Title: Enter the Dragon
Author: Jamie Sullivan
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 15,500 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, The Bestiary Collection, Interspecies, Mating, Magic, Dragons
Rating: Pretty Good
Since a ceasefire was called on the Dragon Wars, dragons and humans have lived in an uneasy partnership. To help humans understand dragons and prepare future dragon trainers, the Academy was created. Jac Conway is an eager student, long enthralled with all things dragon. But even he, with all his hopes and ambitions, never dreamed of just how close to them one night would bring him …
I thought I knew what to expect with this story, but I was wrong. I always love to read stories and dragons or dragon shifters and I always make sure to snatch them up. I was surprised then, to see the very different type of dragon story this was, and it goes well in The Bestiary collection from Less Than Three Press, because it shows a different sort of dragon that I’ve yet read in m/m fantasy.
Jac has always been fascinated by dragons. Raised by a father that feared him choosing to become a trainer because they’re the only family they have and it is such a dangerous job, he nevertheless allows his son to attend the academy. Once there, Jac proves himself to be a dedicated, yet also exceedingly curious student, always asking questions that the professors do not like to answer. The question that sets off his experience with the dragons refers to their mating habits, which is a closely guarded secret. He finds that answer, however, when a group of older boys seek to play a prank on him and lead him to the caves during mating season — a fortuitous event that leads to a whole new understanding of the dragons for Jac, and maybe sets out a clear direction for his future as a trainer.
Like I said before, I was at first surprised to find that the dragons in this story and the mythology and world surrounding them are so very different from what I’m used to reading. I was then excited to read how the story unfolded, and I ended up really enjoying the story, more for it’s creativity I think, than enjoyment in the romance. I suppose it was somewhat difficult for me to naturally accept the pairing (and you’ll understand if you read the story, because the dragons are definitely animals). But, I did understand and like Jac and Bryn together, though I had to think about it at first. It is a pairing that really leads you to think about different types of relationships where fluidity is in place (gender, species, etc., whether in real life, or of course fiction) and consider your true feelings. My uneasiness made me uneasy, when I thought about it (even though it is an interspecies union, it is still fiction), but which I ultimately understood and came to terms with.
Some of that could have been alleviated, I think, with better balance in the story. It seemed weighted toward the beginning and light on the ending, when I felt the real story, what was interesting, wasn’t the mundane setup and information about the school, etc, but the actual dragons and their nest. The relationship itself doesn’t really come into fruition, or at least enough that we get to see much of their interaction until the epilogue, and it made me wish that there was a plot line in the story aside from the romance that was better explored (perhaps the magic), because I would have liked to see Jac and Bryn work together.
In all though, this story captivated my imagination and gave me a side of dragons that I wasn’t expecting, and for that I enjoyed this story very much!