by Summer Devon, fantasy (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-667-1
The Knight's Challenge is set in an alternate version of present day Earth where there are dragons living among humans, not always peacefully of course. In New England, a dragon named Sarkany has done enough to own pretty much every other building in town. He's like the man who owns the town, only this man happens to be a dragon in human form. Miranda Benson is a member of a guild that goes way back to the days when knights hunt dragons down and keep the heads as trophies. Apparently she's been a nuisance where Sarkany is concerned, which leads to a meeting of those two.
Miranda proposes a challenge where he will give away all his material possessions and live like a common fellow to prove that he's not just a greedy fellow. If he fails, he'll leave town for good. If he succeeds, he wants her as part of his "treasures".
I like what Summer Devon is trying to do here and to an extent I find this story a quaint and amusing one. However, it is very apparent that Miranda is way out of her league when it comes to matching brainpower with Sarkany. He's humoring her, it's obvious. The fact that the heroine is hopelessly outmatched by the hero from the get go makes this story less entertaining than it could have been. Miranda is such a silly putz in Sarkany's presence that I wonder how jaded and bored the dragon has to be to consider taking this woman as his mate.
There's also the issue of Miranda at first acting like she's not keen on dragons only to very easily succumb to her lust to Sarkany. Then again, considering that I already suspect that she's not really all together upstairs...
But there is another greater issue at work here. Maybe it's just me, but Sarkany is a real dragon. Scales, fangs, and who knows how big he really is. Therefore, I find myself taken aback when he decides to have Miranda. And change her into a dragon. I suppose dragons can look cool especially when they are all shiny and what-not in the sunlight and things could be worse - Sarkany could have been a llama instead of a dragon, for example - but really, did I mention that Sarkany is a real dragon? Who's been known to gobble up a few humans as snacks in the past?
I suppose I can imagine that there are some people out there who will feel desire upon looking at a scaly reptilian dinosaur thingie. That doesn't mean I can make myself buy the romance here though.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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