Book Review : The Dream Thief

Book Review : The Dream ThiefThe Dream Thief (Drakon #2) by Shana Abe
Published by Bantam on August 28th 2007
Pages: 335
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one-half-stars

In the remote hills of northern England lives a powerful clan with a centuries-old secret. They are the drákon, shape-shifters who possess the ability to Turn—changing from human to smoke to dragon. And from the very stones of the earth, they hear hypnotic songs of beauty and wonder. But there is one stone they fear.

Buried deep within the bowels of the Carpathian Mountains lies the legendary dreaming diamond known as Draumr, the only gem with the power to enslave the drákon. Since childhood, Lady Amalia Langford, daughter of the clan's Alpha, has heard its haunting ballad but kept it secret, along with another rare Gift...Lia can hear the future, much in the way she hears the call of Draumr. And in that future, she realizes that the diamond—along with the fate of the drákon—rests in the hands of a human man, one who straddles two worlds.

Ruthlessly clever, Zane has risen through London's criminal underworld to become its ruler. Once a street urchin saved by Lia's mother, Zane is also privy to the secrets of the clan—and is the only human they trust to bring them Draumr. But he does nothing selflessly.

Zane's hunt for the gem takes him to Hungary, where he is shocked to encounter a bold, beautiful young noblewoman: Lia. She has broken every rule of the drákon to join him, driven by the urgent song of Draumr—and her visions of Zane. In one future, he is her ally. In another, her overlord. In both, he is her lover. Now, to protect her tribe, Lia must tie her fate to Zane's, to the one man capable of stealing her future—and destroying her heart.

I really hoped that I would enjoy The Dream Thief better than its predecessor, The Smoke Thief, which seemed to have everything but a remotely likable romance. Unfortunately this was very much the same case in this novel. The Dream Thief focuses on Rue’s protege from the first book, Zane, who is now an extremely attractive young man, a talented thief, and the only human the Drákons of Darkfirth trust to know the secret of their existence and to carry out their affairs in the human world.

 

She’d once overheard her mother say that Zane could charm the fish from the streams a tiger out of a tree. Lia believed it. She believed he could charm a dragon, if he wished. It was one of her deepest fears.”

 

While initially I was excited to read about Zane as an adult, that quickly ended when he became the star of Rue and Kit’s daughter, Lia’s future-predicting dreams. In these dreams, Lia and Zane are intimate, which is beyond weird, since she’s like 14 when the dreams begin. He also seems to have direct control over her and wants to harm her family, which makes it very hard to like him. It seems the author just can’t manage to write a likeable male character.

 

“She wasn’t Gifted like the rest of her family. She couldn’t Turn to smoke, much less to dragon. She wasn’t beautiful, she wasn’t brave, she wasn’t any sort of reflection of the magnificence of her kind.”

 

And Lia, Kit and Rue’s daughter is far too meek for my taste as well. Sure, the author tries to make her seem more like Rue, who faked her death and ran away from the Drákon’s home in The Smoke Thief, but it fails. Unlike her sisters and brothers, Lia can’t Turn into either a smoke or drakon form for most of the novel. Though she has other Gifts, such as her portentous dreams, and the ability to hear metals better than other drakons, she doesn’t tell anyone. Later on, she becomes even more of a special snowflake, when she develops the unheard of Gift of fire-breathing.

 

“She was a woman of strange talents; she was a dreamer who heard music and horrors, and all of it was as beyond her control as the moon was to the tide. She woke up each day never knowing what new trick her body would perform, or when or where. It was like having a beast locked in her chest where her heart used to be, a beast that could wink awake at any moment and shred her hard-won facade to ribbons.”

 

When Zane sets out at the behest of Rue to uncover the Draumr diamond of legend, which apparently drives Drákons mad and renders them unable to retrieve it themselves. I was really excited to read about this diamond since it was first described in the prologue way back in The Smoke Thief, but the execution of the story leaves much to be desired.

 

Lia sneaks away from her boarding school, meets up with Zane, and gets him to accept her help on the account of her extreme diamond-hearing abilities. Of course, since he last saw her as a child, Lia has become insanely beautiful and alluring. The two travel disguised as man and wife. Logically I know this is because the story takes place during a much earlier time-period, we’re talking horses and coaches, but I had to roll my eyes at this story mechanic, because I feel like it’s been done so many times before–and often better.

 

It also bothered me how Zane and Lia don’t even interact or like each other that much. Instead, most of their interaction is Lia’s disturbing dreams of the two of them. So it felt really abrupt when he asked her to have sex with him for real, even though any romantic relations is strictly forbidden between the two, since he is not a Drákon. Then to top it off, he changes his mind when she agrees! What kind of romance novel is this?

 

And it gets worse, after eons and eons of traveling together–I’m talking 2/3s of the book–the two encounter Prince Imre and his wife Princess Maricara. Prince Imre shares the legend of the Draumr diamond–and its dragon controlling abilities–with Zane and the first thing Zane does is to determine that he needs to possess it so that he can control Lia and her family–so he can “have” Lia and everything else that he wants. Now, one might think this is just a display of typical human greed–something any character would consider in their darkest of hearts, if only for a moment, but at this point in the story, Lia already does love Zane and wants to marry him–Drákon or not. It’s completely unnecessary for him to use the diamond. Plus, the way the author explains his lust for the diamond is not as a momentary lapse in judgement, but a premeditated plan to wholly possess the person he wants.

 

“‘Promise me you won’t use the diamond against me.’
‘Against you’ The thief murmured….
‘Against my family,’ she said. ‘Against my kind.’
He said lightly, ‘It’s only against if one resists. What if I use the diamond for something you’d like?’
‘You don’t need the Draumr for that….Promise me, Zane. Please….’
‘No,’ he finally said without a trace of inflection. ‘I do not promise.’”

 

If he really loved her, wouldn’t he want to destroy the diamond to protect her and her family? You’d think he would at least feel something for Lia’s mom, Rue, who saved his life twice in The Smoke Thief. But no, doesn’t cross his mind. I really don’t understand how Lia is ever in love with him. I groaned when beats her to the Draumr after Prince Imre’s murder at the claws of his enslaved wife and actually uses it on her! This is right after Zane witnessed Prince Imre using the diamond to get Lia to kill him, and then making it hurt her when she fought against his commands–it’s really just sick.

 

Even though Zane finally ends up destroying it at the very end, I couldn’t believe he’d used it on someone he claimed to love–at all. Then to top it off, he suggests he’ll make Lia an engagement ring out of the pieces of the diamond, as if to remind her of the sweet time he controlled her mind and body. This is really not my idea of a love story.

 

“‘A gentleman thief.’
‘You’ve been reading too many penny novels, my heart. There is no such creature.’’’

 

After reading both The Smoke Thief and The Dream Thief, and hating the male leads in both, I can honestly say that I won’t be reading the third installment in the series. No matter how engrossing the parts of the story surrounding the dragons are, I cannot stand reading these stories that idealize borderline abusive romances. It’s really a shame, because the Drákon series had such a unique concept–supernatural romance set in a historical time period with Drákons in disguise, but as the execution continues to be so lacking and the romances so sickening, I can’t ever see myself fully enjoying them.

one-half-stars
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Posted March 15, 2019 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Romance

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