Thursday, March 1, 2018

Book Review: 'Dragon Heat: Book One' by Ella J. Phoenix

Australian author Ella J Phoenix received her degree in Performing Arts and her first foray in writing was creating children's plays, adapting Shakespeare for modern audiences, and translating the works of other international authors. Now she has settled in writing her own novels - novels in her favorer paranormal genre. She has published four books to date in the Dragon Heat Series - VAMPIRE THIRST, WOLF HUNGER, RAVEN'S AWAKENING, and DRAGON HEAT. She states on her website `Balancing life between working at a demanding full time job, living with a loving husband and feeding my obsession for paranormal novels is not easy.' She lives and creates in Sydney, Australia.

Like many authors of the paranormal type Ella creates many very strange names that match the weird creatures she creates. But unlike most authors, Ella generously offers a glossary before the novel begins to give definitions of the ideas, the mythology, and names of certain characters and groups and in doing so she lets her reader know that she is escorting them into a new sphere. Another aspect of Ella's technique for assuring the stage is set so the action and erotica can move forward is to offer a Prologue - this one set in Romania in 1800: `Tardieh realized he must have passed out as he could feel that the sun was in a different position now. It was almost sundown. I must not lose myself to panic. He opened his senses to his surroundings. He heard the faint sound of water dripping and someone breathing a few feet away to his left. They had left him with only one razbian to guard him. Hmm, interesting. They must have thought he was very weak to have done it so. Not that they were mistaken. He had lost a lot of blood, and his body ached all over. Breathe, breathe, he thought. He decided to open his eyes but just a fraction. He didn't want the guard to know he had awakened. The first thing he noticed were the dancing shadows on the walls casted by the dim light of a single candle placed somewhere to his right on the ceiling. On the ceiling? No, he realized, the candle was on the floor. He was the one on the ceiling--hung upside down. The dripping sound had not been from water; it was his own blood dribbling onto the floor. He was suspended by his ankles with thick silver chains. His hands were bound behind him in the same fashion. His head pounded from being upside down for so long. Inhale, exhale. He could smell piss, excrement, and something else, something worse. Fear. He could smell the fear of previous prisoners who had suffered in that room before him. Their terror had been so tangible it had tainted the air, the walls, the floor. Etc.' Once the Romanian component is complete we enter New York, Present Day. The tone is set: the story can begin.

The author's synopsis outlines the action: 'In a world where humans are unaware that magical beings live among them, Zoricah, the draconian demigoddess, has limited time to uncover a series of killings before one of her own meets the same fate. Determined not to let that happen, she has no other choice but to ask for the help of her race's ultimate enemies - the Vampires. Tardieh, the Vampire King, has long learnt not to trust the Dragons but when the flames of passion ignite between him and Zoricah, he finds himself torn between overwhelming sexual heat and his centuries-old distrust. Together they have to overcome their own prejudices before it's too late for their races and their love.'

Ella writes right down the middle of the paranormal fans' favorite schemata - magic, dragons, vampires and the heat of erotica. This book and series is bound to satisfy her audience. Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.