Firstly, I have to say that this is my favourite series of all times and the only one I keep reading and re-reading. I also have to say that as much as I love the series, I hate the covers. I put them here for the purposes of recognition but I really wish they would change to something classier or more suitable to the stories. I mean, look at them….
G.A. Aiken is Shelly Laurenston’s pseudonym for the Dragon Kin series, and that is how I started my love affair with her books. I discovered Dragon Actually by chance and after I finished it, I devoured the rest of the series. That was about two years ago so fortunately, most of the books were published already. Then I went searching and discovered a gold mine of books under Shelly Laurenston, so I devoured those as well. Since then, I survive on one or two of her books a year.
First of all, her writing is fun, so much fun. It has a very nice flow, characters are well developed, they live in a very interesting imaginary world and their interactions are fascinating. The world is so well described and developed that it would be easy to draw a map according to the descriptions from the books.
I have to warn you that there are some explicit situations and language in the books as well as abundance of violence. And tremendous amount of hilarious situations. The series currently contains eight books and four prequels. I hope there will be more. Each book focuses on a couple but with significant interactions with other characters and the underlying development of the situation in the world. Therefore, each book features a focus story and contributed to the overall development of the world the characters are living in. And some of the characters appear more than others, such as Annwyl the Bloody, Dagmar Reinholdt, and some of the dragons.
There are dragons who can assume human form when needed, there are humans, there are witches, and more, but what they all have in common is that they are all warriors. Each book features battles and negotiations for alliances, intrigues and back stabbing, as well as friendship loyalty and fighting for the common welfare. There is a lot of romance as well, however, it is more raw than sophisticated as are the characters. Each of the characters is skilled in his or her own way and they are all strong warriors or rulers or advisers.
This is one of my favourite series and I highly recommend it to the people who do not have a problem with explicit situations and violence.
Here is the reading order of this amazing series:
Prequel featuring Ailean and Shalin – Bercelak’s parents
Prequel featuring Addolgar, Bercelak’s older brother and Braith.
Prequel featuring Bram and Ghleanna, Bercelak’s sister.
Features the first story of Annwyl and Ferghus. Annwyl remains the main character through the series, Mad Queen of the Garbhan Isle.
This book also contains prequel Chains and Flames featuring the story of Rhiannon and Bercelak’s courtship. They are Ferghus’ parents and the ruling couple of the South. Rhiannon is the White Dragon Queen of the South.
Features the story of the Nolwenn witch Thalaith and Briec, Ferghus’ brother. Here we also meet Izzy, Talaith’s teenage daughter who is an amazing character.
Features the story of The Beast of the Northlanders, Dagmar Reinholdt and Gwenvael, Ferghus’ brother.
Features the story of the dragon from the Northlands,Ragnar and Keita, Ferghus’ sister. It was not one of my favourite books in the series but it holds some parts of the underlying plot, so I would not recommend skipping. These two characters are just not as interesting as the others, but are important to the overall story.
Featuring Vigholf and Rhona. This was a fun book although these two charaters are not as important to the story as some of the other characters. This book also sets foundations for the next book.
Finally, there is a book featuring Eibhear, Ferghus’s youngest brother & Izzy, Talaith’s daughter. This story has been brewing for several books, and if I am being honest, I read it before the previous one. i just couldn’t wait. It was a mistake as I missed some important parts of the plot.
Featuring Celyn, Eibhear’s cousin and Elina Shestakova of the Black Bear Tribe of the Midnight Mountains of Despair in the Far Reaches of the Steppes of the Outerplains. Yes, all of that is Elina’s name. Now imagine how much fun was this book. The dialogues were absolutely hilarious.
And the latest book featuring one-eyed rebel dragon king of the Provinces Gaius Domitus and & Kachka Shestakova of the Black Bear Tribe of the Midnight Mountains of Despair in the Far Reaches of the Steppes of the Outerplains, Elina’s sister. This was one of the best books in the series and also most fun. If the dialogues in the previous book were funny, in this book they were even better.
This book features Branwen the Awful, Brannie for family, Ghleanna’s daughter and Izzy’s best friend, as wel as Aidan the Divine, Eibhear’s brother in arms as one of Mi-runach. Similarly to the sixth book, this book has a slightly darker atmosphere, but the story is equally gripping as all the previous books.
Morfyd, white dragon witch and Ferghus’ sister who we meet in the first book and Brastias, Annwyl’s right hand man did not get their own book, but their story spans throughout all the eight books. This is a nice on the one hand but on the other hand it is a pity, because they are really an interesting couple and I wish they got at least a short story.
Without Giving spoilers, there are some interesting recurring characters such as Brigida the Foul, twins Talan and Talwyn, and Rhianwen, who we meet throughout the books.
I have read most of the books in the series several times, especially books featuring Annwyl, Dagmar and Kachka. Those are my favourite characters and I can’t get enough of them. They just improve my mood and make me laugh, especially Kachka Shestakova of the Black Bear Tribe of the Midnight Mountains of Despair in the Far Reaches of the Steppes of the Outerplains – yes that is her full name. She is one of the best characters the author ever thought of. I honestly hope that there will be more stories and more books.