Dragon Blood by Eileen Wilks
Lily and Rule have been taken from hell into the Dragon home world to continue their hunt for the Tom Weng, the dragon spawn, and their rescue of the missing lupi children. Lily becomes captive in the city center while a severely injured Rule must make his way from the outer edges of the world to her.
My Rating: 4 stars for the series overall
Why I chose this novel: This is novel 14 of the world of the lupi. I remember reading this series the first time and really liking Lily as a strong character who could manage to be a love interest without becoming cliched or bending to her lover. So I reread this series looking for a strong character.
The characters are still solid and interesting on reread, but unfortunately I had forgotten that the characters slowly give up their careers because of their lives as a couple. That Lily, whose core is a police officer, gives up her homicide and then FBI career because of lupus issues makes her less strong. She never planed to be part of the lupi world and was dragged into it. By book 10 or so, Lily is working on lupi issues that she then uses her authority as FBI for or ignores the FBI in favor of the Shadow Unit so that she can continue working on lupi issues. She is no longer a police officer. She’s lupi with police authority. That’s frustrating to me.
However, the characters in this series have not fallen into the romance only trap. They still have full lives with concerns that go beyond each other’s emotional issues. There are themes of love, grief, developing relationships after the first blush, family discord, raising children, and balancing lives. Yet, the emotional stuff does not interfere with the plots. That balance and character growth across the series is still well done and intriguing.
The plots also vary enough this is not a series of repeats. There have been a lot of kidnappings by evil bad guys (by elves, chimeras, dragons, and demons) but there are also new elements and a variety of resolutions so the plots don’t feel too similar. For instance, the kidnapped children, which forced Lily and Rule into hell and eventually into dragonhome, is not resolved by negotiating with dragons like the time in hell, a massive attack like with the chimera, an escape and willing return like with the dragons, or the sacrifice of one of the captors like with the elves.
If I have any complaint about this series, it is character naming. Sometimes Rule becomes Rafe. Pat, a dead wife, later becomes Sarah. In this novel, Jasper is called Jason. half the secondary/tertiary characters are named Sarah. If they didn’t start out being named Sarah a lot of them are called Sarah at one point. There are also a lot of similar names. Lei Li and Lily, who are supposed to be similar because Lily is named after Lei Li, then all the Sarah’s, a couple of James, and a few other repeating names that I can’t remember right now.
I also would point out that this is not a series of stand alone novels. It would be difficult to pick up most of the novels in this series and simply read it without knowing the prior novels. To me, that is a sign of lots of world building, but it also means it is harder to pick up one of these books if you don’t have time to start at the beginning or a decent enough memory to remember stuff from the earlier novels.