Read-Along: Dragon Bound (The Elder Races, #1) by Thea Harrison (Update Post #1)

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This is my first update post for the Dragon Bound read-along hosted by Rick over at Another Book Blog. For more information on this read-along, or to sign up, visit his introduction page!

So funny story abou the inception of this read-along. Rick had joked after my Oryx & Crake read-along that he might read a paranormal romance one day since I read some CanLit. Naturally, I had to throw out a YES! DO IT! and thus a read-along was born. I’m not entirely too sure how Rick feels about hosting this, but it’ll be fun nonetheless.

dragon boundMy experiences with the paranormal romance genre: 

I actually really, really like paranormal romance books and sometimes go on spurts reading them. That being said, I’ve been on a more contemporary, Canadian literature, horror book reading binge lately, so this is very much out of the park from what I’ve read in the past weeks. BUT it did come highly praised from Kelly over at Reading the Paranormal and she knows her paranormal romance. That and lots of other people seem to love the series, so who am I to judge?

Now, this kind of paranormal romance is new to me … I’ve read mostly about vampires, werewolves … you know, the NORM. I’ve never really read anything about elves and dragons … so, you’ve been warned.

My reaction on the first 120-ish pages (written as I read … so expect a mouthful): 

Rather than read the chapters then think about what to write, I’m just going to write as I go. I hope I don’t get too judgemental …

Chapter One

Right off the bat, there was this quote:

Doing business with a dragon. Now that’s a cutthroat experience. (Attributed to Donald Trump)

Almost immediately I felt like watching Dragon’s Den. Here’s hoping that none of the characters have the same names as anyone ON Dragon’s Den … clearly, I’d just be picturing them in the story. And if there’s nudity … that could be scary.

By page 2 I’m hungry. Before this, I was reading a book where a character is at a party and there’s really good food. I had to leave to get lunch it was making me so hungry. *scrounges around for anything resembling Korean food*

Pia enters a shop where the woman has a “chocolate milk voice.” Who’s to say the reader doesn’t find chocolate milk disgusting? Is it supposed to mean she has a smooth voice? I’m sure there are other words that could’ve been used … *wonders where the craving for chocolate milk came from*

This book kind of reminds me of Hounded by Kevin Hearne … only because it takes place in a magic shop at times AND there’s a binding spell in that book.

The shopkeeper says, “This is not a fast food drive-through.” WHAT IS WITH ALL THE FOOD REFERENCES?

After Pia’s bit, we meet what I’m assuming is the dragon … and he’s a bit of a hoarder. And when you’re a hoarder you know EXACTLY where everything is, so when someone comes in and takes something of yours, HEAVEN FORBID you relish in the things you still own. You go for revenge.

I also have to comment on this dude’s name … Dragos Cuelebre. So I’m assuming Dragos means dragon (at least, drago means dragon in Italian), and I looked up ‘cuelebre’ and found that according to Asturian mythology it means “a magical cave-dwelling dragon.” So does that mean when translated, his name is Dragon Dragon? He really should give Phillip Phillips a call …

“This tiny scrap was as ludicrous and as nonsensical to him as a hot fudge sundae topping an ostrich’s head.”

Was this book written by a pregnant woman? WHAT IS GOING ON?

By about page 10 I’m picturing Dragos and Rune as Batman and Robin. RIGHT?!?! He even has the Cuelebre Tower (Dragon Tower – ha!) and his hoard is kept in the depths of the basement which should be hard to find. Kind of like Wayne Enterprises? And ALL those awesome things IN THE BASEMENT?

 Actually, though, in my earlier comparison of this book to Hounded, it’s funny that Dragos and Rune talk telepathically. In Hounded, the main character, Atticus, has a dog named Oberon. He and Oberon can communicate telepathically. And Oberon is kind of like an awesome sidekick (who just wants some french poodle tail.).

I like how the reader HAS to know that Dragos is 6’8″ … like “tall” wouldn’t have sufficed. I’d also like to know what “wild sunshine” smells like.

