Reading level: Adult
eARC: 80 pages
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release date: April 22, 2013
Series: The Dragon Kings #0.5
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Reviewed by: Jenn
An exciting, emotionally charged prequel to the Dragon Kings trilogy featuring warriors fighting for their lives in violent cage matches to guarantee their clans’ survival—available exclusively as an eBook!
A silent woman ashamed of her criminal background becomes a Cage warrior to seek redemption. An unrepentant fortune hunter will do anything to escape his mounting debts. Although rivals on the streets of Hong Kong, they find common ground when seeking their clan’s stolen idol, but for vastly different reasons. Neither one suspects that love will begin when he becomes the first man in five years to hear her speak.
SILENT WARRIOR is the digital prequel to Lindsey Piper's upcoming CAGED WARRIOR, the first full-length novel in a new paranormal romance series featuring dragons. SILENT WARRIOR gives us a taste of the really interesting world Piper has created, though I still have a lot of questions about the series' mythology, possibly because I haven't read CAGED WARRIOR yet. This is probably why I found SILENT WARRIOR to be a bit muddled at times.
In Piper's world, there are five clans of Dragon Kings. The two main characters in SILENT WARRIOR are both from the Sath clan, who are known as thieves because they are able to temporarily steal the powers of other dragons. They're also hoarders and secret keepers. (The other clans aren't as relevant to this story and I'm not entirely certain what each clan's gifts are.) There are different classes of Dragon Kings, and some of the most skilled fighters are known as Cage warriors. They fight in monthly Cage matches for the cartels that enslaved them, though I'm not sure how exactly these folks get enslaved in the first place. (See how I'm a bit muddled?). I realize there's not a lot of space in a novella and expect to come out of it with some questions about series mythology, but I felt adrift at certain points in SILENT WARRIOR. Despite my confusion, I still got enough of a sense of the world to appreciate how gritty and dark the atmosphere is, and to look forward to seeing everything fully explained (fingers crossed!) in CAGED WARRIOR.
Generally, I really liked the two main characters in SILENT WARRIOR, Silence and Hark. They meet as opponents in the Cage and end up hitting the mats in a very different way, after beating the crap out of each other in the ring. Hark is so irreverent and I loved his banter. He's a great foil for Silence in many ways, and I loved the interplay between the two characters. And even though SILENT WARRIOR is only 80 pages, Silence and Hark's chemistry and connection come off as very real. There's a roughness to their demeanour and relationship that had me believing in them as individuals and a potential couple. The page count was low enough that you can't expect to learn their whole histories but Piper does a remarkable job of developing their characters from the first page. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think novellas are incredibly difficult to write well and Piper has done a top-notch job with character development in SILENT WARRIOR.
I'm intrigued enough by the setting that Piper has created to want to jump right into CAGED WARRIOR, if only to answer the questions I have about the social and historical makeup of the Dragon Kings world. If you're thinking about trying SILENT WARRIOR before CAGED WARRIOR, you should check out the glossary that Piper has created. Otherwise, you may find yourself a bit lost, or staring off into space as you try to figure out what it means to be a Dragon King.