Title: The Dragon’s Tamer
Author: Megan Derr
Length: 10,300 words
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: m/m fantasy romance
Summoned to the royal palace by the King, Alaith spends his days either handling the dragons that plague the kingdom, or holed up in his lonely tower. Unusual in appearance, manner, and his method of taming dragons rather than slaying them, his only distractions from his painfully outcast state are caring for the tamed dragon who resides with him, and admiring the handsome Lord Trey—and arguing with the infuriating Prince Rythe.
Alaith is a Plainsman who has been brought from his homeland to serve the king as a dragon handler. He’s deemed a strange man and an outcast and so is banished to live in the far tower of the castle, out of the way. Prince Rythe, who Alaith finds supremely irritating, arrives with his friend, Lord Trey, and asks Alaith to accompany them to where a black dragon is causing trouble. On the way, things don’t quite turn out as planned.
I have to admit, I liked Alaith a great deal. He’s a grumpy so and so who obviously has a huge crush on Rythe but refuses to admit it, even to himself. This means that he picks up on all the irritating things about the prince, in particular his tendency to smugness and outrageous flirting. As the story continues so does Alaith’s opinions of Rythe until by the end he is focused on the good. Neither man particularly changes in the story, their perspectives change instead. I thought that was rather cleverly done.
Another part I liked a great deal was the good-natured sniping and teasing dialogue between Alaith and Rythe. No matter how much Alaith tries to push Rythe away, Rythe manages to come back with a witty remark which keeps them talking. As well as the verbal jostling there’s physical oneupmanship too and there were some amusing scenes with pushing and shoving which made me smile.
The story itself is another one of those Megan Derr fantasies which manages to cram in a whole load of setting in and around a string romantic storyline. The setting wasn’t as complex as some of her stories, with the main theme being around the dragons and the way they are treated, the role of magic in society, plus some detail about Alaith as a Plainsman (similar to Native American tribes). This meant that more time was spent with the main characters which I felt was a good thing.
My only real niggle was that the ending was a little rushed and the main action scene at the end seemed a little too easily done. However, this wasn’t enough to spoil my enjoyment too much.
As far as I’m aware this is a one off fantasy, rather than a spin off from one of the author’s series and I’d recommend it to those looking for a fantasy quickie with a couple of engaging characters.