Dragon Blood, book 7.5
Category: science fiction and fantasy, speculative fiction, epic fantasy, steampunk
Release Date: January 20, 2016
Format: advance review ebook (eARC)
My Rating: 3 Stars
An elite forces officer with a dreadful reputation. A bookish paleontologist with a love for mysteries. An ancient stronghold full of secrets that will take both of them to unearth.
Professor Lilah Zirkander (yes, she’s related to the famous pilot, and no, she can’t get him to autograph your undergarments) is looking forward to a summer in the paleontology lab, researching and cataloging new fossils. But that summer takes an unexpected turn when the king sends her into the Ice Blades to a secret mine where ancient dragon bones have been discovered. Rumor has it that they’re cursed and dangerous, but Lilah is more concerned about dealing with the outpost commander, a fierce officer with the temperament of a crabby badger.
As punishment for irking the king, Colonel Vann Therrik is overseeing the hardened criminals working in the remote Magroth Crystal Mines. He would like a chance to redeem himself—and escape the loathsome duty station—but nothing is going his way. Cursed fossils have delayed production, miners are trying to escape, and now a scientist has shown up, making demands on his time. Worse, she’s the cousin of his nemesis General Zirkander. As if one Zirkander in his world wasn’t bad enough.
Investigating the fossils leads Lilah and Vann into the depths of Magroth Mountain where centuries-old secrets lurk, and a long-forgotten threat stalks the passages. To have any chance at survival, they’ll have to work together and perhaps learn that neither is what the other expected.
Shattered Past is exactly what I have come to expect from the imaginative mind of Lindsay Buroker. Buroker provides a new stand-alone story set in the fantastical Dragon Blood world which her fans have come to love during its seven-book long adventures. It is a world populated with ingenious, snarky, and brave soldiers and civilians alike. Reading one of Buroker’s stories is like sitting down with your globe-trotting adventurous best friend and catching up on her exciting life.
Shattered Past may exist in the same world but it is not a continuation of the story per-se. Buroker takes an opportunity to explore previously minor characters more fully. The focus of Shattered Past is Colonel Vann Therrik. If you’ve read the Dragon Blood series you have been introduced to him and you may dislike him, at least a bit. (Don’t worry if you haven’t read those books….all of his aspects are well scrutinized here). Therrik’s cranky, he’s full of muscle and pride, he has a tendency to pummel anyone that he can, he’s a rake, and he has serious anger management issues.
Buroker provides us with a foil to Therrik’s hard edges in a new character, a scientist. A Zirkander scientist at that. Lilah, the new Zirkander is a treat. She is a different brand of Zirkander but just as confident and capable. A less pompous female Zirkander (don’t get me wrong though…. I love the pompous male Zirkander). It is humorous to see her effect on Therrik.
There are also characters with fun names like Sleepy and Boxcar and we get to spend a bit a bit more time with returning explosives loving Kaika. On the downside, I am noting that the characters are starting to become quite monotonous. They all share the same sense of humor, ardor, and general disrespect for authority. Their exteriors are different but the core of the characters are merging together.
Shattered Past throws into the Buroker catalog new romance, definitely new tension, more intrigue, and of course more snarkiness. The major downside is the continual need to warn my fellow Christians that there is serious and continuous action and discussion of "bedroom activities ". The mention of a threesome with a dragon was nausea inducing. This is Buroker's style. I can't fault her for that. You just need to be aware.
I have consistently given Buroker's books 4 stars but I have dropped Shattered Past down to 3 because of the threesome discussion and the increasingly monotonous characters.
As a reviewer for Lindsay Buroker, I was given a pre-release copy of this book for my honest and unbiased opinion.