Feel the Burn book review (author: G.A. Aiken, reviewer: Jennifer)


War makes strange bedfellows.

I, Gaius Domitus, one-eyed rebel dragon king of the Provinces, know that better than most, since I have to fight off half my ungrateful family on a regular basis to keep law and order here in my lands. But I never expected to have to consort with a barbarian human woman.

Kachka is beautiful, if you like them fierce—and of course I do. But she keeps complaining about how spoiled and decadent I am, and how a feared Daughter of the Steppes has no time for foolish dragons. I think she likes my eye patch, though. It is quite dashing. With death always at our tails, we take our passion like we take our allies. As they say, love the barbarian you’re with…

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

Feel the Burn is an entertaining fantasy novel centered around a human kingdom and its queen’s dragon allies.

The queen (who, by the way, is mated to a dragon) wants to stop the slaughtering of innocent priests at temples across her land. She enlists the help of a barbarian, Kachka.

Kachka rescues the Iron King, Gaius, during her travels because she knows he is allies with the queen she serves. After a while, Kachka gets back on track with hunting down those who are targeting the temples. Gaius focuses on finding a woman who had harmed his sister.

I had often seen the Dragon Kin series listed as paranormal romance. Even the blurb sounds very much like a romance. As you can see from what I have described, a big portion of the book has nothing to do with romance. Most of the book is about war, magic, and dragons. I was expecting something more like Vampire Diaries, and it ended up being more like Game of Thrones (not quite as disturbing as GOT). Still, there is a lot of violence and crude sex in the book, more than I expected.

To give you an idea about how much romance is in the story, I’ll tell you a little more… Kachka kisses Gaius at 23% into the story, but it isn’t a romantic kiss; it is one of gratitude. At 49%, Kachka and Gaius have sex. Later in the book, they have sex multiple times. It’s all very intense, but I wouldn’t really call it passionate. This is in part due to Kachka’s beliefs and personality. I don’t want to give too much away, so that’s all I will say.

To me, a romance requires some expression of emotion. That doesn’t happen in Feel the Burn. Although it’s not what I expected, it doesn’t bother me. I only say all this here to let you know not to think you’re going to get a love story. This isn’t that kind of book, at least not in the traditional sense. The romance develops slowly and takes place off and on in the larger context of the story about the kingdoms and their enemies. Of course, this is just my opinion. If you read Misty’s review after reading mine, you might think that we didn’t read the same book. She honed in on the romance, while I feel like that was such a small part of the whole story. It just goes to show that two people can read the same book and each take something entirely different away from it.

Zoya, a barbarian Rider who appears more like a giant, is cheerful and ignorant to the ways of the people outside of her tribe. This annoys Kachka greatly. Zoya’s inappropriateness was the source of a lot of smiles on my part.

I was very conscious of the narrator, especially in the first quarter of the book. I’m not a fan of jumping from one character’s head to another. Plus, I often felt like I was being told a tale rather than experiencing it myself.

Another problem some readers might encounter has to do with keeping all the characters straight. There are a lot of characters in the book. Although I thought the author did a good job of reminding the reader who is who, it was a little overwhelming at times.

On the other hand, a good thing about Feel the Burn was how well the story stood alone. I hadn’t read any of the previous novels, but I didn’t feel lost at all. G.A. Aiken gave me all of the information I needed to be able to understand the storyline and characters.

Originally from Long Island, New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken has resigned herself to West Coast living, which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Writing as Shelly Laurenston, she is also the creator of the wickedly funny Pride series for Brava.