A dragon shapeshifter and a healer with power over the earth fight a corrupt empire in this thrilling and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.
Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it's far more than what it seems.
Dragas haven't been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They're wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him--unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.
Unbeknownst to both, the Empire's twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire's machinations and his own lethal birthright.
Draven takes readers on a sweet romantic adventure in the solid second fantasy of her Fallen Empire series (after Phoenix Unbound). Malachus, a draga trapped in a human body, is searching for a bone from his dead mother that would allow him to return to his true form. His quest takes him through the Krael Empire and puts him in the path of Hilani and her group of human traders, but not before he sustains a serious injury. Though Hilani knows that her uncle has the draga bone and intends to resell it for profit, she risks taking Malachus in to give him the chance to heal. Hilani's illegal talent for elemental sorcery makes her wary around new people, but she cannot deny the pull of Malachus as their attraction blossoms into a powerful bond. But Malachus's single-minded search and Hilani's many secrets throw their relationship into jeopardy. The intimate focus on this slow-burning love story leaves little space for exploration of the larger fantasy world, but the characters are endearing and their mutual respect is palpable. Draven's fans will be pleased by this entertaining if slow-moving series installment.