Title: Breaking the Shackles (Dragon’s Hoard #2)
Author: Mell Eight
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 27k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Shifters (Wolf & Dragon), Magic, Multiple Romances, Twin Brothers (not Twincest), Mate Bonding, Alphas
Rating: So So
Separated and abused by the magi, twins Laine and Baine each swore to do whatever it took to break free and save the other. But when Baine arrives at the werewolf village prepared to rescue Laine and return home triumphant, he soon learns that any plan involving a dragon and a werewolf is bound to go awry.
This is definitely a light, comfort read, even more than the first book which introduced more of the world as the first book. Also, this short novella was split between two romantic couples as each pair of a twin falls in love with one of the shifters, wolf and dragon of the new alliance. So overall, I found the story rather superficial, without time to form any sort of plot or get into the characters, since the story relied heavily on the mating bond trope.
After the end of the first book the human castle is left in shambles from the fight with the Magi. When the last Magi was killed the dragons and wolves found a young human man whose scent immediately caught the attention of the Alpha wolf, Reese. Breaking the Shackles is his story, and his twin brother’s, Baine. Born as Maji, not to be confused with Magi, the race of creatures that tried to subjugate the humans in the first book, the Maji are the receptacles of magic that shared a symbiotic relationship with the Magi. Once up on a time the Maji offered their magic to the Magi (who had no magic of their own) in order for their protection. In recent years, however, the Magi enslaved the race of the Maji to forcibly steal their magic.
Laine and Baine were taken from each other in their teen years. They’ve spent a few years apart, Laine waking up in a new type of slavery (or so he thinks) among the wolves, and Baine freed a couple years before and searching all this time for his brother. Their parents are waiting for him to return with his brother; now that the Magi have been killed, there is a vacuum of power where the Maji’s society is, and their family and others are clamoring to become the leaders of the people. When Baine finds his brother, he isn’t too happy to see that Laine might be falling for the wolf who has claimed him, and equally upset by the green-haired dragon that keeps following around calling him pretty and shiny.
I laid out my main difficulties with this story above and for the most part they are the same ones I had with the first book, only compounded by the extra relationship and less time for the story. All the problems I had with it ultimately relate to that. The way that it manifested was mostly in two ways. First, there just wasn’t time for the relationships to get off the ground. Basically, they meet, they bond, and the story is over. For Baine and Dean (the dragon) there is a little more between the steps, concerning Baine’s jealousy of Laine’s relationship with another man when he just got him back and his feelings of duty to return to his family. Mostly, however, what bothered me was there wasn’t time to set up the proper background of Laine and Baine’s family, which directly relates to the end of the story and the perceived threat the werewolves feel. The ending and the issues with their family seemed to come completely out of the blue. Previously in the story we only hear that they both feel some varying level of responsibility to return to their family, but very little about the family themselves, or even more than just a couple paragraphs about the structure of magical slavery the Maji were subjected to. It gave the ending very little impact.
If you’re looking for a short and sweet dragon- and wolf-shifter series then this book and it’s prequel will suffice, but it isn’t the best. I was a little disappointed by this book even though I knew, roughly, what to expect, so I’m not entirely sure I’ll read the next book and I probably wouldn’t recommend them unless you want something cute and mindless.