Meanwhile, the dragon is upset over a penny. A PENNY. Can you say issues?

Chapter Two

In Chapter Two, we meet Keith, who sounds like a real gem. I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely too sure why he was so lovey-lovey with Pia after she says that they had broken up …

Coffee, lunch, fast-food … I really should be keeping a tally on the food references.

Although Pia seems to have made a HUGE mistake even hooking up with Keith (i.e. shithead, Captain Fantastic) in the first place, I do like how badassery she gets when he really turns into a douche. I’m also not quite sure why, if Keith is the one who owes his associates money, Pia is the one who had to steal from the dragon. Why wouldn’t they have just sent Keith? Then they’d get what they want and Keith would probably be hunted down and killed after … ALTHOUGH, you would think with Pia giving him the penny THINKING he would be tracked down and killed, that that wasn’t smart thinking on her part. I mean, she STOLE the penny … wouldn’t she be smart enough to know that SHE could be tracked?

“take a penny, leave a penny” 

You know, in Canada this book might not make sense in, oh, 100 years to some. What with the penny being obsolete.

“Pia’s mother had kept stashes of cash and different identities for them in a half-dozen places throughout the city. Pia had memorized public transportation routes, lock combinations and safety deposit numbers for all the locations by the time she was six years old.” 

So, basically, Pia is now Jason Bourne.

More Batman-ish happens when the mysterious event boils down to be a “research and development accident.” I think if anyone says that a weird underground lair is used for R&D, I will be skeptical. Oh, and more about the dragon … he’s a MULTIBILLIONAIRE and RECLUSIVE … just like Bruce Wayne!

Rick mentioned the height things being mentioned … so far, we know that the dragon is 6’8″, Preston is a slouching 8 feet, and now Quentin is 6’2″. Apparently, Pia knows some very tall guys — for those who are keeping track! Oh, and I’m pretty sure everyone is blond so far.

Tofu sandwich, coffee, Twizzlers, cherry Coke Slurpee …

So this dragon is apparently very smart, but doesn’t eat junk food and doesn’t know what Ziploc bags are called … yet he watched TV? CLEARLY someone has too much time on their hands.

“… but she seemed a normal height for a tallish human woman.” 

So … is she tall, or is she a normal (like, average) height? Seriously. All these definite heights for the guys and now something vague for Pia? And so far the men have been compared to Gods and whatnot, but Pia has been compared to a horse and a whippet. Awesome.

Chapter Three

I have to say. I have woken up WAY TOO MANY TIMES on a balcony wearing a white negligee. I mean, it happens.

“That voice. Whiskey and silk, ageless and male. It poured over her and set her body on fire. She was bereft of air. Her lips parted on a soundless gasp.” 

First of all, the shopkeeper has a voice like chocolate milk, but this guy’s is whiskey and silk? Also, it’s passages like that that MAKE the romance genre. Just sayin’.

One thing I don’t understand about certain romance novels is how the woman can be SO FREAKING TOUGH and come across as being super smart … yet a guy opens his mouth and it’s like they melt into a puddle. Can we go back to the negligee and the fact that she woke up in a weird place? Clearly her priorities are out of whack if she chooses not to panic.

“Unease skittered on light mice feet down her back.”

Because, clearly, one can’t just have a shiver run down one’s spine.

“Magic and desire choked her. Her breathing turned erratic at his controlled violence and the dominance of his body pressing her down. Sexual heat pooled low in her body as the juncture between her thighs grew slick.” 

OK. So I know it seems like all I’m doing is picking this book apart, but really?!?! You wake up on a strange balcony in clothes that aren’t even yours and instead of panicking, it’s like, “Oh, must jump into bed with the next man I see!” At this point I really hope that this dude’s voice really is hypnotizing or Pia is just being stupid.

“Something lay stiff and heavy along her flat stomach. With a thrill of shock she realized it was an enormous erection.” 

