Father of Dragons (Ballots Keep) Paperback – 24 Jun 2008
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I should point out that Father of Dragons fell more into the fantasy genre than into M/M for me. Despite being gay, I'm usually turned off by most M/M romance or erotica. These lines are thinly crossed especially when the material is written by a female (often heterosexual) author. Veinglory concentrates more on other storylines and less on the male romance. While the sexual content is there, its clearly not her focus and this made her book a much more entertaining read for me, especially for someone who usually avoids fantasy all together.
Father of Dragons is the story of a young man named Xeras. He is haunted by the voice of his lover who has been executed for no reason. The book opens with Xeras encountering a female dragon while lost in the forest. He awakes the next morning and is informed by a male dragon that the female dragon implanted an embryo in his side.
Veinglory's use of dialogue also comes very naturally. She knows the dialect and its very believable for the time period and genre approached here. The banter between Xeras and his dead lover was often sweet and sometimes comical. There's also not too much dialogue. The author pushes her story forward with colorful descriptions and narrative that were much more interesting and unique to me. The dead lover's speech in italics also made his and Xera's conversations easy to follow.
Xeras soon finds himself attracted to a Duke named Carly and faced with the chance to confront the dragons that have been attacking the locals. But there are bigger problems echoing from Xeras, homeland and he and Carly find themselves wrapped in a world of magic, all while the voice of Xeras' previous lover echoes in his ear. And lets not forget the baby dragon growing inside him!
Veinglory's characters and the plot are far more fascinating here than the sex. I'm not saying she can't write spice, and those scenes were certainly appreciated, but I was drawn to the story more than anything. That says a lot because usually its the other way around and I'd prefer to just get on to the sex. Also the idea of a man being pregnant with a dragon was strange, unusual, and new to me, ultimately making this read very enjoyable and different.
This is the first book I've read from Samhain. It is well polished and I found the "clean" cover to be very attractive. Most erotica or M/M romance slaps a shirtless torso on the cover and immediately tries to appeal to our visual senses. Veinglory's writing stands alone and deserves a cover such as this one. If you enjoy fantasy, dragons, and a touch of M/M, then I highly recommend this read to you.
The surprise is threefold in "Father of Dragons": Xeras, the "hero" is more emo than hero; and his fragile, damaged psyche is nurtured by the ghost of his murdered lover, Drin. The tragedy underlying Xeras' exile is not about his attraction to men, but his crossing rigid caste boundaries, with dire results. The central surprise in the story is the relationship between man and dragon - something all but forgotten in the world Xeras inhabits. Dragons are like ivory-billed woodpeckers - thought to be extinct, but possibly not. That "possibly" turns into a startling reality when Xeras is rescued from a stormy night by a female dragon with an agenda of her own.
I don't believe in spoilers, but suffice it to say that the title can be taken literally. The third great surprise in the book is the elegance and comic precision of Veinglory's writing. She is nearly Dickensian in her literary drollery. The great dragon myth-maker, Tolkein, was a largely humorless writer; and his most modern progeny, Christopher Paolini, is even more literal and high minded. Veinglory's language is stylish and just plain funny, and that makes for a hugely refreshing read.
Keep writing, Emily Veinglory! You have a knack for it!
I have a hard time finding things that I really loved to read. This book is one of my favorites. I definitely recommend it for the gay supernatural/fantasy reader.