Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: Waking the Dragon (Vale of Stars #1) by Juliette Cross

Book coverWaking the Dragon (Vale of Stars #1) by Juliette Cross
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star star star star star

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame

The Gladium Province is on the verge of civil unrest as humans and Morgons, the dragon-hybrid race, clash once more. But amid disorder can also arise passion…

When the bodies of three human women are discovered in Morgon territory—with the DNA of several Morgon men on the victims—it’s just a matter of time before civil unrest hits the Province. But for ambitious reporter Moira Cade, it’s more than just a story, and it may mean risking her own life.

Descending into the dark underworld of Morgon society, Moira is paired with Kol Moonring, Captain of the Morgon Guard, for her protection. Fiercely independent, Moira bristles at his dominance, and defies his will at every turn. Yet resistance proves futile when passion flares between them, awakening powerful emotions within both, body and soul. But as the killings continue, can their fiery newfound bond survive an even greater evil—one that threatens all of humanity, Morgonkind, and Moira’s very soul?...

I must confess that right now I'm having a bit of a book hangover and all I can think of to say is "I loved this book" and "OMG!! Awesome!!".

I am delighted to be back in the world of Morgon men with Juliette Cross' new series and book, Waking the Dragon. When I saw that Juliette had a new Morgon book coming out, I was all over it. Oh yeah! I thoroughly enjoyed Soulfire and Windburn from the Nightwing series and I knew this would be a wonderful read.

To start, I'm delighted to meet up with Lucius, Jessen, Lorian and Sorcha again, to get a glimpse of their life a few years down the track. It's not necessary to read the Nightwing series before reading this book, but it does help. There are a few small things that happen which although explained later in the book, gives you a little "aha" moment and a little insider knowledge if you had read the series previously. Not critical, but they are great books and worth the read anyway.

As for Waking the Dragon, I must admit that I was nervous about meeting Moira. When I was first introduced to her, I was afraid that I would be stuck with a headstrong and perhaps stupid heroine, but then I remembered that Juliette doesn't write stupid heroines. Her heroines might have character flaws but they are imminently likable characters that you end up rooting for. Moira is a strong (and yes, also headstrong) young woman who thinks she knows her place in the world and what she wants out of life and love, or rather, thinks that she doesn't want or need love because she needed her career more. She had something to prove. Then Kol sweeps into her life and I like that while she's confused by her reactions to him, it's not a lust at first sight, sweep her off her feet sort of reaction, but the courtship between the two of them is a lovely slow burn that builds in intensity as the story progresses. I loved that Moira is a very sensible and self-aware young woman. She knows her limits and knows when it's smarter to run for cover than to be the "dumb blonde that always goes into the haunted house". She makes some decisions during the book where I think "yes, there's a clever, sensible girl. Good for you." I liked that immensely about her.

Kol was a bit of a mystery to me at the beginning. He was cool and aloof but what you don't realise till much later on is that there is a fire that burns hot and bright in him. Like all Morgon men, he's dominant, he's alpha and he's delicious. I loved that he knew his mind and his heart, and he knew Moira well enough to give her space to discover for herself how she felt and what she wanted. I loved that he was her equal and that even though he could have, he didn't dominate. They say that still waters run deep, and with Kol, those waters are a deep well that spills over into a passion that is so overwhelming that it takes my breath away.

With this story, Juliette exceeded my expectations. I didn't realise that I would be in for such a wild ride, but it was great fun. It was roller coaster crazy up and down, and at one point, when I thought it could not get anymore intense and that the story was surely going to climax with what was happening to Moira, it did ... then I looked down at my Kindle status bar and found that I still had another 30% of the story to go. Huzzah!

Juliette continues to explore the theme of segregation and racial discrimination in this story and even expands on it to become more extreme, bringing in elements of a potential civil war. Very exciting stuff. I think the theme will continue to expand as the series continues and I look forward to the heart pounding, adrenaline pumping ride of the next book in the series.

The Morgon world is a harsh and violent one, but in the midst of that is a love that so pure and so true, it makes me wish that soulfire was real.

Thank you Juliette, you do not disappoint.

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About the Author:

Juliette CrossJuliette calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where the landscape curls into her imagination, creating mystical settings for her stories. She has a B.A. in creative writing from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in gifted education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. Her love of mythology, legends, and art serve as constant inspiration for her works. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

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  1. Wow. I'm pretty much speechless at the moment. I love that you see and feel everything I intended as the writer. It's a wonderful moment when the writer can feel that sort of perfect connection with the reader. Thank you for this lovely review, Deanna, as always. :)

    1. You are most welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.