by Grace Draven
Series: Fallen Empire #2
Narrator: Katharine Lee McEwan
Length: 13 hours and 45 minutes
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups Speed: 1.3x
A dragon shapeshifter and a healer with power over the earth fight a corrupt empire in this thrilling and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.
Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it's far more than what it seems.
Dragas haven't been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They're wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him--unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.
Unbeknownst to both, the Empire's twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire's machinations and his own lethal birthright.
Dragon Unleashed, by author Grace Draven, is the second installment in the Fallen Empire series. While I didn’t love this audiobook as much as Phoenix Unbound I still delighted in the telling.
We are back in the Krael empire where magic is outlawed. Halani, born with the gift of earth magic, is a free trader in her uncle’s caravan. Her Uncle buys a piece of bone belonging to a dead draga, but Halani senses it is more. Most of the world believes the dragas are gone from this world, but they live among them disguised as human.
Meanwhile, Malachus is living on borrowed time. The magic that’s protecting him will soon turn on him. He must find a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders with an earth witch, who fascinates him.
I loved the city, the trade market and the way of life of Halani’s people. The story was slow-moving but slowly pulled me in. We learn another party is searching for the draga bone and that the Empress wants a draga of her own.
I enjoyed how Draven tied all the threads together as we moved closer to the heart of the Krael empire. The suspense built and the storyline pulled me in, particularly during the second half.
I liked Halani and adored her mother. Both have suffered hardships. We get to know key characters within the caravan and her harsh, conniving uncle.
When Malachus in injured, it is Halani who heals him. The romance was for me more subdued than the first book. While I enjoy a good romantic thread, it isn’t necessary for me and the world, supernatural aspects, and plot soon had me hooked. I fear that for some the slow burn will have them losing interest before it flames.
The second half is faster-paced as the romance develops and the dangerous villains make their moves. While I loathed the Empress, the Cat’s Paw surprised me. I still wasn’t happy with him, but understood. And the Uncle..bah. Don’t get me started!
While this didn’t hook me quite as deeply as the first novel, one thing is clear, Draven has created a vivid world. The world-building, magic, myths and magical items were impressive and unique. Magical elements and an item used by the cat’s paw were clever.
The climactic scenes as Halani and Malachus faced danger had me biting my nails, and Draven delivered an epilogue of sorts to wrap up their story.
Katharine Lee McEwan once again narrated and she brought distinct voices to the characters, in particular Halani and Malachus strengthening their points of view. Her tone and pacing enhanced the story and holding me captive even during the slower unfolding in the first half.
Fans of fantasy will be drawn to Dragon Unleashed.Wonderful world-building and a story that slowly drew me in made Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven a memorable listen. #JIAM #NewRelease #Fantasy #Romance Click To Tweet
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