Review: Dark Embers by Tessa Adams

May 30, 2011

Dark Embers

Author: Tessa Adams
Series: Dragon’s Heat, Book 1
Publisher: NAL
ISBN: 978-0451230584
Date Released: July 6, 2010
Format Reviewed: Kindle Ebook
Source: Purchased
Length: Novel (320 pages in paperback / 513 KB in Kindle format)
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal Romance

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Online blurb:
Prince Dylan MacLeod is one of the last pure-blood dragon shape- shifters-and ruler of a dying race, the Dragonstar clan. It falls to him to protect his people and their ancient magic. But he has one important duty: to provide an heir…

Like all dragons, Dylan, who has a dark, rampant sexual appetite, can only procreate with his destined mate-for whom he’s searched for the last five hundred years. But his quest is delayed when a disease sweeps through the Dragonstars, and Dylan must venture to the human world to find a cure. He tracks down bio-chemist Phoebe Quillum, never imagining the beautiful scientist would be the mate he’s been seeking. But even with the fate of the clan on their shoulders, Phoebe and Dylan are overcome by their sexual desire.

Their passion turns to something truer, but when Phoebe is kidnapped by Dylan’s oldest enemy, he must risk everything for his love and his clan… (from

My opinion:
Phoebe is a talented biochemist and medical researched, dedicated to finding a cure for Lupus, the disease that killed her teenage sister. Due to the economy, her project’s funding was cut and she’s desperately trying to find a way to keep the promise she’d made to her sister to find a cure. In walks Dylan, offering her enough money to fund her lab for four years in return for her working on a disease running rampant in his people in New Mexico.

Dylan MacLeod is responsible for his clan of dragon shifters and not only has he been unable to find a mate and continue his lineage but his people are dying, one by one, to a mysterious disease. This disease has defied all efforts on the part of his clan’s doctors and researchers to even identify, let alone cure. After losing his sister to the always fatal disease, he decides he has to look outside his own species for the expertise to find a cure and is stunned by his own attraction to the research scientist, Phoebe Quillum.

Ms. Adams has created a rich world of ancient shifters and almost as ancient feuds that really drew me into the world and made me want to learn more about the Dragonstar clan and the history of these ancient beings. Phoebe is a smart heroine who tends to suffer from some of the quirks and ritualistic behaviors many brilliant people suffer from. She picked a goal in her teen years and has spent every moment since working with single-minded purpose toward that goal. This made some of her behaviors seem directly contrary to how I would think a scientist would behave. Some things I was sure would be questioned were just accepted easily. I would have expected more excitement and definitely more curiosity and requests for explanation and demonstrations or details. That jarred me a bit from my immersion.

Dylan is very much an alpha male but readers get a view into how much he loves his family and each member of his clan as the story moves forward. He does have moments of seeming obliviousness that I find hard to relate to everything else we know about him, though. With his several hundred year age and his position in the clan, he should have been more alert and had a broader view of the world and what happens within it.

I loved the dragon-shifter world and mythos Ms. Adams has created in this story and I liked both the main characters quite a bit. They both share a deep love of family, honor and purpose. The sex between them was good but not great, however, and seemed to take up a disproportionate amount of the book. Maybe as a result of this, the plot moved only at a near glacial pace and it was relatively predictable.

While I enjoyed Dark Embers, especially its mix of paranormal, biological warfare, emotions and mysteries, I really wished it had more plot and less sex.

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