Dragonfall by L.R. Lam – ARC Review!

Long ago, humans betrayed dragons, stealing their magic and banishing them to a dying world. Centuries later, their descendants worship dragons as gods. But the ‘gods’ remember, and they do not forgive.

Thief Arcady scrapes a living on the streets of Vatra. Desperate, Arcady steals a powerful artifact from the bones of the Plaguebringer, the most hated person in Lumet history. Only Arcady knows the artifact’s magic holds the key to a new life among the nobles at court and a chance for revenge.

The spell connects to Everen, the last male dragon foretold to save his kind, dragging him through the Veil. Disguised as a human, Everen soon learns that to regain his true power and form and fulfil his destiny, he only needs to convince one little thief to trust him enough to bond completely–body, mind, and soul–and then kill them.

Yet the closer the two become, the greater the risk both their worlds will shatter.

I was already a fan of Lam’s work, but this might just be my favourite book by them yet. Long ago Human’s betrayed Dragons and, though they may have no memory of it now, the Dragons have never forgotten. Arcady is desperate for a new life, where their past and family name can no longer catch up with them, and when they try something desperate to enact this, they change not only their own life, but that of one specific other. Everen is the last Male Dragon and has yet to live up to the prophecy surrounding his life, but one day he flies into a storm that seems to call to him and finds himself in the human world. These two should be enemies, and in Everen’s eyes they are, but the more time he spends with Arcady, the harder it is to reconcile this person with the Human’s who betrayed the Dragons eon’s ago. But his opinion matters little, the Dragons are determined to return to the human world and enact their revenge, Everen just has to be willing to sacrifice the one thing he’s come to care for to make it happen.

This book had an almost seductive nature about it, and I can’t explain what exactly it was that gave me that feeling, but from the first page I just found myself getting drawn deeper and deeper into the story until I found it impossible to put down. Lam’s choice to have their chapters switch, not only between differing POV’s, but also between tense & style was excellent and I found the shift to be a vital part of the plot. Not only do our POV’s show us similar events from differing views but we also get to read them in a present and past tense form which is incredibly rare, but something that I adored about this book. The writing style seemed incredibly different from Lam’s other books that I’ve read, but thanks to the switch in tense we got the best of both – the high octane and edge of your seat feeling from the present tense line, and the slow and seductive re-telling from the past.

Our two main POV’s are Arcady and Everen, two extremely different people, but also two people just trying to escape the lot life has given them and live up to their potential. Arcady is a thief, but they long to return their fallen families name to the honour it deserves and enact revenge on those who saw over their families fall from grace. They are not quick to trust, and someone who carries more than one secret that could see them killed by the ruling families, but they are not one to go down without a fight, and they have a plan. Everen is the last Male Dragon, prophesised to save Dragonkind from destruction, something he has yet to live up to. When he finds himself stuck in the Human world, he finds a fury within himself he didn’t know existed, something that intensifies when he realised that he has started to bond with one of them. Both of these characters yearn for a purpose, for a place to belong without the weight of expectations dragging them down, and when they start to open up and come to trust one another their decisions have the ability to change the world, they just have to decide whether it will be for the good, or for the bad.

Alongside our two main MC’s we get the perspectives of two vastly different characters. Sorin a sort of warrior priest whose role in the story is kept quite close to the vest and Cassia, Everen’s sister who has tasked him with opening the portals between the worlds so that Dragons can reclaim their home. These characters, and the parts they played in the story were so well developed and executed. Perfectly timed to add the right amount of tension & deliver the biggest impact to the story. Lam also treats us to a well built cast of side characters that make an impact despite not getting a POV, and through they show the hierarchy of both the Dragons and Humans, as well as how it’s not always those in charge that do the most good.

The Dragons in this book are both beautiful and terrifying and I would be equal parts desperate to meet them and see them in all their glory and absolutely terrified to see them in person. I do feel like the world building could have done with a tad more development, but I’m not sure if that’s more to do with my desperate need for knowledge when I enter new worlds, rather than an actual lack of information. One thing I adored though was Lam’s decision to make their world gender queer. In Vatra it was normal for people to choose their own gender, and no one was judged for their decisions. They even had their own almost sign language that allowed people to show their chosen gender and ensure that they don’t get misgendered. I loved this and just the normality that Lam showed with it, not making it a big deal, rather just the daily business of their world.

The romance was incredibly well executed and I think this was largely in thanks to the shift in tone and style with our two main POV’s. Through Arcady’s eyes we see them come together and watch them slowly start to fall for each other, no matter how forbidden or dangerous their love is. Whereas Everen is almost retelling their story from a past tense pov and he gives us deeper insight into his thoughts surrounding Arcady at the time as well as his desires and wants when it comes to them. The steam, the slow burn the fact that physical touch literally hurt them but they couldn’t resist one another just made their romance so incredibly swoon worthy, but I also adored how Lam allowed them to explore themselves and each other before inserting the romance. It wasn’t too fast, rather tortuously slow in parts, but allowing them that development just made the inevitable fall all that much better.

The ending of this book nearly broke me. I can’t believe I have to wait for over a year for the next book because I need it now! The story built and built to this inevitable ending, but we were never sure which way it was going to turn out and boy was I blown away by a certain plot point. Safe to say I will be getting my grabby hands on book two as soon as it’s out because i’m desperate to know what happens next.


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8 replies »

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this! I’m waiting for an ARC audio! Sounds like romance level I can handle and if you like it than I imagine I will.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a brilliant review. I loved the book although, like you, I did want more world building. I just so wanted to know about the events that happened before the story started and especially more about the dragon world. I’m definitely looking forward to the next instalment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! I was so desperate for information about the original battle between humans and Dragons, I feel like we got enough to get through the story, but I just wanted more. Definitely looking forward to book two though 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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