Book: A Destiny of Dragons
Series: Tales From Verania #2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publication date: June 30, 2017
Length: 400 pages
Reviewed by Erin
Sequel to The Lightning-Struck Heart
Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.
Life is good.
Until it’s not.
Because Vadoma, the leader of the gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.
And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.
Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.
Where to even begin with the epicness that is A Destiny of Dragons? I suppose I could say it’s about an adventure. I suppose I could say it’s about magic. I also suppose I could say it’s about friends and family and the people you love standing by you no matter what lies ahead of you. And yes, A Destiny of Dragons is all of these things … but oh, man, is it ever so SO much more!
The thing you need to know most about A Destiny of Dragons is that of course all the absurd and hilariousness you'd expect in a book about wizards and hornless gay unicorns and half giants and knights with a delicious face is present and accounted for in spades, BUT this is a much different book than The Lightning Struck Heart. The same heart, the same irreverence is here, but, there’s a darker, heavier element not present in TLSH.
There is serious business afoot in Verania and Sam, of course, is at the heart of it all. It's a year or so after the end of TLSH and Sam and Ryan are blissfully happy and having lots of sex, Gary and Kevin are still inappropriate as always, Tiggy has his brooms and still wants to smash things, and Prince Justin is still just as bitchy as ever. Sam is still working on his Grimoire, even going so far as to include an ode to Ryan's penis, because, well, he's Sam and this is what he does. He's also learning more about his magic.
I was still only an apprentice. I was still only twenty-one years old. But I could do things that no one else could do. And even though I was sure all the stories spoken about me weren’t true, it would hopefully add to whatever legend of me they’d built in their heads. Morgan had taught me it was better to have people fear you a little than be indifferent toward you. I had never really understood what he’d meant until that moment.
So yeah, serious business, that becomes even more serious when Sam's mysterious gypsy grandmother, Vadoma, makes a sudden and unwanted appearance in Castle Lockes. Oh, she doesn't come alone and she definitely doesn't bring good news with her. You see, Sam has a destiny, one that's been written since before he was born. And boy, does Sam NOT want any part of it, no way, no how. To make matters worse, Sam finds out that Morgan and Randall have both been keeping important things from him and Sam is pissed and hurt and confused. But this is Sam of Wilds we're talking about so after a few temper tantrums, some deserved because holy cow, what's being asked of him is HUGE, he sets out on his journey. You know he's not going alone, though.
“Anyway,” Gary said. “This whole prophecy thing. Maybe it’s made up. Maybe it’s not. Maybe a star dragon did come out of the sky and tell your crazy grandma that you were going to be born and do some shit, or whatever it said.”
“Save the world from falling into darkness?” I said, trying not to be amused but failing miserably.
“Right,” Gary said dismissively. “Saving the world and stuff. Maybe it’s true and maybe it isn’t. But you know what is true?”
He looked right at me, eyes impossibly wide and glistening. “You’ll always have us by your side,” he whispered.
Really, is there anything out there that's as epic and amazing as Gary? I don't think so.
So this destiny business is hard. There's Sam's wily and evil (well, so far she is. Maybe this will change?) grandmother who believes that Ryan is NOT Sam's cornerstone. There's tension and anger between Morgan and Sam and Sam doesn't know quite how to deal with this. There's the nefarious Lady Tina stirring up all kinds of hoopla in Verania. A wolf (he's not really a wolf, but the enforcer and protector of Vadoma) who's hot and causes Ryan to act like a jealous fool—which is actually quite fun. There are sand mermaids which ummmm ... yeah, just wait until you get to THIS part! There's an emo dragon named Zero who is 14 and 1400 at the same time. And worst of all is the mysterious force that's at the root of Sam's destiny, the big, dark thing that Sam must face, even though he knows he's not ready. But again, this is Sam so you know he’s not going to back down.
“Sam,” he said quietly. “What are you going to do?”
When I spoke, my voice was strong, more so than I expected it to be. “I’ve got a douchebag monologuing villain whose ass I need to kick, a kingdom to save, and a godsdamned destiny of dragons to face. You can sure as shit bet I’m going to do everything I have to.”
Sam's magic is something else in Destiny; it's powerful and awesome, but still, maybe it's not enough to save the world. So yeah, our Sam is struggling. Good thing he has Ryan, who despite being an idiot at times, is the best person ever to be by Sam's side. Yes, Sam also has Gary and Tiggy, always, and Morgan, too, despite how angry Sam is it at him, but it's Ryan he needs above all else. Needs him to help control his magic which grows ever stronger and more chaotic and out of control. Needs his love and strength, his calm, and yep, even his penis. There is something though, something Sam has realized, about he and Ryan, and folks, it's a BIG thing. And it's going to be important down the road, I can feel it. I'm not sure what TJ is planning to do with this, but you can bet a million dollars that it's not going to play out how you think it will. (Sorry for the vagueness, but guys, you don't want spoilers for anything in this book!)
A Destiny of Dragons is not the ridiculous romp that The Lightning Struck Heart is, despite the many laugh out loud moments. Things are happening, things are changing, and Sam must confront forces both seen and unseen. He'll have Ryan by his side, so maybe, hopefully, Sam does the impossible and saves the world. We’re all just going to have to wait and see what the incredible and brilliant TJ Klune has in store for us. It's going to be one hell of a journey to get there, though, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
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