Trial by Fire by Chris Cannon

28230006Bryn’s hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her—again. She’s not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare-of-a-Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon.

The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real, or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received an ARC of this ebook through NetGalley!!  (also — spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books)

This one fell a little short for me.  I found it didn’t quite have the same pace as the first two books, and while Bryn still had a lot of sass and awesomeness in her, it was tempered a bit.  I do get that she’s going through some changes and that living with the blues and trying to behave appropriately for her grandparents is affecting her, but I guess I just missed some of her fire.

I also found that this book was mired by a lot of…almost angst? I guess.  It’s just that I’m kind of gun shy on the romance front after Zavien…I bought into that relationship in the first book, and while I loved that it didn’t work out (strangely), I’m having a hard time jumping on the Bryn/Valmont bandwagon.  Now don’t get me wrong, I mostly think Valmont is insanely swoon-worthy.  But I’m not feeling a ton of chemistry between Valmont and Bryn in this book.  I felt it more in the end of the second book than anything that happened in this one, and there was just so much back and forth that it made it hard for me to fall in love.  And frankly, the back and forth in their relationship got a bit tiring at times.

There was also a lot less action in this one…which is fine, but I kind of missed it, you know?  I just found I wasn’t devouring this book as fast as the first two, and I’m trying to figure out why.  I also find I keep missing characters that had bigger parts in the previous books.  I enjoyed Merrick in book one, and he’s been missing since then.  I also enjoyed Lilith in books 1 and 2, and she’s missing in this one as well.  At least we got more from her Grandmother, and a bit from her Grandfather.

What I did enjoy was a lot of the little side developments.  I enjoyed Garret playing a *super tiny* bit bigger of a role…he intrigues me (Octavius and Vivian too).  I enjoy that the clans are mixing a bit more.  I enjoyed seeing some changes in various dragons opinions — seeing them question the laws (mostly Jaxon, though even her Grandfather has his moments where I think he may be seeing things differently, but I’m having a hard time trusting it).

No idea how I feel about the developments in Bryn’s relationship with Jaxon.  I think that’s not helping me get on the Valmont bandwagon, but I’m not on the Jaxon bandwagon either (I’m definitely more V than J).

So yeah.  We got some new mysteries to be solved, some interesting plot developments surrounding hybrids, some relationship shifts, some romantic drama and angst, and a bit of action in this one.  Still invested in the series, but it wasn’t my favourite installment.


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