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The Black Dragon by Allyson James
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's review
Sep 11, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: paranormal
Read in November, 2007

4.5 stars
The story of Malcolm and Saba started in Dragon Heat as a subplot but one with a real potential and this potential was certainly met beyond expectation in their own book.
I just love it when expectations created in a first book of a series are adequately met in the following installment and Allyson James did just that with this book.
In book 1 of the series we meet both Malcolm and Saba and you just feel the have a story between them that, if well-written, will have a great impact on you.

Despite the fact that there is a lot going on in the book like the introduction of a new "type" of dragon (the white dragon), murders, magic and a lot more it was never chaotic or hard to follow.
It was action-packed, magical, sensual with humans, witches, dragons, both good and evil. And next to a wonderful love story full of sensuality that survives time, space and species, you also receive a vast amount of knowledge on Japanese and Chinese traditions and culture, computer programming and database knowledge.
This combination of both mystical and mundane things at the same time was perfectly balanced which made it a pleasure to read and a real keeper for me.

Both Saba and Malcolm are complex and layered characters. The connection between them is very intense and strong and one they both can't escape as much as they try to.
Especially Malcolm who is an extremely powerful and intelligent dragon. So mathematical and dispassionate to the point he analyzes and calculates everything including his love for Saba, which is something that can't be analyzed. He is used to everyone obeying him without difficulty or questions and he is fascinated by Saba who resists his mark and control.
Saba is a witch more powers than she would imagine and she is much stronger than she thinks. Her insecurity leads her to doubt herself and her love for Malcolm shows her that she is powerful in her own ways.
The secondary characters are a special and nice addition to Saba and Malcolm. There is a distinction between more and less important secondary characters. This distinction leads my speculations to new heights wondering which characters will have their own book in future installments of this series. I'm really hoping for a book for Axel, the intriguing, witty demon-god with a great sense of humor.
Of course Lisa and Caleb make an appearance and have an important role in the unraveling of some subplots. It was lovely to see how they were doing after their own book. The interactions between Malcolm and Caleb were as witty as in book 1. They are both territorial dragons and their bantering shows this in a real funny way. But still when necessary they will work together to save their loved ones.

Allyson James has a way with plots that are able to draw you into a world so life-like and realistic despite the magic and fantasy. Almost making me believe these worlds she creates are really out there somewhere.
The plot kept me glued to the pages. Fast-paced, fascinating and well written. Every turn in the plot stirring up more angles and questions leading up to a climax in which every piece of the puzzle falls into the right place. Entwining several subplots into one major plot with ease and simplicity.
Her writing style is a delight to read, making complicated and unfamiliar concepts clear and easy to take in.
Her skills in world building are amazing were dragons and witches are concerned. With The Black Dragon she has layered and deepened the series and I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment in this enchanting dragon-series.

Allyson James is masterfully skilled in creating this world that takes you away for many enjoyable hours, regretting it when the book comes to an end because you want to stay in this magical and mystical world of witches, dragons, humans, gods, evil, sacrifice and love. All I can say is: sit back, relax and enjoy this magical ride to the fullest!

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