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Review: Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper


Hunted Warrior
Author:  Lindsey Piper
Series:  The Dragon Kings 3
Publisher:  Pocket Books,  April 28, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
List Price:  $7.99  (print)
ISBN:  9781451695939 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper
Demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a race on the brink of distinction: What will become of them? One proud leader wields his power to unlock dark mysteries in the third book in this fierce, sensual new paranormal romance series.

When the head of the Five Clans of the Dragon Kings wants something, he gets it. Raised among the most privileged of his dying race, Malnefoley conceals a devastating tragedy from his youth. Now, many call him the Usurper because of his unconventional rise to power. His influence is waning while the Dragon Kings must solve the puzzle of their slow extinction. So when a particularly important captive escapes his compound in the Greek mountains, Malnefoley leaves nothing to chance. She is his prisoner to retrieve.

The woman is known as the Pet, a former associate of a sadistic doctor from the Asters, a human crime cartel. Her loyalties cannot be trusted, even when she claims to hold the secret to conception—an invaluable secret for a race unable to procreate. Neither can her unique gift from the Great Dragon be believed. She’s a soothsayer, able to see glimpses of the future. Her quest is to find and save a Cage warrior on the verge of her first match—a young woman whose destiny is bound to a timeless prophecy.

Malnefoley has no respect for the ancient superstitions that brought about his childhood trauma. His only goal is to return the Pet to his compound and use her knowledge for the betterment of their people. Yet her restless energy and raw sensuality are as intriguing as her predictions about the rise of the Great Dragon. He dares not trust the crafty fugitive’s loyalties, but as their treacherous chase turns passionate, can he even trust himself?


Melanie's Thoughts

Hunted Warrior starts approximately six months after the end of book 1 Caged Warrior with the destruction of the fighting cages and the Aster family lab. Mal aka The Giva has been keeping Aster's pet Dragon King, the aptly named Pet, prisoner until she gives up Aster's secret cure to the Dragons King's infertility. Pet however, has a few secrets of her own. She escapes Mal's custody and starts her search for some ancient weapons that will help a young cage warrior fulfill the destiny that Pet saw when the warrior was still in the womb. There is only one problem and that is in the form of a tall, blond, Adonis-like Dragon King by the name of Malnefoley. He doesn't trust Pet and doesn't believe in her visions or her belief in the original dragon. He is, however, determined to find out all that she knows from her time in the Aster's labs in order to save his race. On a journey that takes them from Greece to Italy to London Mal soon discovers that Pet isn't quite who he believed her to be. Drawn to one another the former slave and the leader of all Dragon Kings are on a perilous journey to fulfill a prophecy.

It's almost as if Piper has read my reviews of the prior books in the series and took my comments into account when writing Hunted Warrior. I wasn't happy with the brutality of Caged Warrior where Nan was almost raped and the romance was more violent than romantic. In Blood Warrior I felt there was a lot of romance but very little background about the Dragon King race. Now in Hunted Warrior there is a much better balance between romance, plot and background. This is PNR so obviously there is a lot of romance and steaminess between Pet (who he later names Ayva) and Mal but through both characters Piper explains more about the origin and the role of The Giva along with some of the history of the different families within the Dragon King race. Pet gives the reader a different perspective on the history of the Dragon Kings through her visions and with her relationship with Mal which I thought was effective.

I feel that Piper put more effort into these characters. Pet/Ayva had a tragic upbringing yet she sticks up for herself and can hold her own. I didn't immediately warm to Mal and thought he was a tad stuck up but I am sure this is what you were supposed to think of him. He did start to grow on me towards the end but only just. I had high hopes for a bit more of a slow burn romance as the hot and steamy hadn't started a third of the way in. This wasn't meant to be and it wasn't too long before Mal and Avya are getting horizontal almost everywhere including an Italian crypt! That sounded uncomfortable and lacking in the R in PNR.

I don't think it is necessary to read the first two books of the series to enjoy this one. There is enough re-capping of previous events to understand what is happening. Overall, Hunted Warrior is a more balanced book and therefore, a more enjoyable read. There is something for everyone in this book - romance, action and even a dragon!





Previously

Silent Warrior
Dragon Kings ePrequel
Pocket Star, April 22, 2013
eBook, 80 pages

Review: Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper
An exciting, emotionally charged prequel to the Dragon Kings trilogy featuring warriors fighting for their lives in violent cage matches to guarantee their clans’ survival—available exclusively as an eBook!

