So, I feel like I need to preface this with a confession. Something along the lines of "Hello, my name is Jules. And I'm a dragon-holic." One of the very first series I read when I was little was the first set of Dragonlance books. And right from the great big dragon who could shrink down small enough to be kept in a pouch I was hooked!
This book not only had a dragon shifter, but that dragon was a historian of dragons! So all throughout the whole book both my little 13-year-old dragon fangirl self and my slightly-more-mature history-buff self took turns squeeing with glee.
I was fascinated by the dragon lore that was shared. It seems like just about every culture famous for dragon stories was covered: Asian dragons, European dragons, and the fantastic depth we got into with the Welsh dragons! The stories that Bertie would share with Arthur about the dragons and his theories had me spellbound, and the story he left on the flash drive for Arthur to read about the dragon and his boy who convinces his village to save the dragon rather than kill him had me in tears!
Bertie himself was a fantastic character. I loved how captivated Arthur was by him, because then he just gave me more and more detailed descriptions. The name totally cracked me up, especially in their first meeting when Arthur thinks about him for a moment as Phil the Dragon.
Arthur was delightful, and the perfect narrator for this story. His honest astonishment that Bertie might care for him was endearing, as was his total obliviousness to everything that Bertie found appealing.
I do love stories with slow-burning romances, so this absolutely worked for me, but I definitely understand that it might not be for everyone. It worked well enough for me, actually, that by the time they finally find their way past all of their reasons for not being together, their desperate need for each other and the perfection of how well they belonged together literally had me in tears.
Beautiful story, beautifully told. This is one I look forward to being able to come back to time and time again when I need a good dose of dragon-y goodness or a nice comfort read.
Some favorite quotes:Facts were steady, even if they could change. It was why he liked learning and why he picked a major that left him surrounded by books. Facts were calming.
Treasure really was, in his sister's words
srs bsns to dragons.
Arthur was imagining the innuendo in everything. Even "organize my spices" sounded dirty to him at the moment.
"Because.... Because I wouldn't hurt you for worlds."
"A Being and a dragon, Arthur. They're different and they have different rules and you don't even know the human ones."
"At the risk of sounding like a fairy, you, my darling boy, are quite shiny."
"And I am quite certain they lived happily ever after, though the story doesn't say. Dragon tales rarely do, either because they feel the happy ending is implied or because they don't feel one was truly possible and don't wish to say. Personally, I prefer to believe in those two."
"The bond between a dragon and its beloved, particularly when it chooses a human to love, is without a word in any tongue, ancient or modern. In fact, the dragons were convinced that to name it would be to cheapen it, for it was beyond value and to define it as we might attempt to do today would destroy it."
frightening and intense and amazing. Deathly good and terrifying at the same time.
"I haven't frightened you, have I? I didn't mean to this time. But you kissed me, you see."
Arthur had kissed him. And Bertie reacted like he'd been waiting for it for a long, long time.
Grovelly was a word Bertie had used once, and Arthur made a vague note to himself to let Bertie use it whenever he wanted; the publisher could deal with it if it wasn't a real word. It felt real enough to him. He'd do anything to make it up to Bertie, anything at all to make him happy.