We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Mage versus dragon, a most unlikely hostage situation.
The unexpected contemporary setting threw me for a loop. I generally have problems believing in supernatural elements hiding in plain sight and the plot lines of hiding tend to get boring fast, but here it's more a secret enclave within today. In fact, Merrick and Halym go about their lives without a care or pretense so the setting fades into the background unacknowledged.
Halym's character was draconic: bored, unimpressed with lesser magical beings, and self contained due his longevity. He tended to be less the burn to ash and more the 'aren't your actions amusing' sort of dragon. He seemed to play along because he found a toy. Can't begrudge a guy a diversion every century or so.
Merrick on the other hand was immature. Very much so once his age becomes apparent. His self-imposed isolation explains a lot of it, but still... there's other things. The story makes one claim and Merrick's actions don't really reflect it. He's not the pure hearted, good man Halym professes. While Halym doesn't seem to mind Merrick's interference into his life and the subsequent clumsy actions after his annoyance wears off doesn't absolve him of his transgressions.
Compelled sex, while not completely undesired was still a bit squicky. This was done innocently, but still I'm not feeling sympathy for an extortionist and dub con rapist who has an emotional crisis the morning after and attempts to shift the blame. Of course, what's decades in maturity compared to millennia. Halym has patience enough for all of Merrick's stupidness and then some.
So the transition between captive and lover while tame and masquerading as acceptable since the perceived balance of power always lies in Halym's hands doesn't make Merrick innocent. Cute story with an emotional sweetness that when one ignores the reality of the Merrick and Halym's relationship start is entertaining. For me personally, I really get disturbed when something insidious is represented as sweet.
Overall, like an arsenic laced tea cake--charming with a disturbing undertone
“There’s no practical use for it,” Halym countered, “and even if there was, it’sboring.”