Uncaged Review: Smoke by Val St. Crowe

Smoke
Val St. Crowe
Urban Fantasy

When Naelen Spencer shows up at Clarke Gannon’s apartment saying he wants to hire her to hunt his sister down, she’s got zilch inclination to actually take that job.

For one thing, she’s not actually looking for an employer. For another thing, Naelen is the kind of rich, entitled playboy that she hates. For a third thing, he’s a dragon shifter, and she’s a dragon slayer. Those things don’t mix.
Sure, okay, she doesn’t kill shifters, only soulless, monster dragons that do nothing but burn, kill, and destroy.
And fine, he does happen to have eyes like the sky in high summer and a deep voice that makes her feel warm all over.
And all right, she needs the money he’s offering. She could use it to help her sister, who’s never caught a break her entire life.
But screw that guy.
That’s what she wants to say, anyway. Instead, she ends up taking him up on his offer, and then she’s flying off in a private jet to get mixed up with a creepy country town, a nest of powerful vampires, and a bunch of potent magical objects.

Uncaged Review: The premise of this book looked pretty interesting so I dove in. The heroine in this story is Clarke, who is a human dragon slayer, who takes out rogue dragons, i.e., the ones that have lost their human soul and are only out killing and destroying. In this world, the only magical beings are dragons, and when dragons are slayed, parts of their bodies are chopped up and used to make magical objects. But Clarke is one of the slayers in the world with a heart. She tries to reunite the families of the slain dragons, so they can take them home themselves. Sounds a bit confusing, but it’s really pretty straight forward in the book. She gets along, taking care of her sister and getting by, barely. Along comes Naelen, a dragon-shifter who wants to hire her to help him find his sister, who may have gone rogue. On top of dealing with Naelen, she has to deal with her ex, a gargoyle named Logan.
I have mixed feelings on the book. I like Clarke, and the character development was pretty good and I liked that the backstory on the characters were fleshed out, but I didn’t really feel much of anything with the two men in Clarke’s life. Naelen seems arrogant, whiny and overbearing – never thought I’d put those 3 words in one description, and Logan is overly devoted, when he’s around. His problem is he constantly hurts Clarke.
There is some good action and suspense, and some original magical takes on this genre, but the main characters could use a polishing – specially the men. Being the first book in a series, it has promise. Reviewed by Cyrene

3 Stars