A silent woman ashamed of her criminal background becomes a Cage warrior to seek redemption. An unrepentant fortune hunter will do anything to escape his mounting debts. Although rivals on the streets of Hong Kong, they find common ground when seeking their clan’s stolen idol, but for vastly different reasons. Neither one suspects that love will begin when he becomes the first man in five years to hear her speak.



Caged Warrior
The Dragon Kings 1
Pocket Books, June 25, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Review: Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper
The first installment in this fierce and sensual new paranormal romance series features demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a proud race on the brink of extinction.

Ten years ago, Audrey MacLaren chose to marry her human lover, making her an exile from the Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons once worshiped as earthly gods. Audrey and her husband managed to conceive, and their son is the first natural-born Dragon King in a generation—which makes him irresistible to the sadistic scientist whose mafia-funded technology allows demon procreation. In the year since her husband was murdered, Audrey and her little boy have endured hideous experiments.

Shackled with a collar and bound for life, Leto Garnis is a Cage warrior. Only through combat can Dragon Kings earn the privilege of conceiving children. Leto uses his superhuman speed and reflexes to secure the right for his two sisters to start families. After torture reveals Audrey’s astonishing pyrokenesis, she is sent to fight in the Cages. If she survives a year, she will be reunited with her son. Leto is charged with her training. Initially, he has no sympathy for her plight. But if natural conception is possible, what has he been fighting for? As enemies, sparring partners, lovers, and eventual allies, Leto and Audrey learn that in a violent underground world, love is the only prize worth winning.



Blood Warrior
The Dragon Kings 2
Pocket Books, July 30, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages

Review: Hunted Warrior by Lindsey Piper
The Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons, were once worshipped as earthly gods. Centuries later and facing extinction, their survival is challenged when a madman renews his clan’s tradition of ritualized murder.

For decades, Tallis of Pendray has been visited in dreams by a woman who tempts him to fulfill a sacred prophecy. He devotes his life to the cause, until her violent demands destroy his family. Now he wants revenge.

To her devoted followers, Kavya of Indranan is a peaceful savior. But believing Kavya responsible for his deadly dreams, Tallis kidnaps her on the eve of a vital truce within her warring clan. During the ensuing chaos, her bloodthirsty brother attempts to kill her, certain the sacrifice will transform him into a dangerously powerful telepath.

Tallis safeguards Kavya—who shares little but a name in common with his avowed enemy. Their impassioned flight leads them to the Scottish Highlands, where Tallis is held liable for his crimes. He’ll do what he must to protect Kavya and the iconic message of harmony that could ensure the survival of the Dragon Kings . . . as much as her love could heal his jaded heart.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015


Hello! Greetings from sunny London, England. I hope you have all had productive weeks. I would really like to say that I hammered my TBR list and had a big bunch of books to tell you about, but alas I don't. Well I do have 2 really good books to tell you about. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015
I have had Nexus (Nexus 1) by Ramez Naam on my TBR for far too long. I am kicking myself for not reading Nexus sooner. This is a great book. The story centers on Kade Lane, an extremely talented scientist who has developed a variant of an illegal drug which can link minds. Lane's 'experiments' bring him to the attention of a covert group of the American government. Captured and coerced Lane has no alternative but to do what he is told but is it for the good of the people or the good of the government? Lane finds himself in Thailand on a mission to infiltrate the lab of a prominent scientist. Nothing is as it seems. Friends are enemies, enemies are friends, the master becomes the slave, and Lane doesn't know what to believe. All he really knows is that Nexus 5 will be salvation of many or the downfall of many more. Kade is partnered with the damaged Samantha Cataranes, an agent of the ERD. Kade and Samantha both describe themselves as pawns and this is a perfect analogy. Kade is the white pawn and Samantha the black pawn: Kade the innocent who tries to do the right thing, and Samantha who will do whatever she is told to do by her superiors. It all changes when both discover that innocents are being hurt by those who are supposed to protect them.

If you are a science fiction fan then Nexus is the series for you. Naam has created a fantastic plot where you don't really know who Lane should trust. Naam perfectly balances plot development with action. There is a lot of death and mayhem but it didn't detract from the overall story. I was on the edge of my seat (or book) from the first few pages to all the way to the final one. Nexus is a great book and I can't believe its Naam's debut. Well done. I'm looking forward to Crux (Nexus 2) which is next on my list to read.


Melanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015
The lovely Qwill reminded me of a series that I had forgotten about - Dragon Kings by Lindsey Piper. She sent me book 3 - Hunted Warrior which I devoured in just a few days. I am going to be writing a full review of this book so keep your eyes on the blog for it. p.s. I love the cover!


I am going to end this post by telling you about a show about a book that I am watching.  No, its not Game of Thrones either. I discovered I had a subscription to Amazon's video streaming service and came across a the TV version of the much loved book Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I knew this book had been made into a series but forgot all about it until an advert popped up. If you don't already know the Outlander is the story of a young woman, Claire who has survived being a nurse in WW2. She finds herself transported 200 years in the past whilst on a honeymoon in Scotland. Lost and alone in the Scottish highlands she ends up married into one of the largest Scottish clans - the MacKenzies - while trying desperately trying to get back to her husband in her real time.

It's easy to feel disappointed when books are turned into movies or TV shows. I can easily get disappointed even by book covers when the models/actors don't look like I pictured them or worse when the plot of the books are changed for movies/TV. This wasn't the case with Outlander. All the characters were just as I imagined. The only thing that surprised me was amount of sex Claire is having. I read these books as a young teenager and either I blocked that aspect out or I have forgotten about it. These books reminded me of how historical fiction can teach you history (provided the history is accurate). I think I learned more about this period of history from the Outlander series than I did in 5 years of history classes. Congratulations to Diana Gabaldon!

That is all for me this week. I hope you have a great week and Happy Reading.


Review: Blood Warrior (The Dragon Kings 2) by Lindsey Piper


Blood Warrior
Author:  Lindsey Piper
Series:  The Dragon Kings 2
Publisher:  Pocket Books, July 30, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781451695922 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: Blood Warrior (The Dragon Kings 2) by Lindsey Piper
The Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons, were once worshipped as earthly gods. Centuries later and facing extinction, their survival is challenged when a madman renews his clan’s tradition of ritualized murder.

For decades, Tallis of Pendray has been visited in dreams by a woman who tempts him to fulfill a sacred prophecy. He devotes his life to the cause, until her violent demands destroy his family. Now he wants revenge.

To her devoted followers, Kavya of Indranan is a peaceful savior. But believing Kavya responsible for his deadly dreams, Tallis kidnaps her on the eve of a vital truce within her warring clan. During the ensuing chaos, her bloodthirsty brother attempts to kill her, certain the sacrifice will transform him into a dangerously powerful telepath.

Tallis safeguards Kavya—who shares little but a name in common with his avowed enemy. Their impassioned flight leads them to the Scottish Highlands, where Tallis is held liable for his crimes. He’ll do what he must to protect Kavya and the iconic message of harmony that could ensure the survival of the Dragon Kings . . . as much as her love could heal his jaded heart.



Melanie's Thoughts:

Blood Warrior starts not long after the end of the first book in the Dragon Kings series, Caged Warrior. Tallis Pendray, having fled the scene of the rescue of his niece Nan in book 1, has found the one woman he has been searching decades for. The goddess known as 'The Sun' has been visiting him for twenty years through his dreams, influencing him to kill several of his own kind. He was in fact, involved in the murder of Nan's human husband in Caged Warrior. Tallis decides to take matter into his own hands by seeking retribution on the one person who has controlled his life. No one is more surprised than Tallis when he finds himself on the run the run with the lovely goddess Kavya, protecting her from the brother who wants to her dead.

More is revealed about the history of Tallis, his family and the dragon king race. Through Kavya we come to learn about the powers of the Indranan race and of the Pendray through Tallis. It reminded me a tiny bit of gaming characters where you pick a race and have a main power or skill - the Pendrays are berserkers, Indranans are telepaths, Maleforneys channel lighting and added into this mix are the half breeds like Nan who have multiple powers from both parents. A theme throughout both books is that the dragon kings as a species are dying out.  I couldn't really understand was why this was happening as there was really no explanation as to why the dragon kings had become infertile. Nan, from Caged Warrior, had obviously had a child with a human so I wasn't entirely sure why more weren't doing the same.

The plot is fairly fast paced with a journey starting in India and ending in Scotland. The environment seems to be cast as an alternative character, moving quickly from a tempestuous snow storm to bleak, barren wilderness. Piper uses the weather and landscape to mirror the mood between the two lead characters to good effect. Missing from the story however is any further development of the Aster plot which I think is a bit disappointing.  Aster is a strong antagonist but the plot of this story seems to side track him in favour of Kavya's equally evil brother.

