Review: Caged Warrior (Dragon Kings #1) by Lindsey Piper


Title: Caged Warrior (Dragon Kings #1)
Author: Lindsey Piper
Date of publication: 25 June 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Author's links:

My rating: 3 stars

I received an ARC of this book from Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via NetGalley.

Goodreads Blurb

The first installment in this fierce and sensual new paranormal romance series features demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a proud race on the brink of extinction.

Ten years ago, Audrey MacLaren chose to marry her human lover, making her an exile from the Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons once worshiped as earthly gods. Audrey and her husband managed to conceive, and their son is the first natural-born Dragon King in a generation—which makes him irresistible to the sadistic scientist whose mafia-funded technology allows demon procreation. In the year since her husband was murdered, Audrey and her little boy have endured hideous experiments.

Shackled with a collar and bound for life, Leto Garnis is a Cage warrior. Only through combat can Dragon Kings earn the privilege of conceiving children. Leto uses his superhuman speed and reflexes to secure the right for his two sisters to start families. After torture reveals Audrey’s astonishing pyrokenesis, she is sent to fight in the Cages. If she survives a year, she will be reunited with her son. Leto is charged with her training. Initially, he has no sympathy for her plight. But if natural conception is possible, what has he been fighting for? As enemies, sparring partners, lovers, and eventual allies, Leto and Audrey learn that in a violent underground world, love is the only prize worth winning.

My Review

Paranormal romance is not a typical genre for me and the only urban fantasy series I have read (I still haven't finished it) is the Karen Marie Moning Fever series, so Caged Warrior was a rather impulsive choice but I have no regrets reading it.

I enjoyed the book a lot. There is more to the tory than just paranormal romance. It creates a curious post-apocalyptic world where supernatural creatures (Dragon kings) are forced by human crime cartels to fight like gladiators while at the same time they are trying to save their race from extinction. 

The story followed the main characters, Leto and Nynn, on a journey of self-discovery that ultimately led them to coming together and fighting for their freedom. I very much liked that the focus in the book was on the characters' growth and their interactions with each other. 

I felt that both Leto and Nyn were very well developed as characters, they were complex and flawed but capable of change and I liked them both equally (which I have to admit rarely happens for me, generally I like either the Hero or the Heroine more). I rather enjoyed the inner turmoil they both had to undergo and I find it very engagingly represented. This for me was the biggest strength of the book.

The plot was rather engaging and there were a number of twists in it, which kept me on the edge, quickly flipping the pages over. I couldn't believe a number of things that happened to Nynn, some were scary, others downright revolting, yet they were well justified within the development of the book and fitted the plot. 

The main weakness for me was the writing style itself. There were times that I had to reread some sentences and whole paragraphs in order to understand them. At other times clipped, one-word sentences were used which didn't fit the story or the characters. 

I think the book would have also benefited from some more detailed world building. The readers were given just glimpses of the world of inhabited by Dragon kings and humans and the sections on the dealings in the Dragon world were rather sketchy. I hope that with the development of the series the paranormal element will be further developed. 

Overall I think this is a good start to a new NPR series and I am already eagerly waiting for the next book, Blood Warrior which is to be released on July 30.

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