impulsive and has an amazing sense of adventure -- when it is his choice. He doesn't like to think in terms of 'destiny' and 'fate'.

“I’m a little lost,” I told them. “Maybe more than I think I am. I don’t…. I knew my place. I knew what was expected of me. Do this, Sam. Learn this, Sam. I’m going to monologue at your face after I’ve captured you for some stupid reason, Sam. There was good. And there was evil. And nothing in between. I am a good guy. I know I am. And I try to do what’s right. Always. Even if it hurts.” I sighed. “Why does this all feel so wrong, then?”

Like The Lightning-Struck Heart, the banter is so wonderfully over the top. I think I highlighted half the book. And I laughed and was sometimes sad, but mostly not. I do have a feeling, though, that we're in for some serious tears in one or both of the next two books. Just...a feeling.

Sam can be so ridiculous in his lack of planning and foresight that it's a wonder he has managed to survive to adulthood. And the mouth on that boy could make a sailor blush, though he could use some tutoring in 'dirty-talk'.

“Yeah, well, maybe you shouldn’t be so good at eating my ear.”

“Eating your ear. Gods, Sam, way to make that sound erotic.”

“I didn’t know we were going for erotic. I can do that if you like. I’ve been practicing. Oh, side of beef, put your mouth hole back on my hearing hole and eat it out. That’s the ticket.”

He leaned back, face twisted up in a grimace. “Mouth hole?”

I shrugged. “My erotic writings are intended for a specific audience.”

“A dead one?”

But then sometimes, Sam is so damn wise (hmmm...Samwise....) When asked what it feels like to be in love, he said:

“Well. I guess it’s… it’s the moment, you know, when you wake up first in the morning. You open your eyes and your thoughts are muddled. You’re still partly asleep and you’re warm and don’t want to move, but you know you have to get up anyway. So you stretch and it feels good, but your arm hits something next to you and you look over and… there he is. Still asleep. And it’s the first clear thought you have, and you think, Hello. Hello there. Hi. I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad you’re next to me. And then for some reason, he must feel you watching him, because he wakes up too, you know? And he’s blinking and looks all soft and beautiful and then he sees you and he smiles. Like all it takes for him to be the happiest he’s ever been is to see you there. Next to him. That’s… that’s what’s so great about it. That’s what it feels like.”

And I melted a little.

But nothing is ever easy, is it? Sam and Ryan? Oh, they're solid. TJ, as promised, did not muck with their HEA. Even still, though, there was enough reality to make my heart clench, at times, and when I would find myself holding my breath, I'd have to remind myself just to breathe. Just breathe.

So, what's A Destiny of Dragons about? It's about adventure. Dragons. Gypsies (along with a little bit of bad touch). Ancient prophecies. Faith. Love. Friendship. Family. Because what good is it to save the world, if you don't have the ones you love with you when you do it? I would also be remiss if I didn't mention monologuing villains and hilarious references to Trump. Because this is TJ Klune, after all.

A Destiny of Dragons does end on a touch of a cliffie, but it wasn't brutal (thank FSM for that!). The story is obviously not finished, though, and I can't wait until we have more.

And, Sam, you should tell them.


ARC of A Destiny of Dragons was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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Happy reading!

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