SHOCKED?!?! She was shocked by this?!?

“His tongue thrust an aggressive rhythm as he fucked her mouth.” 

OK, so there’s good sex scenes and there are bad sex scenes. Let’s just say I’ve read better.

Meanwhile, Pia has not even ruled out that she’s having a dream … but you know, let’s just go with it.

“Hard hands sank into her hair and held her head imprisoned against his hairy chest.”

Um … that’s hot? #not

OK, so it was a dream. Still.

Beguiling.

Chapter Four

“She fingered the area at the juncture of her neck and shoulder.” 

Looootttta junctures going on.

Juice, coffee, apple slices … #forthosekeepingtrack

At one point in this chapter, the writing goes from third person to first person … I’m *assuming* that Pia is talking to herself, but put it in italics then. The editing of this book is really annoying me in parts …

“So, is that your long, scaly, reptilian tail, or are you just happy to see me?”

*dies*

Oh gosh, the cheese never ends!

So far, Pia is now compared to a whippet, a horse, and her hair is a rat’s nest. She sounds VERY attractive. /sarcasm

And, by the end of the chapter, she’s teaching the big, bad, mean dragon man manners. Of course she is.

Chapter Five

In this chapter, Pia and Dragos are talking. I think we also learn that Pia is wearing a scrunchie. I would have assumed by her tough-ish demeaner, she’d wear a regular ol’ elastic band, but that’s just me.

As we learn about Keith’s death, Pia gets upset. And while Dragos doesn’t know what a Ziploc bag is called, he knows the symptoms of shock. Must be all that TV watching.

So I’m not minding the main characters so much in this chapter. Maybe because they’re not falling over one another for no apparent reason. They’re actually talking. And listening. At least now we have reasons for why Pia did what she did and Dragos isn’t the big, bad dragon he claims to be (does he maybe have a soft side?).

We’re told again that Pia looks like Greta Garbo. In case you don’t know who she is, here’s a picture:

While I know my old-time Hollywood starlets, I did have to look this one up just to confirm what she looked like. I’m not sure I would recognize the similarities seeing her in the street, but that’s just me.

I love how Pia points out that Dragos needs to be checked out for knowing a little too much about his stash back at his little R&D basement. I mean, really. The normal person wouldn’t realize that a penny was missing, let alone that their 1962 penny was replaced with a 1975 penny.

Not only does he have OCD, but he knows a witch and wants some of Pia’s hair … danger! Danger!

By the end of this chapter, I’m assuming that Pia and Dragos know each other from some other life or something … or maybe their soulmates or something. I mean, I’d hate to classify it as insta-love, but they’re very close given their prior situation.

Chapter Six 

Such a man. Dragos has been injured, must flee the premises, but he totally has time for a quickie.

Oh, and I hate to say it, but there really should be another word for beguile, beguiled, or beguilement. I think I’ve counted 5 times now the word has been used in some way.

beguile

I’m not sure how I feel about Dragos and his constantly saying, “You’re mine.” I can’t remember the last book I read that had this, but it’s getting to be slightly overkill. I’m glad Pia finally questions this. Dragos seems to live in some old-school world where he can just claim and keep women.

Almonds, soy yogurt, Twizzlers, cherry Coke slurpee …

Chapter Seven

Ew. Goblins. They just sound creepy.

I’m definitely interested in this blood thing and why Pia can’t bleed. Is there something wrong with her blood? Or was it just a ruse to get naked … hmmm.

OK, not a ruse.

Anyway, again, I’m liking the interaction between Pia and Dragos now … it’s nicer when it’s not all about sex (did I just say that about a romance novel?). At least now there’s some action going on and they’re getting to know one another … there are SECRETS.

Overall Impression So Far

There are a TON of freaking similes in this book. Maybe that’s a thing with romance novels? Also, the editing is shoddy in some places. BUT I don’t hate the story. I think I might be growing to like it. It’s always hard for me getting into a new romance author because I find one and fall in love with them, read EVERYTHING they put out, and then I’m scared to try something new.

