The Dream Thief (The Drakon, book 2), by Shana Abe

Apparently The Dream Thief was Amazon.com’s #1 Romance of the Year, and the first book in this series, The Smoke Thief (review here) was RT (Romantic Times)’s #1 Historical Romance of the Year (presumably in different years). The Drakon series is up to four books now; the third volume is entitled Queen of Dragons and the fourth is The Treasure-Keeper. There’s at least one more planned after that, but I can’t find a title. Yet. I’ll report it when I do. Shana Abe has a Tchouvatch dog which apparently is large and white and sheds a lot, and a house full of rabbits, mostly rescued.

This is a book 2, so I’ll cut here. Lia Langford is the youngest daughter of Kit and Rue from the previous book, and she’s . . . different. She doesn’t have the magical abilities of her siblings, and she chafes at the restrictions placed upon her. However, she also has these dreams, wherein a man — one she knows, as a matter of fact: Zane, Rue’s companion in the previous volume — is asking her questions to which she knows the answer, although she doesn’t in real life. He and she are also lovers in these dreams, despite the fact that in real life, she is significantly younger than he is. On top of that, she hears something calling to her, even outside of the dreams. So when her parents hire Zane to go find a fabled diamond that is the drakon’s greatest fear and greatest treasure, Lia must find a way to go along, despite the danger.

This book had everything of the last book, only moreso. The opening epic-ness trails through the book; the love story is more intense for various reasons; the historical setting is actually justified. It’s also got a few things that the previous volume didn’t have, and I’d be remiss in mentioning that there are overtones of underage sexuality all over the place. For one thing, the dreams start when Lia is something like thirteen or fourteen and she barely understands what’s going on. For another, there is a man with a ten- or eleven-year-old wife floating around, and another reviewer (Jayne (?) at Dear Author) definitely got the idea that the man was raping the child. I didn’t actually get that feeling; there was a line wherein the girl mentioned that the man would have to wait for children. It’s definitely ambiguous, though and readers sensitive to such issues may choose to avoid this story.

In between the chapters is a first-person recounting of a legend (the aforementioned opening epic-ness) that I didn’t feel particularly added to the tale. It does, however, give a different perspective on everything, and there is a twist at the end. I became frustrated with it while reading and skimmed over various portions, and I do feel like many readers will do the same thing. On the other hand, the legend does add to the fated-lovers idea (although they are fated for a different reason than the last book) and interacts with the setting — Eastern Europe — in an organic fashion. Others may enjoy the legend; I thought it interrupted the flow of the story.

I felt like the plot was much stronger in this volume, but it isn’t nearly so gentle a love story. In fact, it’s downright dangerous at times, and those expecting something with exactly the same tone as the first volume aren’t going to find it. The main character, Lia, is a lot more passive than her mother, and although I’m willing to give the author that she’s demonstrated her ability to write different kinds of characters, I didn’t like her quite as much or quite as quickly as I did Rue. Zane is, instead of the Overbearing Landowner of Kit, a different kind of romance-novel hero: the Bad Boy. He’s a thief on the best of days, and while he has a significant amount of honor, he’s also got the air of danger and everything but the leather jacket and motorcycle (both of which would obviously be anachronistic).

This was another interesting story and highly lauded by the press, but not necessarily without flaws; I’d recommend it to those who enjoyed the previous volume (although it could probably stand on its own), barring those who might react problematically to the issues mentioned above. 3.5/5 stars.

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