Royal Dragons of Alaska, Book #1
Heat Factor: The most G-rated non-closed-door sex I’ve ever read: 100% implied, 0% explicit
Character Chemistry: They unreservedly lean on each other for support, which is really lovely
Plot: Threats to her! Threats to the monarchy! Threats all around!
Overall: This would have been A-level reading if the protagonists weren’t TSTL. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series.
Have you ever wanted to read about royal dragon shifters? I’ve been wanting to read about dragon shifters for a long time, and then The Dragon Prince of Alaska floated across my “desk,” and I thought, “Sweet!” And here we are.
How can there be a dragon prince of Alaska? Great question. This book is set in an alternate world (I mean, the first clue was shifters, right?) in which Alaska (and some other countries as well) are small kingdoms. They’re part of a magical alliance and they’re all ruled by dragon shifters. I’m not huge huge into fantasy as such, so I’m probably not the best judge of world-building, but I felt like this alternate reality worked. Birch kept it reasonably close to reality, describing it as a sort of rugged place where someone would go to get lost, so there’s no real jarring disconnect from what many of us would think of when we hear “Alaska” in terms of this world.
There’s a lot of light fun in this book, beginning with flying dragons appearing as auroras at night (there are also real auroras, but dragons need some kind of cloaking, ya know?), and continuing as little nuggets throughout the book. In the beginning, Carina notes that the princes’ names are really hard to say, and when we met them I thought, “Why does she think they’re hard to say?” And then, practically at the end, we learn why. It’s some good follow-through.
Carina is on the run because she’s been framed for a murder after discovering an accounting discrepancy during a routine evaluation of a huge and powerful bank. She borrows her sisters VW campervan and camps out on the outskirts of a royal forest. On the night she meets her fate, she also adopts an abandoned dog, who wanders into her campground and eats her dinner.
Toren is the youngest of six brothers and he’s carefree and living the royal, hockey-playing life. Until he’s sent to evict the squatter on royal land and his dragon is like, “You have to go down there right now.” And he does, and then his dragon is like, “She’s ours.” Which, fun story, means that, thanks to the magical Compact that exists among the small kingdoms, Toren is moved from baby brother to crown prince.
The fated mates trope is played with in an interesting way in this book. Both Carina and Toren have instant feels, but Toren, having grown up with the idea of mates (even if he didn’t necessarily understand or think it was wholly real or for him) is pretty all in from the start. Carina, having been introduced to both the idea of mates and shifter dragons at once is immediately struck by the idea that, while all of this feels great, it’s thanks to magic, not reality, and she has a very hard time with the idea that Toren only thinks he loves her because of some spell and not because he actually loves her. This is the first book I’ve read that made me understand the consent/free will objection to fated mates, because Carina leans hard into it. I am more typically in the “fated mates is lazy chemistry” camp than the “fated mates is dubious consent” camp. And I would argue that Birch pulls through for us in a satisfying way as she pretty deliberately plays with this trope.
Okay, so. Where are we? This is the first in a series, and there’s this whole thing going on with the magical Compact that makes at least one subplot that will carry forward. I will probably continue to read this series because I really enjoyed it, except…
Carina and the brothers are too stupid to live. I don’t want to get spoilery, but I would argue that it’s not a spoiler because the minute this character trotted onto the scene it was suspect. AND Toren said, “The world is full of different kinds of shifters.” So I said, “How effing stupid are you people? You know that this is a world with shifters and there is some seriously shady shit happening with this character, and I honestly can’t deal with it.” For real. I texted Ingrid and Holly at least three times, I was so annoyed.
So if you have a problem with being smarter than the supposedly smart characters in the book you’re reading, I would not suggest picking up this book. But if you would like to have a fun time and you don’t mind wanting to yell at your protagonists for being blind to reality, it’s pretty fun.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
Buy Now: Amazon
Looking for something similar?