I don’t think I was TOO judgemental in my reading, but if I was and you love the book, sorry. I get a little nitpicky with read-alongs and a little judgement can’t be helped!  At any rate, I am starting to like the book after these first eight chapters … I’ll admit, there was a lot of cheese in some parts and other parts made me roll my eyes, but it’s getting better.

I do want to keep reading the book and getting to know the characters … who knows, maybe by the end I’ll be itching for the next book in the series!

Have you read this book? Are you participating in the read-along? What are your thoughts? 

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12 thoughts on “Read-Along: Dragon Bound (The Elder Races, #1) by Thea Harrison (Update Post #1)

  1. Pia as Jason Bourne = love. I didn’t notice the food in all my feminist rage, but now I’m going to be on the lookout! I love the write-as-you-go format you have here — it’s so immediate and fun!

    • Thanks! I knew that by the end of reading these chapters I wouldn’t have a clue what to say, so this works better.

      And I *just* finished this week’s reading and there is still SO MUCH FOOD! Is it lunch yet?

  2. This was probably the funniest thing I’ve ever read on your blog. Holy hell this book is ridiculous at times. Your “Dragon Dragon” comment almost made me spit out a mouthful of milk, I was laughing so hard. Totally didn’t notice how dumb that was. Haha.

    I love how vampires and werewolves are “normal” romance topics, but dragons are CRAZY. This genre is hilariously weird.

    “So this dragon is apparently very smart, but doesn’t eat junk food and doesn’t know what Ziploc bags are called.” SO glad someone else picked up on this. I mean, he’s the head of a massive corporation, has this incredible business acumen, yet he DOESN’T KNOW WHAT A ZIPLOC BAG IS. Huh?

    The Greta Garbo thing is such a short-sighted comparison. So irrelevant to her readers. And she’s already said it twice in 112 pages.

    I didn’t even notice the chocolate milk voice. I don’t even know how to comment on that haha.

    • This book is crazy ridiculous. I’ve read good romance but this is just not good. Cheesy. Way too cheesy and I’m playing lactose intolerant.

      I wouldn’t say dragons are crazy because I’m sure it’s been well done at some point. I just can’t stand Dragos! He drives me nuts!

      I don’t get the Greta Garbo thing, either … now that you mention it, it really has no place in the story. There’s no significance and it’s only mentioned a few times. As far as I know, Greta Garbo doesn’t look like a whippet crossed with a horse with a rat’s nest for hair.

      I’ve done the reading for this week … IT ONLY GETS BETTER.

  3. Brie! It’s not too late! 🙂

    Kristilyn, I am so happy that you decided to go full-snark on this. I think it’s hilarious that the rest of us are trying to give it a fair shake, while you are just like “fuck this.”

    You picked up on a lot of inconsistencies that I either forgot or maybe they just melded into my general sense of WTF. Like, I really don`t think I fully understand what is going on in this book, with respect to the creatures who live among humans, and humans are totally okay with the fact that a reclusive and ancient dragon is basically running NYC. I feel like I need some (a lot) of context!

    The wild sunshine thing made me laugh. I think there is also a reference to Dragos smelling like a “virile male” which… um… the smell I’m thinking of it not particularly pleasant? LOL

    I am really curious though, if YOU had to recommend a paranormal romance for people who don’t normally read them, which one would you recommend? I’m assuming they aren’t all ridiculous? 🙂

    • I honestly wanted to be fair with this, but it was horrible! I think my favourite paranormal romance series still remains to be the Night Huntress series … I fell in love with Bones in that series immediately!

  4. Pingback: Read-Along: Dragon Bound (The Elder Races, #1) by Thea Harrison (Update Post #2) | Reading In Winter

  5. Pingback: Read-Along: Dragon Bound (The Elder Races, #1) by Thea Harrison (Update Post #3 – FINAL) | Reading In Winter

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