“The World Changes. Empires fall, oceans run dry … and little desert spirits rise up to challenge the great powers of the world.” – Amy Rae Durreson
Author: Amy Rae Durreson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 260
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: For a thousand years, since their defeat of the Shadow at Eyr, the dragons have slept under the mountains. Now their king, Tarnamell, has woken. Driven mad by loneliness, he hurls himself south until he finds and tries to claim the Alagard Desert. Unfortunately, the desert already has a guardian spirit, and he doesn’t want to share. Amused by the cocky little desert spirit, Tarn retreats, planning to return in human form.
When his caravan enters the desert, however, Alagard is missing. Rumors fly of a dark power, and soon Tarn’s caravan encounters the living dead and an amnesiac mage called Gard.
Forced to take refuge in the Court of the Shells, a legendary fortress in the heart of the desert, Tarn, Gard, and their allies decide to seek out the Shadow before it destroys the desert. But to confront the Shadow, Tarn needs to gather his strength. A dragon’s power depends on the love and loyalty of his human hoard, but Tarn’s original hoard has been dead for centuries. Before he can face his most ancient enemy, he must win the trust of new followers and the heart of a cynical desert spirit.
Review: Amy Rae Durreson has quickly put her stamp of ownership on the realms of M/M high fantasy and has done so in the most sublime way, weaving exquisite worlds from the threads of her imagination which are part magic, part inspiration, and one hundred percent enchanting.
Reawakening is what I’ve high hopes will be the debut novel in a series set in a world in which the dragon king Tarnamell has awoken from a centuries long sleep only to find himself the lone being of his kind, without a horde to give him the strength he derives from their love and loyalty, and facing an enemy that gains his strength from the darker side of human nature. Tarn aims to claim the Alagard Desert and its people as his own, but ends up with more than he bargains for when he discovers the desert has already been claimed and the one claiming it has no desire to owe allegiance to a giant lizard.
The way the author plays Tarn and Gard off each other is full of need and resistance and desire and resentment, with more than a little snark thrown in for good measure—it’s a contest of wills and patience and perseverance, and is a hero’s journey of a romance in which there’s more at stake than simply losing one’s heart to another. Love is a matter of life and death in this storybook land, and it all comes down to a battle of good and evil, a fight Tarn cannot possibly win without the ties that bind his heart to a horde.
The secondary characters are every bit as rich in personality as Tarn and Gard themselves; they are brave of heart and noble of spirit and are prepared to lay down their lives for the greater good, to live and love in the way they’re meant, and to overcome the prejudice of those who would try to stop them. In the tradition of all the best legends, there are faith and trust and love, which are a hero’s greatest treasures. In the tradition of all the best romances, there is lust and longing and the desire to belong to someone, not to be owned but to be beloved, which are the beginnings of an immortal love affair, and it’s a message Amy Rae Durreson delivers beautifully in a ballad that held me captive, start to finish, and left me wanting so much more in the end.