Tessa Dawn is a fairly prolific writer, and as a result she usually finds herself penning series rather than standalone novels. With Dragon’s Realm she has broken that pattern and allowed it to stand on its own, although the incredible reception from her fans may have both her and her publisher wondering about whether that was the right decision.

Dragon’s Realm tells the story of a wildly disproportionate conflict, a David and Goliath story that is written with the hybridized trappings of both gothic romance and dark fantasy (although some readers may be right to question whether or not they’re one and the same in Dawn’s writings). Mina Louvet is a strong-willed woman, but due to some accident of birth she has been identified as a worthy candidate for enslavement in the home of the dragon king.

She’s kidnapped from her family as a child, and raised knowing nothing other than slavery – but her will is not so easily broken, even by one as powerful as the king must be. Dante Dragona, eldest son of the dragon king himself, is brutal, terrifying, and utterly ruthless, but always extremely calculating. Naturally, the two are thrown together and sparks fly, but only tangentially the romantic kind, for as their wills clash and grind together, the sparks may turn out to set the very kingdom on fire with a revolution.

For any fan of Dawn’s previous work, Dragon’s Realm will not disappoint, and for those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading her richly detailed characters and immersive world-building, a whole new pleasure awaits. Endless plot twists and turns will have you unable to put the book down, and you may even find yourself shouting in surprise as characters suddenly turn your every assumption upside down just to give them a good shake.

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