Scales ‘N’ Spells: Origin – A.J. Sherwood & Jocelynn Drake
Cameron wants to make it clear that he did not go into the festival to find a dragon mate.
Germany is supposed to be an escape. With a new mechanical engineering degree, a new job looming, and a whole life planned out that isn’t his, Germany seems like the best place to find himself.
So how does he end up discovering his lost magic heritage, running from bad guys with a secret agenda, and being adopted by the not-so-extinct Fire Dragon clan?
Cameron blames tall, dark, and sexy Alric, king of the Fire dragons. His fated mate. Because of course he is, and mates are meant to take the blame, right?
It may take a hot second, but as Cameron learns more about the scarred Alric and the life he’s landed in, Cameron realizes that perhaps this is where he’s meant to be, magic and mates and kidnapping and all.
Turns out coming to Germany wasn’t an escape but his awakening.
Not-so-extinct, Shifter dragons, mages, fated mates, secret clans, epic libraries, hurt/comfort, age gap, not that Alric cares, magical heritage, mechanical engineers being BAMF, grumpy dragon kings being protective of their cute mates, really the cuteness is downright criminal, we might need a firehose for these two, or not, sass, so much sass, Ravi and Cameron are no longer allowed to be alone together, for reasons, dragons hoarding, when you live long enough statistics will get you, bats named Cheryl, beheadings, no damsels in distress here, just very unhappy mages, with trigger fingers, anyone have life hacks on how to get rid of kidnappers, Cameron is open to suggestions
Here be DRAGONS!!!
If you love them, this series is sure to make your inner fire-breather rumble.
Those tags up there in the blurb made my day! I think every book should have them.
A.J. Sherwood teamed up with fave author Jocelynn Drake to deliver us this fantastical series, Scales ‘n’ Spells. This is a world of dragons and mages. They work together to create magic. Mages are also extra precious because they are the dragons’ fated mates. However, there was a Great War that wiped out the mages and dragons became extinct. Or so the world thought…
The remaining dragons, like the Fire dragon clan, kept their existence a secret. King Alric and his clan have been searching for a mage for 500 years. They finally found one at the Dragon Festival, an American-Korean tourist named Cameron Park. Alric decided to play tour guide to see what the young man knows. Turns out, Cam had no clue he is a mage or that dragons still exist.
Origin is the first book in the series. It effectively established the Scales ‘n’ Spells world and boy, there was quite a lot to take in. Cam had to learn thousands of years of dragon history, about his own family’s legacy as well as magic spells. There was info-dumping but there was an effort to avoid bogging down the narrative too much. The magic system was explained using simple scientific analogies by Cam as he tried to figure how it worked. I liked this approach because it makes things more straightforward and easier to grasp.
Cam was understandably freaked out upon learning he’s a mage. Still I couldn’t help wishing that maybe MCs can react more like Po from Kung Fu Panda, all gung-ho and fanboy-y about being the chosen one instead of getting hysterical.
That mini-gripe aside, Cam’s fabulous! Flirty, cheerful, intelligent and so very determined to boost people’s self-esteem through compliments. Especially that of a certain broody, pessimistic king. They say a mate is someone who brings joy. And while Cam’s a bit too much at times, the way he lit up Alric’s world was a palpable energy that shone throughout the story.
Many will claim Cam is cute, but really, the most adorkable character of all was Alric. Check out his dragon hoard! The man is regal and dominant, very elegant in his suits, very protective of his Clan. But he can be so endearingly awkward and insecure too. Many times, I wanted to give him a hug.
As the last remaining Burkhart, Alric carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. More so now that they have just found a long-lost mage, someone tried to kidnap their treasured magic user. Alric was always too ready to sacrifice his own happiness for his Clan. The dork even thought he’s unworthy to be anyone’s mate, let alone Cam, because he has a damaged arm. Put this poor king out of his misery, Cam!
I loved the authors’ take on fated mates. It’s started with insta-attraction but then took things slow. Instead of simply being swept away by fate, the two MCs got to know each other properly. The relationship development was a rollercoaster but it’s definitely worth it.
The book as a whole felt a tad too long. There’s the training rigmarole to go through, historical events to recount, the big to-do about Cam’s family, and the mystery of who is behind the kidnappings. It could do without some of these parts. It was like things were happening quickly for Cam in a matter of weeks but it also took a while for the story to get to the point.
The supporting characters though, I loved them! Alric’s friends/courtiers are awesome! Each of them stood out and made me want to know more about them. Baldewin, Ravi, and Gunther each have their own books. I can’t wait for these dragons to find their mates.
I might have some niggles, but overall, I had a lot of fun with Origin. It’s fast-paced and slow-burn, humorous and angsty. This series opener set the wonderful world of dragons and mages. It introduced us to a lovable Fire Dragon king, his beloved little mage, and a wacky family cheering them on. It’s a story 500 years in the making but it’s only just the beginning.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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