Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to…
Book: What a Dragon Should Know
Author: G.A. Aiken
Narrator: Hollie Jackson
Audio Speed: 1.5x
Series: Dragon Kin #3
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Source: Tantor Audio
What a Dragon Should Know expands upon the richly entertaining lore of mighty dragons and the humans that love them. Picking up after the conclusion of the previous book, the story primarily focuses on the love story of Gwenvael the Handsome and Dagmar Reinholdt, the only daughter of the Reinholdt, also known as “the Beast.” Annwyl the Bloody, heavy with her twins who are literally sucking the life from her, sends Gwenvael to the Northlands on her behalf to discover if the Reinholdt will make a worthy ally. When Gwenvael discovers that the Beast is actually an extremely intelligent and wily female, he is forced to adjust his approach to the situation.
Dagmar has spent her entire life as the brains behind her father’s success, staying in the shadows while she manipulates events to her advantage. So when Gwenvael acts unpredictably and treats her with respect, even reverence, Dagmar isn’t sure how to best respond. Striking a bargain with Gwenvael, the pair head out of the Northlands with important information to share with Annwyl.
I absolutely adored the pairing of Gwenvael and Dagmar. Two underestimated souls, both play to the misrepresentations and conventions their families have placed upon them. They use these stereotypes to hide their true intentions, striking blows upon their enemies. Both love their respective families and would do anything to protect them. Right from the start the pair recognizes the strengths of the other; never disrespecting the other, even if they do try to outsmart one another. Their passion ignites as Gwenvael and Dagmar open up and fall in love. I just adored their verbal sparring and joint masterminding.
Outside of the romance, the entire story is multifaceted and filled with complex layers of political maneuvering. I found myself engrossed and enjoyed just listening to the plot unfold. While I did find myself lost a couple times and trying to remember who was who more than once (lets face it, there are too many similar sounding names), the character development and bonds cemented over the course of the series made for stronger connections and deeper enjoyment of this tale.
In addition to Gwenvael and Dagmar, What a Dragon Should Know shares the continuing romance of Brastias and Morfyd. I was pleased to see so much forward momentum for the couple, but still disappointed they won’t get their own book. We also follow the progression of Annwyl’s pregnancy and Izzy’s combat training.
While I wasn’t taken with the narration at the start of the series, the narrator’s idiosyncrasies have become familiar and comforting. After three books, I was able to follow along and recognize most characters based on the narrator’s intonations and inflections. While some of the initial dragon voices are still my least favorite, I find that each new character has a voice that is more fitting and appealing.
In the end, I completely enjoyed listening to What a Dragon Should Know. Gwenvael and Dagmar are perfectly matched and so well suited. I liked that they weren’t another “arguing” pair, but rather they used their smarts and cunning to work together instead of always fighting with one another. I also enjoyed following all of the side stories – Annwyl’s pregnancy, Brastias and Morfyd falling in love, the dragon god mythology, the development of Izzy, the politics of Northlands, the expanded dragon kin, and the introduction of Ragnar the lightning dragon.
My Rating: B+
Review copy provided by Tantor Audio.
Only for those I love would I traipse into the merciless Northlands to risk life, limb, and my exquisite beauty. But do they appreciate it? Do they say, “Gwenvael the Handsome, you are the best among us – the most loved of all dragons?” No! For centuries my family has refused to acknowledge my magnificence, as well as my innate humility. Yet for them, and because I am so chivalrous, I will brave the worst this land has to offer.
So here I stand, waiting to broker an alliance with the one the Northlanders call the Beast. A being so fearful, the greatest warriors will only whisper its name. Yet I, Gwenvael, will courageously face down this terrifying…woman? It turns out the Beast, a.k.a. Dagmar Reinholdt, is a woman – one with steel-gray eyes and a shocking disregard for my good looks. Beneath her plain robes and prim spectacles lies a sensual creature waiting to be unleashed. Who better than a dragon to thaw out that icy demeanor?
And who better than a beast to finally tame a mighty dragon’s heart?