Reasons for Inclusion: M/M romance, bisexual characters
Over two hundred years ago, when dragons were hunted for their blood, the King of Torsere offered them sanctuary. In return, the dragons bestowed a magical gift on the King’s people, allowing those born with the mark to become dragon riders and forge a mental connection between dragon and rider.
King Ryneq of Torsere is undeniably attracted to Nykin, a young dragon rider. Ryneq’s sister, Cerylea, encourages him to pursue the relationship. But with the stresses of ruling Torsere, a romantic attachment is low on Ryneq s list of priorities. Nykin admires the king from afar, but wants more than to warm his bed for a night or two.
Torsere remains under threat from the lowland armies of Rodeth and Athisi. To protect their kingdom, Ryneq and Cerylea intend to form an alliance with the elves through Cerylea s marriage to elf prince Morkryn. On the road to the wedding, the lowland army attacks the party. Cerylea escapes, but Ryneq is captured and taken to the impenetrable Risvery Castle. In the aftermath, Nykin volunteers for a perilous mission, endangering the lives of him and his dragon. The odds are against him, but Nykin will risk everything for his duty and his king.
This story really interested me at first, with a corps of dragonriders protecting a kingdom preparing for an alliance with an elven prince. In the middle of all this, a king and dragonrider who are mutually attracted but not ready to make a move.
When King Ryneq is kidnapped by an alliance force of the two enemy nations, rider Nykin takes desperate measures and gets himself kidnapped as well in the first steps of an elaborate plot to save his king.
Most of the story is taken up with the various tortures villains Hatak and Seran inflict on their prisoners. I’m not squeamish, but the violence felt like a bit too much after a while.
I loved the dragons, wonderful long-lived creatures once enslaved by a wicked king but now loyal to Torsere, though never subservient. They possess magical powers to communicate with and heal their designated riders, powers that save Nykin’s life more than once.
I’ll probably check out the sequel stories; I want to see what the characters do next.