The Dragon Round by Stephen S. Power
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jeryon, captain of the Comber, is a strict, by-the-book man driven to bring the apothecary and the medicine they've sourced back home to plague-ridden Hanosh - until a dragon attack and a mutinous second mate sees both him and Everlyn cast out to sea on the captain's chance. Luck is with them and when the island they're marooned on gives them an additional surprise in the form of a rare baby dragon, Jeryon jumps at the chance of rescue - and revenge.
The Dragon Round is one of those books that grow on you.
It starts off slowly - almost too slowly - with its ponderous present tense. The subject matter is too practical - head hopping between the Captain, Jeryon, his first mate, Livion, and Everlyn, the apothecary - for Power to achieve the dream-like state I think he's trying to create, so you'll just have to slog through it until you get to the parts where it starts working.
It's on the island itself that Power constructs a thing of beauty. The dynamics between Jeryon and Everlyn are delicately balanced, giving it a rather sweet romance feel as they work through their racial, national and gender prejudices and learn to work together and trust each other as they struggle to survive.
The second half of the book, from Part Two onwards, is quicker paced - or maybe it seems so because you're already invested in Jeryon and his schemes. It continues to build, action upon action, all the way to its devastating end.
For devastating it is. You want to hate Power for what he's done, but something inside you tells you it's inevitable. Revenge is a cold, bitter poison - and that is what The Dragon Round is all about.
Note: I received a review copy of this book via Edelweiss.
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The Dragon Round releases on July 19, 2016. Get it HERE.