REVIEW: Dragon’s Lair by Chantal Fernando
Dear Ms. Fernando:
I picked up your book at Amazon after reading the sample because it was a Motorcycle Club book set in Australia (I think…you never specifically say that, but the heroine asks for vegemite on toast at one point, which the hero has on hand, so I’m making my assumption from that). Anyway, regular Dear Author readers know that I’m the resident MC junkie, so I decided to give it a go.
Faye is devastated to walk in on her longtime boyfriend, Eric, having sex with her friend Trisha. She immediately breaks up with him and decides to go out that night and get drunk. While out, she bumps into Dex, Eric’s older brother, who she’s always had a crush on. They agree to have a one night stand and walk away. However, when Faye finds herself pregnant and kicked out of her parent’s house, she runs for it, deciding she’ll do her best to figure out what the next step is. The next step is Dex getting word that she’s pregnant and knowing immediately that the baby is his. He’s furious that she didn’t come to him as soon as she knew she was pregnant. He drags her to his MC’s headquarters and sets her up in his rooms. Faye is terrified, but has very little means to provide for the baby, and Dex seems to have a lot of money (he buys her a laptop, enrolls her in her next law school classes, and tells her she can study there). Faye is terrified of the bikers, unsure why they call Dex “Sin” but has nowhere else to go, so she accepts. Dex makes it very clear to her that their one night together was just that, one night, and he’s not the committing type.
Faye learns from the women who hang around the club that Dex is the Vice President of the Winged Dragons, and is expected to become President very soon, as the Prez is very sick. She also gets to know the bikers. Despite them being a scary looking lot, she manages to build friendships with most of them, and the women in the Club as well. Soon she’s feeling very at home. But Dex has enemies, and he’s very protective of Faye. She feels stifled, and wants to get out more, but he won’t let her go without an escort. Faye is resentful of Dex’s overbearing nature and even more, for the fact that he won’t touch her. Soon she finds that he has secrets that could tear them apart.
This is a book that should have worked for me. I love MC books, and the setting was slightly different than the usual. What I had a hard time with was a lack of connection to really anyone. The characters all seemed somewhat “surface” to me. None engaged my imagination and even after Dex and Faye had given in to their attraction and acted on it, I found my emotional engagement in the story lacking. The book is told exclusively from Faye’s POV, and I think that’s part of the problem. You never went deep enough with her. She’s is employed mostly as a passive narrator for the story, making me feel very little connection to her. Even in scenes where she was in danger, it felt like her POV was mostly description, wringing no emotion from me. I also found Faye to be somewhat ridiculous. First, she’s a little like Snow White with the bikers acting as the Seven Dwarfs. She cleans, she sasses, she cooks for them, she nurtures. And they all just love and adore her. Also, she’s studying to be an attorney. I know this because at EVERY turn she mentions it. She did more talking about becoming a lawyer than she did anything else. She’s top of her class, yet seems to spend most of her time holed up in a room, not studying. Nor did she ever once make a trip to a law library. Now, I’m not an attorney, but I’m gathering that being remanded to an MC headquarters with no chance of parole would seriously inhibit you from being top of your class at law school. It all seemed pretty ridiculous to me.
The book is better edited than many self-pubs, and it really should have worked better for me. But I know that if someone asks me about the book six months from now, I’ll be able to tell them nothing whatsoever about it. Final grade: C-