Book Review of Dagger-Star (Epic of Palins, Bk. 1)

Dagger-Star (Epic of Palins, Bk. 1)
reviewed on + 108 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I love romance novels--when they are done right. But more and more I'm finding paranormal/fantasy romance novels to be super disappointing and almost stereotypical in their plots. Romance suffers in return for "steamy sex" followed by swift declarations of love that don't ring true. Another stereotype is the Xena-like tough heroine who kicks butt, is sexually liberated, and is actually very unlikable. It's almost as if the author overcompensates for all the wilting flowers that used to make up most romance heroines.

So I was so surprised to absolutely love this book by Elizabeth Vaughan. I had heard of her Plains stories and was NOT interested, but for whatever reasons, took a chance on her standalone, Dagger-Star. What an amazing story! It's a cross between a fantasy and a romance without either genre suffering. It's really hard to make an alpha female pair with a beta male without making either character unlikeable or weak. But somehow she makes the two of them fit so well together. And the goats! How can you not love the goats? They add a touch of humor, poignancy, and platonic love to the story that balance out the horror of Red Gloves' past so perfectly. I believe at the conclusion of the story that she has found her peace and it is in the form of a gentle farmer and his magical goats. Every character in this story is absolutely divinely written and fully fleshed out. Upon finishing this book I had to go out to the store and immediately buy the sequel, White Star, even though I had to tear apart my local Borders to do it (Someone had miss-shelved my book and dammit I was not going to go away empty handed!).

This kind of writing is what fantasy and paranormal romance should always aspire to emulate. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite novels of all time and is staying on my keeper shelf.