Draconian Measures is the third book in the Gaven series (I assume the last too) but is actually a prequel to the other two books. It can be read easily as a stand alone or in any combination with the two Gavin books. It tells the story of Vlar’s parents –really Vlar’s father and his partner- and their oft mentioned difficult courtship. It’s a cute book with a lot of humor but ultimately the book feels too introspective and repetitive to totally satisfy. It’s a nice easy read though and a welcome change from the usual dark overtones this author usually offers.
The plot is very circular and simplistic. Sadan, a Finnarian prince, decides that Graitaan, a Draconian, is his mate. Graitaan disagrees. They go back and forth for 170 pages until they live happily ever after. Really that is the entire book in a nutshell, which isn’t necessarily a criticism since the writing and light touch keep the pace quick and angst low. Just know going in that there isn’t much to the novel in terms of plot. Instead the two main characters share first person narrating duties as they explain in great length and repetitive detail why they are on opposites sides of the mating fence.
The story is very internal, too much so. The two characters repeat their positions over and over without much variation. Sadan is an interesting character and very dynamic, fun to read while he’s narrating but is somewhat two dimensional. He’s definitely fleshed out but he rarely alters from the expected script of Graitaan is his mate, end of story. He has moments of sadness, insight, hope, despair, pain and happiness but these are very brief, fleeting emotions while the overwhelming majority of the time Sadan is smug, arrogant, and extremely confident. He’s a fun character to be sure, especially as he needles Graitaan but he’s not a very exciting character.
Graitaan is slightly better as a reclusive grump annoyed at Sadan’s easy going, dominating manner and determined to refuse Sadan’s charms. His perspective is more nuanced with greater emotional variation. The scenes depicting Graitaan’s childhood are affecting as is his deep well of loneliness and need. He has a lot of charm within the grumpy exterior and offers a great deal of humor during his narration. The angst is kept pretty light so the back and forth is easy and never too serious. There’s no question Graitaan will eventually give in and the novel is merely the length of time it took for Graitaan to admit his feelings.
Unfortunately this is slightly too long for me. The story is entertaining to be sure, but the writing is entirely passive and told to the reader. The introspective narrations contain very little, if any, dialogue and thus numerous details are repeated often. For example Graitaan explains early on how everyone stays away from him but especially when he’s injured. This exact sentence is repeated two paragraphs later and then again from Sadan’s perspective. This kind of repetition is littered throughout the story with very little regard for the fact that readers aren’t likely to forget things so soon.
The other downfall is that the story itself is repetitive. Sadan mentally claims Graitaan as his mate, they have sex, Graitaan freaks out and stalks off in a sulk while mentally lambasting Sadan. Rinse and repeat for the duration of the story until Graitaan accepts their love and all is well. This kind of back and forth, sans any banter or dialogue, can only go so long before starting to drag and slow. I personally started to tire of it around the halfway point but reader tastes vary and the light writing may help readers finish.
The prose can at times be wordy and awkward with an odd sentence structure. It’s not the most natural and occasionally trip over itself but it does stand out as unique and different from the masses. This helps keep my attention on the story because I have to read more carefully due to the wording. I wouldn’t label this a criticism of the story just a difference that may or may not appeal to all readers. I personally don’t mind but it’s a noticeable difference.
On the whole though, those fans of the series will want to continue with DM. It’s cute with an absolutely adorable Vlar and the main characters are hot, fun, and definitely romantic. For a summer read, this should hit the spot.