(Cover picture courtesy of Amazon.)
Kal was not a thief. He certainly did not intend to steal any dragon’s treasure.
He was an adventurer. Avid art collector. Incurable wealth adjuster and risk-taker. Kal had legendary expertise in the security arrangements of palaces and noble houses the world over. He hankered for remote, craggy mountaintops and the dragon hoards he might find hidden beneath them. Besides, what harm was there in looking? Dragon gold was so … shiny.
Most especially, he was not planning for any treasure to steal him.
That was a little awkward, to say the least.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.]
Dragon Thief starts with our loveable rogue Kal foolishly trying to steal a dragon’s horde and finding a gorgeous, naked woman amongst the treasure. What’s a rogue to do? Does he rescue her as well or is this some sort of trap set up by the dragon? What could a dragon possibly want with some random woman? Well, as Kal finds out there’s more to the woman than meets the eye because the woman, Tazithiel, is a Shapeshifter. And although she’s not happy about a thief in her hoard, things take an interesting turn and the two work out a mutually beneficial truce that turns into a friendship, then something more.
Both Kal and Tazithiel have problematic pasts and both have huge trust issues. Kal has trust issues by virtue of his chosen profession while Tazithiel has a horrific past filled with abuse because of her shapeshifter status. Yet they come together with a fascinating goal: to find out what’s on the other side of the 25 league tall mountains that encircle the Island World. Is there a world beyond there containing something other than islands surrounded by poisonous clouds? What manner of creatures live beyond the Rim-Wall Mountains? Obviously Kal and Tazi’s journey isn’t as straightforward as they’d like, but they do find answers in an interesting way by the end of the book.
Marc Secchia has brought his trademark painstaking care to world-building once again. Not only do we learn so much more about various islands and cultures within the Island World, we learn a lot more about dragon lore and the fate of Aranya and the Sylakian Empire. There are also more technological innovations than we saw in any of the previous books because Dragon Thief takes place 311 years after Aranya, which was the most recent book in the Island World’s long timeline. I don’t want to give away too much, especially if you’ve read the previous books in the same world, but let’s just say some things have changed tremendously while others will never change. Especially people/dragons.
While the beginning is a bit slow after Tazithiel decides not to eat Kal on the spot, the beautiful writing style keeps things interesting as the two new lovers work out their issues. After that, the plot speeds up quite a bit because dragons aren’t exactly the kind of creatures that are welcome everywhere in the Island World. And once Kal introduces Tazi to some of his friends and associates…let’s just say things get interesting as Tazi discovers a whole difference side of our thief. Best of all, throughout the book there is Marc Secchia’s trademark humour that had me quite literally laughing out loud at some points. So while there are some pretty heavy themes in Dragon Thief, it’s not all doom and gloom.
Although there’s no official sequel set, the ending is satisfying yet leaves a little wiggle room if Secchia wants to continue the story of Tazithiel and Kal. Their actions have some very fascinating implications for our Island World and I can’t wait to see what he does with the new revelation about the Rim-Wall Mountains.
If you haven’t read any of Marc Secchia’s dragon books, Dragon Thief is a great place to start. It’s funny and touching, fast-paced yet with plenty of character development and there is some incredible world-building going on here. And if you’re already a fan like I am, Dragon Thief is a great installment in the overall story of the Island World. It builds on what we’ve seen and learned in previous books and introduces us to both an old friend and a whole new cast of characters to love. You really can’t ask for more.
I give this book 5/5 stars.
*Not available until Decmber 12, the release date.
Like all of Marc Secchia’s dragon books, you don’t really need to read this one in a particular order. However, it does help if you read the books in order of publication because of certain minor spoilers that crop up. Here’s my current recommended reading order:
- Aranya (Shapeshifter Dragons #1)
- The Pygmy Dragon (Shapeshifter Dragon Legends #1)
- Shadow Dragon (Shapeshifter Dragons #2)
- Dragonfriend (Dragonfriend #1)
- Dragonlove (Dragonfriend #2)
Like I said, you don’t have to read all of these books before Dragon Thief but they will certainly give you a greater appreciation of all of the mythological references contained within the book. For example, there are references to the Pygmy Dragon, Hualiama and Aranya. They’re easy to figure out in the context of the book but again, you’ll have a greater appreciation of just how intertwined Secchia’s various series are and how rich the mythology he’s created is if you do. With that said, if you’ve read the first two Shapeshifter Dragon books you may want to wait until the third is out because there are some minor spoilers in the references to Aranya throughout the book. And of course the very existence of dragons is a bit of a spoiler considering how dire Aranya’s situation is at the end of Shadow Dragon.