In Pursuit of Dragons
Author: Anne Renwick
Narrator: Anais Inara Chase
Audio Speed: 1.3x
Series: Elemental Web World #3.5; An Elemental Web Tale
Genre: Steampunk Romance
Three years ago, Natalia emigrated from Russia, fleeing with her dragon to Scotland in hopes to hide from those who wished to continue their experiments on the dragon and possibly her. The Department of Cryptology gave her sanction and married her off to a misogynistic Scottish Laird. When funds for her research were cut, her husband tried to sell off her dragon – dying in the attempt.
Luke, a Department employee, was working side-by-side with Natalia until he disappeared two years ago. Now he’s back, harboring horrifying stories of his imprisonment in Russia. Unfortunately, men are after Natalia’s dragon, and the pair is running out of time to save the dragon and themselves.
In Pursuit of Dragons is an independent story set in the Elemental Web world. There are very loose references of places, people, things that tie it to the overall series, but can be enjoyed as a standalone work. Luke and Natalia shared an unspoken love for the year they spent together, never able to act on it because of her marriage. That all changes when the pair reunite, and this second chance makes for a wonderful romance. I loved their passion and determination to find an HEA despite the circumstances.
Unlike with some of the other Elemental Web stories, In Pursuit of Dragons doesn’t really have a mystery to solve at its core. Rather, we follow our couple as they try to protect their dragon and each other in a race against time. There is plenty of action, and it is exciting, but I miss the mystery-solving aspect. Additionally, I felt that there were a lot of repetitive reminders of certain phrases and ideas, such as dealing with lack of funds, how quickly stem cells work, how her father’s protege betrayed them, etc., that drew the story out and hampered my enjoyment.
Narration: the story is shared in the alternating POVs of Luke and Natalia. Ms. Chase presents an accented (British?) female narrator for both the male and female parts, with dialogue altered slightly to fit the age, gender, ethnicity, and station of the speaker. Overall, Ms. Chase has a pleasing voice. She adds appropriate pauses and provides loose emotional cues. However, a couple of the characters have more heavily accented voices – Russian and Scottish, and her portrayal of these characters doesn’t always work well for me. I enjoyed her female voices more than her male voices (especially the more accented ones).
In the end, In Pursuit of Dragons is a fun and entertaining adventure.
Review copy provided by the author.
About the Book:
In a laboratory behind the walls of a castle, Natalia Zakharova Kinross, Lady of Kinlarig, hides her many secrets. But for how much longer? For not only is a medical miracle embedded within her skin, a mythological dragon prowls the grounds. And there are men who will stop at little to lay claim to both.
Though Luke Dryden, cryptozoologist, is welcomed back to the castle at the tip of a blade, an old romance ignites. Until a lingering illness acquired in a secret biotechnology facility takes a turn for the worse – all while disaster circles. To help defend a lady and her dragon, he must attempt a risky cure.
As old enemies threaten their future, they will fight back to back in a desperate last stand…