Overall, Blood Warrior is more your traditional PNR with the virginal, misunderstood Kavya and the handsome, rebel in the form of Tallis. While I thought there wasn't enough history in Caged Warrior but liked the fact there was a strong female lead, in Blood Warrior it was the exact opposite. There is much more detail about the the different races but Kavya is much more the 'femme fatale'. Although saying that I have to appreciate any woman who can traipse through a snow storm in India in no more than a sari and slippers and still look gorgeous! There is a lot more happening in this instalment but it seems to end rather abruptly.

I am fairly conflicted about this series. On one hand I like Piper's world building and the history/folklore surrounding the dragon kings but I just don't like the characters that much themselves. I want something compelling that makes me want to cheer them on even though I may not agree with what they are doing. Apart from Tallis the other characters are a bit bland. Even the lovely Kavya is a tad one one dimensional. I am looking forward to book three which will feature 'The Pet' from book 1 and the Giva who is the leader of the dragon kings. From reading the introductory chapters of this third book I get the feeling that Piper has been slowly building the plot and the character development for future books in the series...or at least I hope that is the case. The Dragon Kings series has a little of something for everyone but not consistently over the first two books. While they are definitely PNR Caged Warrior focuses more on the plot, especially of the Asters, while Blood Warrior reverts more back into traditional PNR. If like me, you were looking forward to this plot developing then tread carefully as Blood Warrior doesn't develop the overarching plot. Blood Warrior is solid PNR and sometimes everyone needs a little happily ever after!

Melanie's Week in Review - September 1, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - September 1, 2013


Happy Labor Day weekend! I hope you are getting lots read on your extra long weekend.

I just deleted my almost complete 'week in review' so rather annoyed with myself and trying desperately to remember what I just wrote. I am not sure what combination of buttons I pressed instead of hitting the 'italics' button but it was enough to delete the whole thing and then saved a 'n'. *Please insert frustration tears here*

Melanie's Week in Review - September 1, 2013
BUT anyway...I digress back to books. I finished reading Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer. I am planning to have my review up soon so don't want to give too much away. Another book that I am planning to review is Blood Warrior by Lindsey Piper. It was in my box of goodies that I received from Qwill a couple of weeks ago and decided I needed a quick read book. I read book one of the Dragon Kings series, Caged Warrior back in June which I thought was just OK. As I am hoping to have a review for you soon I don't want to say too much other than I feel the series is improving....slowly but improving nonetheless.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 1, 2013I read, either on Twitter or their blog, that Ilona Andrews were going to remove the Curran POVs from Amazon because of too many complaints about typos. As someone who is a tiny bit obsessed by this series I promptly re-read both of the POVs. I can't figure it out. I read the first one really slowly to try to spot the mistakes and while I thought they weren't quite as polished as the full length books there wasn't that much to complain about. I don't think I am that unobservant but perhaps I have a typo blind spot when it comes to this series. Not wanting to be daunted I then had to read half of Gunmetal Magic. I was supposed to be cleaning my bedroom at the time so thought I deserved a cheeky re-read of this book. I continued my Ilona-Andrews-re-read-athon by reading a short story called Alphas Origins from Angels of Darkness featuring Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, Sharon Shinn and of course, Ilona Andrews. Every time I read this story I am not sure why more isn't made of it. I think it is another excellent example of how well Andrews can write both science fiction and UF. If you haven't read this short story and like the author then I urge you to give it a go. I dare you not to like it.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 1, 2013
I am not a fan of short stories but I kept on going by reading The Mysterious Case of Mr Strangeway by Karina Cooper. This is a prequel to the Cherry St Croix series and goes back to when Cherry is just fifteen and starting out as a collector. I quite enjoyed it and made me really look forward to reading Corroded which is the next full length book of the series and which I am super lucky to have received from NetGalley. I am very nervous however, about this next book as I was almost depressed at the end of book two, Tarnished.

I also started Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett. It has already captured my attention by being very unusual and not what I was expecting. Fingers crossed I will finish it this week. On that note, I think I better get to it and leave you to enjoy whatever it is you are reading.  Until next week Happy Reading
Interview with Lindsey Piper and Giveaway - May 17, 2015Review: Hunted Warrior by Lindsey PiperMelanie's Week in Review - April 19, 2015Review: Blood Warrior (The Dragon Kings 2) by Lindsey PiperMelanie's Week in Review - September 1, 2013Interview with Lindsey Piper, author of The Dragon Kings series, and Giveaway - April 18, 2013

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