Shifters have been hot in the paranormal genre for a while. I don't see this trend ending any time soon. Shifter stories offer a lot of versatility and chances for creativity. I mean, vampires are cool, but as a writer you can only fiddle with the vampire template so much. But I've read shifter stories with wolves, bears, panthers, tiger, etc. The Dragonfire series is about, you guessed it, dragon shifters.
The 6th book in the series just came out last month, but we'll jump in at the beginning with Book 1:
Title: Kiss of Fire
Author: Deborah Cooke (aka Claire Delacroix and Claire Cross)
Release Date: February 2008
Publisher: NAL Eclipse
For millennia, the shape-shifting dragon warriors known as the Pyr have commanded the four elements and guarded the earth's treasures. But now the final reckoning between the Pyr, who count humans among the earth's treasures, and the Slayers, who would eradicate both humans and the Pyr who protect them, is about to begin...
When Sara Keegan decides to settle down and run her quirky aunt's New Age bookstore, she's not looking for adventure. She doesn't believe in fate or the magic of the tarot-but when she's saved from a vicious attack by a man who has the ability to turn into a fire-breathing dragon, she questions whether she's losing her mind-or about to lose her heart...
Quinn Tyrrell has long been distrustful of his fellow Pyr and a self-reliant loner. So when he feels the firestorm that signals his destined mate, he's determined to protect and possess Sara, regardless of the cost to himself. Then Sara's true destiny is revealed-and Quinn realizes he must risk everything- even Sara's love-to fulfill their entwined fates...
The Great Wyvern (the Pyr's main deity) has ordained that Quinn, a loner Pyr, has his match in Sara Keeken, an accountant turned New Age bookstore owner. The "destined mates" theme is strong in paranormal romance. It's that old "one true love" myth that many readers find romantic. Cooke puts a bit of a twist on that theme. During the firestorm, a fierce attraction flares between the dragon shifter and their destined female. It is only with this female that the Pyr (who are all male except for the Wyvern - not to be confused with the Great Wyvern) can produce offspring. Once their attraction is consummated an/or the heir is conceived (Cookes not real clear about this point), the attraction ends. Some Pyr choose to stay with their destined mate while others enjoy the perks of the firestorm and then move on when the deed is done.
There is an eco-friendly, or green, theme to this series as well. The Pyr (Good dragon shifters) and the Slayers (Bad dragon shifters) are at odds. Dragon shifters have a primal connection to the Earth, which is being destroyed by mankind. To reestablish a balance between mankind and nature, the Pyr try to encourage humans to live in a way more harmonious with the planet. The Slayers, on the other hand, believe all humans should be exterminated and dragons should rule the planet.
When the Slayers capture the Wyvern, a dragon shifter seer of sorts, they get some advanced intel on the next firestorm and attack Sara Keegen outside her bookstore. Thankfully, Quinn arrives in time to help save her.
Dragons are different than the usual sort of shifters you read about in paranormal romances. Wolves are like dogs and can almost be seen as snuggly thought definitely dangerous. Bears, think teddy bears. Jaguars and other big cats are sleek and sexy. Dragons are...big, have giant teeth and claws and breathe fire. So, the heroines has to be made of some pretty stern stuff to deal with the fact that her new boyfriend can shift into a giant, fire-breathing lizard. Cooke writes spunky, strong heroines which are a joy to read about.
The only minor complaint I can make about this book is that sometimes the world building and mythos gets a little confusing, but overall, a very good read and I love the cover!
Lila B.'s Rating:
1 Heart = Skip it
2 Hearts = Check it out if you can find a free copy and have read the back of all the cereal boxes in your pantry.
3 Hearts = I wouldn't pay more than $4.99 for this read.
4 Hearts = This one goes on my keeper shelf.
5 Hearts = OH, MY GOD, LOVE IT! Read it in one sitting, without eating, without sleeping and with minimal potty breaks.