Review: Breath (Scales ‘n’ Spells (#2) by A.J. Sherwood and Jocelynn Drake

Rating: 4 🌈

Breath is the second book in Sherwood and Drake’s fantasy series and it takes the series off to Finland, Poland..a tiny travelogue of countries really, in search of new mages and Dragon mates for the Burkhard Fire Clan. The path taken through Riga, then Wrocław is so descriptive and charming that you scramble to Google it. Locations are always a plus here.

However with both Origin and now Breath, there was an underlying element that tugged at me when I finished both stories and it took this book to figure out what it was.

I like the fantasy arc the authors have established and the mystery of the enemy mages to overcome. Nor have I mislaid the aspect of the Lost Clans the authors only mentioned in the beginning. All good.

I do like that the story concentrates on the mage for most of the novel. Here it’s Tori Taavi. He’s lived a miserable life in a hidden village that’s pretty much a matriarchal homophobic society where only the females who test out magically are valued, males who do are valued solely as mates to procreate and anyone else is considered worthless. Tori fell in the later as gay and someone who did work magic under their rigid guidelines.

Both Sherwood and Drake do a fantastic job in creating a sympathetic and relatable personality in Tori. He’s so easy to connect with, that making him our window into the story and his personal journey into a new world of hope is amazing. I’m with him and his tale of love and growth all the way.

In fact Tori’s emotional tale overpowers everything here. Baldewin, the sweet giant of a red fire dragon, definitely comes in second as a narrator instead of on equal standing. Same for Baldewin’s story. It’s Tori’s book really, not that I mind. He’s a great character. Much like the first book belonged to Cameron, Cassie, and Ha Na instead of King Alric.

But shouldn’t it be at least more uh… dragon sided too?

Right now it’s all about the mages but we learn very little about dragons here.

That’s part of the issue that’s been troubling me. Dragons, for all the castles and verbiage given to them here, have, little natural history or foundation. So there’s a magical incubator. Great! How does it work?why, other than the war basics, don’t we really know much about dragons here?

The mate ceremony is over before you know it . Which considering that it’s what all the drama and wars were/are fought over, wouldn’t you expect something more uh noteworthy? Here that’s the section that feels the most incomplete. When it should be the most uplifting and important.

And it was that way for both stories. So I see a pattern emerging here.

Great mage characters and their storyline. Lesser dragons characters with a rushed ending.

Thankfully Tori was so great that I really enjoyed his journey and thought Baldewin made a lovely mate for him.

Now onto the novella, Wish.

I’m recommending this because the characters are terrific and fantasy is always my jam.

Read them in the order they are written.

Scales ‘n’ Spells series:

✓ Origins

✓ Breath

◦ Wish: a Novella

◦ Blood

◦ Embers

https://www.goodreads.com › showBreath (Scales ‘N’ Spells #2) by A.J. Sherwood – Goodreads

A Mage’s List for Freedom:

1. Escape his evil, controlling clan.

2. Get a job.

3. Work magic on HIS terms.

4. Avoid all dragons.

Tori was doing great until sexy dragon Baldewin interfered.

Between the little gifts, constant protection, and the steadfast confidence from the overgrown lizard, Tori wonders if maybe that last step needs revising. He has no chance to consider it.

Not before trouble called Jaeggi REALLY hits. Now he’s on the road trip from hell to the one place he’d never thought would be a safe haven. A clan of dragons.

Assuming they make it, that is.

Tags:

Dragon shifters, mages, fated mates, hurt/comfort, enemies to lovers, not mpreg, interracial couple, road trip, No Flying, nope not even with a dragon, dwarf hunting in Poland, Tori needs allll the hugs, Baldewin is happy to supply them, dragons are ninjas, attempted kidnapping, mages being BAMF, insecurity, trust issues, Tori is an arse, Baldewin is adorable, Cassie is over it, virgin character, but not for long fufufufu, dysfunctional family, family of choice, magical realism, cuuuuudles, the authors regret nothing.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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