Today I am reviewing ‘Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders’ by Aliette de Bodard which is out next month, and I hope that you will check out this fantastic book.
*Disclaimer – I received an e-arc via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Lunar New Year should be a time for familial reunions, ancestor worship, and consumption of an unhealthy amount of candied fruit.
But when dragon prince Thuan brings home his brooding and ruthless husband Asmodeus for the New Year, they find not interminable family gatherings, but a corpse outside their quarters. Asmodeus is thrilled by the murder investigation; Thuan, who gets dragged into the political plotting he’d sworn off when he left, is less enthusiastic.
It’ll take all of Asmodeus’s skill with knives, and all of Thuan’s diplomacy, to navigate this one—as well as the troubled waters of their own relationship….
I had heard a lot about this book, and even though I hadn’t read the original series (something I will be rectifying asap) I leapt at the chance to read this one and to be honest, I was sold at Dragon Prince and Fallen Angel. As a newcomer to this world, I found that it worked wonderfully as a standalone, although I did feel that I missed out on some nuance from not having read the series, and I will reread this one again once I have to see what a difference it makes.
This was such an entertaining read from start to finish, and I couldn’t put it down. The main reason was the relationship and interactions between Asmodeus and Thuan, who seem like they should be completely at odds, and are yet perfect together and complement one another. There was loyalty and devotion to their relationship and a maturity that made it so believable, without either losing their individuality for the sake of the other or those around them. I adored Asmodeus from the start, his sarcasm and his way of seeing the world around him were fantastic, and the protectiveness of his own household and I loved how utterly unapologetic he was about being himself. Thuan, on the other hand, was a lot gentler, more responsible and more willing to play by the rules. Honestly, they had so many moments throughout the entire story, that had me falling in love with them and their relationship.
The murder mystery aspect of the story was well done, although without some of the usual tension and urgency that you would find in such a tale. However, that is a credit to the book – because it reflected not only the investigators, with their own interests and issues – such as Asmodeus having a clear desire to return home, but also that the murder mystery was only part of a larger, overarching plot and so it’s not just a simple case of ‘whodunnit’, and therefore the tension came from the wider questions.
That was what stood out for me about this book, that beneath the wonderful characters and relationships, and the fun, there were deeper themes of justice and the question of power. With brewing rebellion, lies and court politics, there were layers upon layers to this story.
Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders (Dominion of the Fallen #3.5) – Aliette de Bodard (Release date 7th July 2020, JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.) – **** (4/5 Stars)
Preorder links: Amazon UK | Amazon US
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.