Formats available: ebook, audiobook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: The Dragon Kings, #0.5
Length: 112 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Date Released: April 22, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
A silent woman ashamed of her criminal background becomes a Cage warrior to seek redemption. An unrepentant fortune hunter will do anything to escape his mounting debts. Although rivals on the streets of Hong Kong, they find common ground when seeking their clan’s stolen idol, but for vastly different reasons. Neither one suspects that love will begin when he becomes the first man in five years to hear her speak.
Once they were worshipped as gods. Now they huddle in remote clan strongholds, clinging to the remnants of demonic power as their race slowly withers into extinction. Or they sell themselves into life-long slavery for access to the human science that has figured out a way around whatever has caused the rising infertility rate. Or just to pay off gambling debts.
The Dragon Kings are not actually dragons. They’re not shapeshifters either. What they are is descendants of the beings who inspired the great myths: the Norse Gods, the Egyptian and Greek pantheons, the Celtic fae, and I suspect, the Chinese Dragons. Not that those have been named so far.
Each of the five clans has a power. One can bring the lightning, like Zeus. One can read minds. One clan has the power to take the powers of another Dragon King, for a brief time.
Of course, they aren’t all Kings. Some are Queens, but they’re not called that. Even the females are kings. I’m not quite sure whether or not to be annoyed about that.
And it’s important to remember that in a lot of mythology, the gods behaved very badly.
In Silent Warrior, the warrior is a woman who goes by the name of “Silence”, because she doesn’t speak. Not that can’t, but she won’t. Big difference. She spends her life in slavery to what is, in effect, a crime syndicate, for two reasons.
One is that she seeks redemption for the crimes that her family committed. They stole from the head of their clan, Clan Sath. Interestingly, the Sath are the thieves of the Dragon Kings. They can steal the power from another. It does have the unfortunate tendency to make them thieves of trinkets and treasures as well. Her family stole too much, and they paid the ultimate price.
But her second reason is a prophecy. She is working for the day that all the Dragon Kings can be freed from the crime syndicates, and that day is coming. Silence is biding her time, and searching for half of an idol that her family stole.
While she is out on assignment, she finds the other half of the stolen idol, in the hands of the only man who talks enough for both of them. He drives her crazy enough to make her finally talk back, after five years of silence.
If she trusts him enough to finally talk, he might be the one she can trust at her back as she fights for her life. Every single day. If he’s willing to trust her enough to go down into the dark with her.
Escape Rating B: In spite of the length, this story is pretty complete. In some ways, it is better than the novel that comes after it (Caged Warrior, reviewed later today) because Silence and Hark are equals.
The world of the Dragon Kings is harsh and brutal, and the people in it lead a bloody life filled with death and destruction. This is a story of unexpected love in a very dark place. They start out expecting a night of sweaty sex and nothing more, because that’s all their life holds.
Silence and Hark are flawed, fascinating people. They’re both terribly damaged, and yet they manage to find just enough faith in each other to make a giant leap together. I can’t even call the ending a “Happy For Now” because happy isn’t a word that applies in this world. Facing the future together, definitely and awesomely.
And Silence as a character is doubly awesome because she is unapologetically a woman warrior from the very beginning. She’s not following anyone. She’s not less. She’s not bait. She is ferocious.
I am annoyed that the book is named for her, but the cover picture is of him.
But I wish I had a few more clues about how things got to be the way they are. I’m saying this from a perspective at the end of Caged Warrior, and I’m still not sure. I’m making guesses based on other paranormals, fantasies, and real-life history, but I’m still not sure I have enough clues. And dragon? When dragon? Who dragon?