Book Review: G.A. Aiken’s What a Dragon Should Know

Posted September 26, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: G.A. Aiken’s What a Dragon Should Know

What a Dragon Should Know


G.A. Aiken

paranormal romance in Paperback edition that was published by Zebra on September 1, 2009 and has 460 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dragon Actually, Last Dragon Standing, About a Dragon, The Dragon Who Loved Me, How to Drive a Dragon Crazy, Supernatural, Light My Fire, Feel the Burn

Third in the Dragon Kin hysterically funny fantasy series about a family of dragons and those they love. The primary couple focus is on Gwenvael the Handsome (if he does say so himself) and Dagmar “The Beast” Reinholdt. Other couples whom Aiken teases us with include the continuing taunt of Éibhear and Izzy, an upcoming romance between Keita and Ragnar, and Brastias and Morfyd.

My Take

The dragons are like big, boisterous teenage boys with the same maturity levels. Too, too funny! Gwenvael’s siblings and extended family are open, honest, and perfectly happy to air their issues and observations about anyone at all.

This particular story is mostly about the women and how they confound the men be they gods, dragons, or humans: Dagmar and her sneaky, smarts with her family and Gwenvael as well as her appreciation and love for animals; Talaith, Izzy, Eslyd, and Eir’s independence and strength; and, Keita’s indecision.

Good point that who letters are from matter almost as much as that letter’s content.

I do love Gwenvael’s reaction to the note from The Reinholdt: “Good gods! That madman from the north?…I didn’t know anyone in the Reinholdt Clan could write.”

Ooh, that cheeky Dagmar! I do love how deftly she changes the subject…with a clang!

Yup, no shame a’tall, a’tall — “…the lush garden of your bosom…” indeed!

Gwenvael is such a crack-up. Intelligent with his own dry sense of humor he certainly meets his match in the equally dry and possibly smarter Dagmar. Not only is she unimpressed with the overweening pride of the Gold dragon, she’s intelligent and underhanded enough to be a challenge. Love her response to the Elders’ brashness! However, Gwenvael throws down the gauntlet to Dagmar using her own adherence to the rules to provoke and interest her. It took me awhile to figure out what he was doing and I still don’t understand how hair brushing and braiding comes under the rules of hospitality. Nor can Gwenvael really blame Dagmar for assuming how he wants to be thanked…and I do love how she shocks him…snicker…

Typical male, Gwenvael’s prime requirements of a woman in the past has been about body, not about being able to “construct and verbally repeat full and complete sentences”. In her turn, Dagmar discovers that a dread court doesn’t have to be discomfort and stabs in the back.

Gwenvael’s curiosity about why his family doesn’t have a Code receives the respect it deserves! Ooops, and Mum finds out about Izzy’s deal…

The Story

Annwyl sees something more in Gwenvael than anyone else in his family for she’s sending him as her envoy to The Reinholdt and The Beast. Gwenvael certainly appears to be fulfilling his family’s expectations — guffawing and rolling around on the ground is not expected diplomatic behavior!

But it seems that a quick wit and doing the unexpected is exactly what’s required.

The Characters

Gwenvael the Handsome, a.k.a., the most-loved male with the ability to camouflage his scales has no shame, is cheeky, rude, selfish, vain and has the most amazing sense of humor.

Dagmar Reinholdt, a.k.a., The Beast, is her father’s only daughter. She’s also the only offspring with any intelligence. Part of which she displayed early on when she took over training her father’s battle dogs. Canute is her personal guard dog…snicker… Sigmar Reinholdt is “the mightiest warlord in the Northlands”. A hard territory where women are chattel and the men, literally, are barbarians. Kikka is the bitchiest of her sisters-in-law and married to the slowly dawning Eymund. Other brothers include Fridmar and Valdis. Jökull is Sigmar’s brother and the enemy threatening to attack their land.

Brother Ragnar of the Order of the Warhammer has been bringing Dagmar books and news for some twenty years now, tutoring Dagmar in the ways of the world.

Queen Annwyl the Bloody is seven-months pregnant. With twins. And she’s dying. Fearghus the Destroyer is a Black dragon, Annwyl’s consort as well as the future Dragon King of the Southlands, and one of Gwenvael’s brothrs. Violence, Annwyl’s warhorse, has a small but important part. Bercelak the Great is the Southland dragons’ father and he and his mate, Queen Rhiannon, despise Annwyl — she keeps calling Annwyl “the whore who betrayed my son”. I can just imagine those family dinners…”

Gwenvael’s siblings include Morfyd who is a White dragon, a Dragonwitch, a healer, and in love with Sir Brastias, the human general of Annwyl’s armies. Brastias has learned well how to distract dragons, LOL! Keita is a Red slut of a dragon — obviously channeling her grandfather, Ailean — who falls into a nasty trap. Éibhear the Blue is the youngest dragon child and quite obsessed with books and kindness to humans. He’s also in denial about Izzy.

Talaith and Briec are still using arguments as foreplay. Izzy, a.k.a., Iseabail, is Talaith’s daughter and Briec’s acclaimed daughter. She’s in love with Éibhear and determined to fight in Annwyl’s armies much to her mother’s dismay.

Eslyd is Rhiannon’s sister and still hunted by the Southland dragons. She also knows how to heal the torture Gwenvael endures.

The Cadwaladr Clan of dragons is considered low-born and only interested in fighting, fucking, and food and they have no finesse. Comparatively speaking — Bercelak is a Cadwaladr. A fact Dagmar takes great delight in using. Branwen the Black (Ghleanna is Bran’s mother) is one of the Cadwaladr dragons and has taken quite a shine to her “cousin” Izzy. Eilyn is one of the really horny, cheeky ones with an eye to Iseabail for himself.

Eir is a mercenary and charmed by Dagmar’s gift. She’s also Rhydderch Hael’s woman and a goddess of war. Nannulf is the Battle Guardian of war dogs. And both Eir and Nannulf like Dagmar. Rhydderch Hael is the Dragon god who caused Annwyl to become pregnant. Izzy had dedicated her life to him (see About a Dragon) and is she ever pissed off!

Lightning dragons, a.k.a., the Horde dragons, insisted that the truce include a clause forbidding Gwenvael from getting anywhere near Lightning females. Olgeir the Wastrel leads a contingent of Horde dragons and is determined to conquer the Southlands. Not all of his nineteen-plus sons are on his side. Vigholf the Vicious is playing a double game while Ragnar the Cunning has broken from his father.

Elder Eanruig is just dying to put one over on Rhiannon for her perceived sins and he is threatening to take Annwyl’s children when they’re born. But the Elders aren’t the only threat to the babes!
Elestren is a dragon who trains warriors. And Keita will do anything to be taught.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a background with a sunset about to set behind a hill. The distance is emphasized with a close-up of Gwenvael’s naked, muscled torso and a glimpse of his chin.

The best I can imagine about the title is either Queen Rhiannon’s shocking amount of knowledge or the potential for disaster in Gwenvael’s lack of a start.