If there are dragon stories I like, it’s the dragons created by Megan Derr in her Dance with the Devil universe. There may have been a silly happy dance involved when I received and ARC-copy for Risk it All, a short story involving a Cross brother, a roughskin and twin dragons. Tori is one of the uncles that was mentioned in Sword of the King. I believe there are two more Cross brothers, all of them with dragons (and boy do I hope they get their own stories too).
As I believe, the story was previously released by the author (on her website) and has been completely redone. Risk it All is part of the Dance with the Devil universe, but can be read separately. Fans of the series will recognize the link to the Dance in the Dark and Ruffskin books.
For such a short story (24.000 words), Risk it All has quite the tale to tell. Kipling is a roughskin, an outcast among his pack. He’s on the run when he meets Tori – a dragon owner. There is a spark there, but Kip can’t stay. However, he didn’t count on Tori’s unlikely companions.
There is a lot there in the story and while some was told by Kipling to give the reader a good idea of what is going on, there is also a lot of little details, attention to the story, characters and character development. Now, of course, don’t get me wrong, but this story was just waaaaaay too short and should have been at least ten times in size *wink*.
Despite that the story is well developed. The narrative is flowing, drawing the reader into the story without an info dump, but with a good understanding of the world Kipling moves in. It also has a sweet romance that runs alongside Kipling’s story.
What I did miss in the story was more background on Tori and his dragons. It doesn’t take away from the story, but we don’t get to know Tori and his dragons as well as we do Kip. It left me a whole lot more curious about the Cross clan and about Tori and his brothers.
There is a good plot to Risk it All, but the focus is on Kip as a character. Throughout the story he grows, from a little shy, curious and vulnerable, but strong wolf to a sexy, confident partner who fights and protects for what he wants.
The dragons are awesome. They are quite different from the dragons we know from other fantasy stories. They can shift to a human form, but can hardly be called shifters. They are more their own species and they are very intriguing. If you want to know more, you just have to read the story!
Why you should read it: Risk it All is a wonderful instalment in the Dance with the Dragons series. And it has DRAGONS. Fans of the world will love this new story, but really even if you are new to the series, the story is a good introduction.