Title: The Dragon Tamer
Author: Ana Bosch
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: fantasy, bitterweet
Length: 43 pages
Drake, a dragon master of the tamer clan, was barely a man himself when he saved the life of a youth burning with fever. Aedan, a fire mage, has dragon blood mingled with his own, creating such a tempestuous and volatile personality that it can literally burn him from the inside. Though Drake was able to calm the tumult enough to give Aedan a few years of peace, he knew that as the boy came of age, the fire in him would ignite once more.
When, years later, the effects of his fiery impulses force Aedan from the mage clan, his path crosses Drake’s again. Once more taming Aedan with a connection that joins them body and soul, Drake promises to protect Aedan forever—but he fears the day when “forever” might come to an end.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
“Let me tell you a story about the most powerful, most fearsome dragon I’ve ever tamed.”
This short, bittersweet tale starts out as if we are sitting at the storyteller’s knee. The narrator, Drake, belongs to the tamers, one of several warring clans, and he specializes in dragons. He encounters Aedan as a youth, burning up from the volatility of his dragon heritage; his father had bonded with a dragon, (this is in no way kinky, just non-Mendelian), and had a child with a fire mage, a dangerous combination. His dragon attributes manifest in his temperament, not as shapeshifting.
Aedan grows older and has a mage lover – both are ambitious and long to lead the mage clan, which brings them into armed conflict after a series of double crosses. Aedan ends up in Drake’s care again, and while they become lovers, safety is never assured, because Aedan is a wanted man in his home clan.
The story’s structure starts in first person, as Drake begins to tell his the story, but flips into a distant third person, at times omniscient view point, as we hear parts of the story that Drake could not have witnessed. POV isn’t entirely stable through this section, and it’s a relief to drop back into first person when Aedan is once again with Drake and his clan. The flipping is somewhat disorienting.
It’s not entirely stable that this is a tale of Drake’s personal pain, he doesn’t interject his thoughts or feelings into the part of the story that he must have known from Aedan’s tales, which puts considerable distance into the story. Still, the epic of mage against mage has to be part of the region’s history, although parts are very personal indeed.
So while there is some unclarity in the purpose of this tale and the world building is a bit infodumpish at the beginning, there is both an epic of love gone wrong and a new love found, a love and a sense of honor great enough to merit a great sacrifice. It’s worth a sniffle at the end.
The cover art is extraordinary even by Dreamspinner standards, very fitting to the story. 3 marbles