Readalong: Dragon Bound (Part One)
It’s not too late to get in on this action: Sign up post
The most important thing to know about Dragon Bound is there is no *actual* dragon sex. Maybe this seems obvious, but in this post-Taken by the Triceratops world, I make no assumptions (for more on THAT, read Bad Lit Makes the World Go Round’s live-blog summary, NSF work, life, etc.)
No, our hero is a shape shifter, and thus far, he wears his human form when he wants to get down. Of course, his human form is “bronzed” and “massive” and “corded with strength” and six foot eight, to be precise. But you know men, haha, I bet he’s only six foot six! Oh and by the way, romance novel writers, height and dick size are not as correlated as you’d have us believe (Source: A Legit Scientific Study, “Guys I Have Slept With, 1997-Present.”)
Size-issues aside, I don’t hate the book so far. I don’t love it, either, but I’m enjoying the read-along more or less. Dragon Bound is likely benefiting being compared – fairly or not – to the only romance/erotica novels I’ve read of late: Fifty Shades of Grey and The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. Both those gems feature underage virgin heroines (yes yes Ana is ostensibly 21 but come on, mentally she is about 13) who fall in insta-love with alpha-male types and feature sex scenes that are monotonous and of dubious consent at best. Dragon Bound‘s Pia at least displays some awareness of her sexuality in a non-giggling-teenager way, without having to attribute it to an “inner goddess.”
Speaking of sex, I must address the issue of consent in this novel. Rosemary and Reading Glasses addressed it rather well already, and perhaps due to the comparisons above, I’m less outraged than she is, I think. We are treated to two sex scenes in this first section. The first is sort of a dream sequence or hallucination (I think?) which made me a little more forgiving of all the throwing-down-on-the-bed action – I took it to not be “real,” though I’m not entirely sure. The second sex scene was “real” but was also really weird in first they have tons of time (for the sex), then suddenly they don’t, and first Pia seems not into it at all, then she seems very into it, then… not so much. Understand that my issue here is with plot and characterization, not with Pia being able to give and withdraw consent, because obviously she can, I’m just having a hard time understanding why they don’t just do it already. At this point, I’m hoping they DO get it on in the next section and I really hope it’s 100% consensual with no beguiling or whatever.
Now, as for the rest of it:
- As mentioned above, I’m on board with a heroine who is an adult and has something going for her apart from the men in her life.
- I like the pacing. The main thing that’s keeping me going is that we don’t really know WHY Pia was blackmailed into stealing from Dragos, and we don’t really know the extent of her powers, either. I was initially getting The Craft from her but now I’m getting a bit of Dark Angel, with the references to ass kicking.
- I like that there are secondary characters that have potential. Honestly Drago’s little helpers are more interesting that he is sometimes.
- Perspective. Other read-alongers have remarked on the fact that the perspective switches between first and third person without warning, often in the same paragraph. This is actually something I’ve noticed in a bunch of “commercial” fiction (for lack of a better word,) so much so that I’m wondering if it’s trendy to be telling a story in your standard third-person omniscient manner, and then, for no reason, start interjecting a bunch of throw-away phrases, like Fifty’s Shade‘s ubiquitous “oh my?” WHY? WHO LIKES THIS?
- Each read-alonger is picking out a few hate-sentences. Here’s mine, which seems rather benign by comparison: “He wasn’t by any stretch of imagination an expert on emotions, let alone female emotions.” This drive me nuts because first of all, I believe the expression is “any stretch of THE imagination,” but also, what the actual fuck is a “female” emotion? We have our own special emotions that are for girls only? Do tell. Oh, I know that he really means the way “females” express emotions, but that’s not what these words actually say.
- Related: Dragos referring to Pia as “female.” Reminded me of Murray from Clueless and his “woman, lend me five dollars” speech, for which I sadly cannot find a video, but, Dragos, you are no Murray, so quit it.
- The lady-parts that must not be named. So far we have a “juncture between (her) thighs, and my favourite, “the area that had grown wet in response to him.” Like, Harrison can throw around the F word with abandon, but she can’t say vagina, or any of it’s less clinical synonyms? (Just reread the first sex scene and she does use “clitoris” so I’ll give her props for that.)
- Oh, and just because everyone else is quoting this line, I’ll throw my two cents in: “Something lay stiff and heavy along her flat stomach. With a thrill of shock she realized it was an enormous erection.” Yeah so we get precise height measurements but now we just get “enormous?” Pfft.
- Here’s where I admit I don’t fully understand the plot. I was initially intrigued by how the books incorporated a bunch of mythical figures and concepts, but in practice, I find it’s a big mess. I don’t really get whether this is an alternate reality, or a near-future kind of thing, or even whether all these “desemes” are in the same world or whether each is it’s own dimension or what have you.
- Similar issue with the use of magic, and actually, I have this problem a lot, most recently with The Night Circus – it’s like, if you’re magic, why don’t you just use your magic to solve your problems? I guess I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the limitations and rules, which seem pretty arbitrary and chosen to serve the plot than anything else.
- What the HELL was going on with Pia’s boss, Quentin? I felt like he was basically mauling her while she was begging him to get out of her way. That whole scene was just so uncomfortable.
- And finally, the biggest WTF moment for me was when Pia could have gone off with the Elves and didn’t because….??? I mean, I know it’s supposed to be because she feels a connection with Dragos but it just didn’t feel authentic at all. Maybe a few chapters later, once they’ve been through some adversity, I could see it, but this scene fell totally flat for me.
Tune in next week for more hot & heavy action!