Michelle M Pillow is actually one of my first author with scifi romance and I’ve read most of her books (Dragon Lords, Lord of Var, Galaxy Playmates and Zhang Dynasty)in my early days during university and surprisingly I really enjoy it with my current rereading. Mostly since I’ve been reading depressing crap lately that made this pulpy indie romance an enjoyable experience. That and the fact I’ve recently found out about the continuation of the Dragon Lord series that I’m plowing through some of my old Pillow reads to fill in my reading challenge.
“The Savage King” is a direct continuation from the fourth Dragon Lords series. Unlike that series, Lord of Var is set in a linear timeline as the series goes on. Its quite a standalone book but you’ll miss some key point of the story that tie up the four dragon lords books together. The book started with Agent Ulyssa Payne who went undercover and hitch a ride with the Galaxy Bride agency to track down a crime boss but due to the events in the Dragon Lords series, she was left stranded on the barbaric planet. But the Var King Attor accidentally found her and kidnap her to add her into his collection. Lyssa was unwillingly held captive inside Attor’s harem for days until she found a chance to escape but she fell upon the arms of Attor’s eldest son, Prince Kirill.
I always did like Lyssa and Kirill’s interactions in this book. Lyssa was a spunky independent secret agent and Kirill was an alpha barbaric sexy warrior shifter prince slash king who doesn’t know how to handle a girl and Lyssa isn’t any kind of girl. As usual, this leads to a lot of interesting scenes between them.
Unlike a lot of novels, Lyssa isn’t one of those fake strong action girl character. She’s not the ones majority PNR writers love to write and gave up with the strong girl halfway and turn her into witless girl drowning in a puddle who can’t handle a very masculine character. It is a sexy romance novel so naturally there will be some bed action but Lyssa is still the spunky independent girl she is until the end of the novel. She fought hard against her captive (no Stockholm syndrome here, she really did get herself into the mess on her own), she try to reason with Kirill on most thing he couldn’t grasp on woman psyche and at times frustrated by him and also found herself self-conscious about falling in love. She can fight on her own against any opponent but if you’re in a planet where every guy was either a dragon or a cat shifter, thats hard. Personally, I don’t really care much about too much character depth with a romance novel but there’s some part about Lyssa that hook me on. (So was most of the female characters written by Ms Pillow)
As a bodice ripper character King Kirill is quite a lovable guy on its own. He had some issues with his father’s upbringing but luckily he’s quite a normal guy with normal issue. Besides, the first time Kirill and Lyssa met where she basically paw all over him, he noted that she’s been drugged by an aphrodisiac. Instead of taking advantage of her, he let her go to sleep it all out. Of course there’s a lot of sexy moments between them and a lot of misunderstand, but here’s the thing, Kirill respect her as a woman. She’s a strange unconventional girl but nobody is romanticising abuse here. This isn’t a captive romance fantasy with paperthin characterization. All of the characters in the book was in some way a character of their own, you get all the four couples from the Dragon Lords series and then you get some introduction with Kirill’s brothers and I do have some favourites like Falke and Jarek. Although I didn’t really care about the overwhelming amount of pregnancies in the book but you got to be cheesy at some point right?
Its been years but I’m glad that I found myself liking the series again. Var series have always been a favourite of mine more than Draig series. I think because I got sick of all the bodice ripper werewolf/vampire PNR indie books I’ve been reading that I went back to my old favourites. The world need more scifi romance and also, tiger shifters. I need more tiger shifters.