Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Jewel of the Dragon by Lynne Connolly

Dear Mrs Connolly,

jewel.jpgI love your Georgian historical series featuring Richard and Rose. Your Regency novel didn’t work as well for me so when you wrote offering a chance to read a paranormal, and one including American characters, I was intrigued and curious as to what I’d think of it. Well, some parts are okay while others are annoying.

Dev Wyvern is Welsh, tall, dark and sexy as sin. He’s also a shapeshifter. When he walks into Alix Lancaster’s jewelry shop she knows her brother, Clay, is setting a trap for him. Clay is a member of the PHR, sworn enemies of all Talents. So does Alix betray her brother by warning Dev, or let him walk into a lethal snare?
Dev is drawn to Alix like few other women. But can he trust her? Sent by the enigmatic Cristos, the boss of Department 57, to expose a PHR cell, he finds love and danger waiting for him. He takes both of them on, and has to make a choice; will she forgive him if he destroys the brother of the woman he loves?
Will they get out alive?

When I started reading “Jewel of the Dragon” I didn’t know it was a series (the first) but I quickly caught on. The shear number of different Talents plus all the info dumping about Department 57 and how they work and what they are and where they are and how they don’t usually work for any government agency (Interpol, MI6, CIA, FBI, etc) except as consultants gave that away fairly quickly. All of the above did fill me in about the series but also served to bring the action to a halt as you detailed everything, sometimes several times. By the end of the book, my head was spinning from so many paranormals – wyverns (dragons), griffins, firebirds, vampires, sorcerers ….If a reader can’t find a paranormal being to suit, it’s certainly not because you haven’t offered enough choices. Oh, I have to agree with Dev that the agency head’s secretary is going to ruin her hair with so many dye jobs.

I will admit to being disappointed that once again you have a heroine lacking in self-confidence. Woefully lacking it and needing almost constant proping up by the hero. I’d love to see you write a kick-ass heroine someday. And as with almost all of your books, your hero falls almost instantly in love/lust/interest with her and is attracted to her as he’s never been to another woman. Again, I would like to see something different from you.

Then there’s the heroine’s background with a fanatical group in which she was raised to distrust all paranormal beings. The book starts off well enough and even after she falls in with the hero, she’s still not totally at ease with him. So far, so good so I thought. Until ten minutes later when suddenly she’s willing to make love with him in a semi-changed form. Then comes the point that had me scratching my head. Alix goes from still resisting Dev’s offer of Conversion to accepting her change awfully fast. There’s not even a little bit of anger that she was changed against her will? Yes, I know it saved her life but she might have shown a little residual anger that her choice was denied and that she’s now a totally different being for the rest of her (now greatly increased) lifespan.

I noticed something that probably wouldn’t bother most readers but after a while, it did bother me. You describe the hero and his friends as all dressing in discreet luxury, having taste and class, knowing their way around a bottle of French wine and always staying in chichi hotels but then I noticed heroine’s bad brother Clay is described with a “heavy forehead,” living in a lower class neighborhood, the heroine’s clothes are ready made frump, Clay’s associates are all obnoxious — all very heavy handed descriptions on both sides here.

I thought the world-building was adequate, all powers and talents are explained in advance and you didn’t suddenly spring something on us out of the blue to explain a plot point or save the day. And a big thanks for taking care of the basics: you explain what Dev does with his clothes when he changes, how he takes care of assuming a new identity after every 60 years or so, how Talents try to spread rumors about their strengths and weaknesses to maintain an advantage. I notice little things like this while reading and hate to be pulled out of a story while I wonder what the shapeshifter’s going to do once he shifts back and is naked in public!

But, while I thank you for the opportunity to read something other than a historical novel, I think for the time being, I’m going to stick to those as I feel you do them so well. Any word on when the final two R&R books will see the light of day? C- for “Jewel of the Dragon.”

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

3 Comments

  1. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 15, 2007 @ 13:06:53

    Sorry you didn’t like it so much, guys. Guess I can’t win ‘em all. The book got raves in other places, so that goes to show that personal taste is all. In a way, it’s good, because it shows I’ve taken a stance, written a book with an identity of its own that not every reader will like, but I’m assured that some certainly do!
    I do try to do something a bit different, and the constant parade of kickass, confident heroines occasionally gets a bit tedious. How about some of us more ordinary girls for a change? I’m shy, unsure of myself, so maybe there’s a bit of me in Alix. Ordinary girls who believe sometimes it’s better to push open a door in the conventional way than to kick every door with a steel-capped boot!
    But it won’t stop me writing. Perhaps the heroine of the second book would be more to your taste, Chana, who trains as a cop and starts her acquaintanceship with the hero by kicking him in the nadgers when he comes on to her a bit too strong!
    Due to the recent kerfuffle at Triskelion, the book isn’t currently available, but with a light edit, I’m hoping it will be coming out soon elsewhere. Maybe I’ll take all those explanations out!

    And maybe you’ll like the new Triple Countess book, “Last Chance, My Love,” coming out next month at Samhain. Back to the historicals and my favourite era, the mid-Georgian.

  2. Jayne
    Jun 16, 2007 @ 07:54:05

    Well, I’d even settle for just a heroine who is confident about herself, her sexuality, her power as a woman rather than one who so painfully unsure about herself. She doesn’t have to bend a steel bar with her bare hands or bite through nails as long as she’s self assured.

    Looking back over the review I realized I forgot to mention how well you handled the American characters. Mea culpa.

  3. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 16, 2007 @ 09:20:31

    She’s not confident about herself for a good reason. All her life the people she trusts and loves have told her she shouldn’t be and for the first part of her life she lived in an isolated community, cut off from any other opinions or attitudes. It’s part of her learning process, to learn how to trust herself instead of other people, and Dev helps her to do that, instead of trusting him or anyone else.
    But on the whole, I tend to agree that heroines who insist of seeing themselves as ugly, stupid etc are annoying if they don’t have good reasons for doing so. And especially if they are brilliantly beautiful and intelligent. However, I’ve met people like that, and they need helping, sometimes they need somebody who can help them to look at themselves in a better like. Maybe I’m a bit like that myself, but you learn to cover it up as the years go on (I haven’t met an author yet who isn’t convinced that everything she writes is dreck!)
    Guess I didn’t get that across!

    And thanks for the compliments about the American characters, I did hope that would work! I have some fantastic beta readers. I try to fiind someone who lives in the same area my characters do, so they can also check that the city is well depicted, as well and the language and attitudes. I visit most of the places I write about, but there’s nothing like the opinion of a resident for getting it right!

%d bloggers like this: