Book Review: Claim the Dragon by A.C. Arthur
I’m not precisely sure when this series is supposed to be set, but it feels vaguely futuristic, with the heroine Ravyn living literally underground with a ‘found family’ of folks hiding from the ‘enforcers’ who run the town of Burgess. The enforcers burned down Ravyn’s bookstore when she refused to pay protection money, so she gave up on trying to live on-grid. Now she’s a thief, stealing and selling artefacts to feed and house her motley band. Tipped off about a dagger worth half a million, she doesn’t expect what happens when she gets it in her hands and the world she thinks she knows changes forever.
This is a world where the paranormals - vampires and dragon shifters - are still not ‘out’ to humans, which is frankly incomprehensible considering how much mess Steele, the dragon shifter hero, keeps making. Blowing out the side of a building before flying away carrying an unconscious woman? I’m not sure I buy that nobody saw that, even if they are able to tinker with memories (and that’s a bit icky since they don’t ask for consent - I really didn’t like that Steele pulled that on Ravyn, I thought it was unnecessary). And there’s a few other things that are seriously off… this is obviously supposed to be Earth, considering the source of the dagger as Tutankhamun’s tomb, so ‘the next full moon is in twenty-nine days’ makes absolutely no sense. It also didn’t need to be in there since the full moon never came into play, but seriously… moon magic referenced when you don’t know how long the moon cycle is? I winced.
There’s some good stuff here - I like the Nigerian origin of the dragon shifters because there absolutely need to be more Black paranormal romance heroes, but I’d have really liked some more world-building and some more of their mythos and origin story, and I never did manage to figure out whether Ravyn was actually Black or white or what, because we never get a real description of her beyond her asymmetrically cut hair.
I’m torn. I don’t want to be harsh because I do want to see more diverse paranormal romance out there, but this could be so much better with a firm hand in the editing. I’ll give it three and a half stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.