In Sacrificed to the Dragon by Jessie Donovan, Melanie Hall offers herself as a sacrifice to one of the British dragon-shifter clans in exchange for a vial of dragon’s blood to save her brother’s life. To become a sacrifice, one must agree to spend six months in the company of the dragon-shifters in an effort to start a family.
But her dragonman is a tough assignment. He towers above everyone else and is a true alpha male. There’s just one catch: he actively dislikes people.
Tristan MacLeod hates people because human dragon hunters killed his mother. Unfortunately, his clan needs children to replenish their numbers, therefore he must now perform sexual acts on a human female. He wants to sleep with her and then just leave, but something inside of him is a dragon and won’t let him.
The voluptuous human female appeals to his baser instincts more than anything else.
Initially, I found the author’s portrayal of the protagonist’s decision to move in with a dragon-shifter clan as a “sacrifice” to be a bit much. After all, one normally associates that term with passing away, while the focus of this agreement appears to be sexual.
Melanie will spend six months with a dragon in an attempt to conceive in exchange for a vial of life-saving dragon’s blood. However, it doesn’t take long to realize that most women who engage in such a deal aren’t resilient enough to make it through the ordeal of giving birth to a dragon.
The female victim almost always perishes as a result. Surprisingly, the sacrificial label fits a little better.
The novel’s idea seemed to have all the makings of an exciting and spectacular read: a fanciful relationship with all the makings of a real one. Mixed race offspring of a human and a dragon. A legally binding contract to produce a child in exchange for the lifesaving blood her brother required.
Relocating to a small dragon town that doesn’t trust visitors. Dragon slayers, for the love of God! The fun must begin!!! After the basic plot is laid out and the major players are presented, the story never truly rises to the level it could have.
Melanie becomes pregnant nearly soon, eliminating any doubt about her ability to keep her end of the arrangement. After that, our curiosity would naturally turn to the potential danger to Melanie during delivery.
But this doesn’t appear to be a major concern for our protagonist, or at least we’re not shown any increasing anxiety as her pregnancy develops that makes this seem like a major issue. Melanie, Tristan, and Tristan’s dragon are the only characters, so the story focuses on their relationships and Melanie’s attempts to fit in with her new surroundings.
Another factor that I believed may create fascinating tension was Melanie’s resentment for the dragon folk, but this was another aspect that never led to any kind of physical confrontation. Instead, the novel’s conflict is between Melanie and Tristan, and perhaps even more so between Tristan and his dragon.
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Tristan’s dragon knows from the moment they meet that Melanie is his mate, and the desire to take her as his own is immediate. In spite of this, it is clear that Tristan spends the majority of the novel struggling against the emotional attachment his dragon seems to have to Melanie.
There is clearly sexual chemistry between them, but I honestly doubt that Tristan would be all that interested in Melanie if we hadn’t seen such need on the part of his dragon to be near Melanie.
The novel had the makings of a masterpiece, but the action and tension fell short of my expectations. The lack of any overt combat with the dragon hunters was the most frustrating part of the novel for me. The one action scene that does involve them occurs “off camera,” and we only catch a glimpse of its aftermath.
Tristan’s inner monologues and debates with his sexual dragon are hilarious, and the combination of their erotic urgency and the narration’s voice (who sounded like a stuffy British librarian) made for some unexpectedly funny moments.
In general, I felt that Tristan spent too much time attempting to deny his feelings for Melanie, and his dedication to her never convinced me.
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