A Boy and His Dragon, by R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 4, 2013
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Arthur MacArthur needs a job, and not just for the money. Before he dropped out of school to support his younger sister, he loved being a research assistant at the university. But working for a dragon, one of the rarest and least understood magical beings, has unforeseen complications. While Arthur may be the only applicant who isn’t afraid of Philbert Jones in his dragon form, the instant attraction he feels for his new employer is beyond disconcerting.
Bertie is a brilliant historian, but he can’t find his own notes without help—his house is a hoard of books and antiques, hence the need for an assistant. Setting the mess to rights is a dream come true for Arthur, who once aspired to be an archivist. But making sense of Bertie’s interest in him is another matter. After all, dragons collect treasure, and Arthur is anything but extraordinary.
Past Drug Use
Abuse of Secondary Character (Off-Page)
This book should should have been everything a dracophile like me has been longing for – it was recommended as a sweet romance without any of the dub/noncon content seemingly ubiquitous in shifter, and especially dragon, stories that I find so immensely frustrating, with cute protags who love books! And while it gratifyingly lacked strong dubcon elements it also wasn’t the adorable dragony schmoopfest I had been promised.
Bertie is a lovely character, he’s charming, nurturing and kind, and it’s a shame the story is only told from Arthur’s POV, as I would have liked to see things from his perspective as well. I was especially disappointed that apart from his introduction we rarely see him in his dragon form! What is the point of having a handsome dragon if you don’t show him off once in a while, right? Arthur is very sympathetic, you really want to root for him as does his best (and nearly exhausts himself into hospital) to support himself and his sister after giving up his dreams in order to survive.
I was expecting more discussions sharing their mutual love of literature and history, or just more conversations in general, as Bertie and Arthur don’t actually interact very much throughout the novel. They leave each other notes, or stare intently into each other’s eyes, and occasionally speak about the things they have in common, but not enough to get an understanding for why they might actually like each other. Arthur’s instant attraction is the main thread keeping any spark of interest alive, with his thoughts reminding us that yes, Bertie is Very Hot, but not much else. It was also extremely disconcerting the way the narration seemed appropriate for a YA about 75% of the time, then Arthur would interrupt the flow by thinking something explicitly sexual; the entire story felt like sexual content had been shoved into an otherwise ‘sweet/fade to black’ romance because the author thought M/M romance wouldn’t sell unless there was sex in it. At least there were only a few of the misogynist undertones I’d come to expect as standard from this publisher, but honestly there is no reason whatsoever for a male character to shudder violently and say ‘yech women‘ to announce his preference for men.
The main conflict arises from Arthur’s insecurities, believing Bertie could never want someone like him, and while I appreciated the lack of melodrama keeping it realistic (there is one outside conflict that occurs towards the end and felt like an unnecessarily manufactured one) I also sometimes wanted to shake Arthur and shout at him for being so wilfully obtuse. But of course they work things out and the end is certainly a happy one.
While there wasn’t nearly enough treasure to hoard here for me, A Boy and His Dragon is still a sweet slow burn that fans of sexy shifters should enjoy.
Making up stories is what I do. The difficulty is getting me to actually write them down. My dream is to one day own a quirky old Victorian style home with trapdoors, secret passages, and stacks of books. There I shall write, and eat cheese, and own many pets. (Cats and dogs welcome.) In the meantime, I still have the writing and the cheese and the pets at least.
Find R. Cooper online at http://r-cooper.livejournal.com/