Upon a Once and Future Time by Shannon West and Hurri Cosmo
* Great authors
* Fun characters
* An unlikely hero
* Gotta wait so long for book two!
Pari is a Ruby Dragon, or a halfling, anyway, who doesn’t know much about being any kind of Dragon, but he does know about the tyrannical royal family who has ruled the cursed kingdom where he lives for the past two hundred years. Since the beloved Pearl Prince of their kingdom was cruelly murdered by the evil Obsidian Queen so long ago, the people of the kingdom have suffered and still mourn his loss. Yet, Pari is determined to help free his countrymen if he can. When one of his raids on the king’s palace goes terribly wrong, he winds up running for his life and right into an ancient wizard who offers him a way out—through the reflection on a magic bronze shield that he can use to go back through time to save the life of the Pearl Prince.
Once Pari arrives, he has to deal not only with misunderstandings, but an overwhelming attraction to the handsome Prince. Maxsim teaches Pari everything a good Dragon should know, including making love while flying. Treacherous trolls, evil black snow and an unexpected fall back to his own time threaten his new-found happiness with Maxsim. When he learns of the treachery around him, he has to find a way back to his love and be willing to sacrifice everything to save him and change the course of history. If he can pull it off, and if he doesn’t die in the attempt, he might just get everything his heart desires.
I love Hurry Cosmo and Shannon West. When I heard the two of them were doing a book together, I couldn’t to read it. Gotta tell you, I was not disappointed in the least. The writing is seamless, and the story… Well, let me start the review from the beginning.
When we first meet Pari, he’s trying to help some ‘friends’ escape a prison that he may or may not be responsible for them finding themselves in. See, Pari wants so badly to be the hero of a story because, being a ruby dragon–well, half dragon to be exact–his life hasn’t really been stellar up to that point. When we find out why the people are in prison, you can’t help but feel bad for Pari, even if no one else does. Still, he has the chance to make things right, and even that goes wrong. It’s delicious irony.
When Pari flees the guards, he ends up in a cavern where he meets a wizard, who tells Pari he’s going to send him to the past to right the future. Seeing as how the guards are right on his tail, Pari has little choice. He leaps headlong into the unknown, and doesn’t that just go swimmingly? Especially when he changes an event that led to the horrible times he lived in.
Only it doesn’t fix anything, and Pari finds himself in even deeper doo-doo when he meets the Pearl Prince, a stunning dragon shifter that Pari had heard legends of and had fantasized about. The problem? Fantasies and reality rarely meet up smoothly. The Pearl Prince, or Maxsim as he’s known, doesn’t believe a word Pari has to say. Ain’t that always the way it goes?
Pari has the chance to be a hero. To save the Pearl Prince, to save everyone, if he can only learn how to find the strength to do so.
Now… What I liked best about this book, besides the kinky streak Pari and Maxsim share (wait until you see what the Pearl Prince does with his sword pommel…) is the fact that Pari is not a damsel in distress. He’s lived on his own long enough that he knows how to obfuscate the truth, or how to hide in plain sight. Those lessons serve him well in this story, and showcases his inner strength.
Maxsim? Ah, the legends never seem to live up to the cold light of day. He’s an amazing prince, but a bit thick. He refuses to listen to anything Pari has to say, insisting instead that Pari is addled. Still, that doesn’t stop him from… Well, you’ll see.
If you’re a fan of either author, or if you like a well-written fantasy story, you should check out the first book in the series.