dragonactually I recently read a book for review that I went into with very low expectations. It was a Viking romance called The Norse King’s Daughter by Sandra Hill. Generally, Vikings are not my cup of tea, but I was willing to take a shot at it. As I began reading it, I realized that this was no ordinary Viking novel. It was something different. It was, in fact, right up my alley. It was a book I would classify as a romantic comedy of romance novels and this is one of many I have read and enjoyed recently. Many readers associate romantic comedy with contemporary settings and perhaps Regency-set historicals, but they pop up in other subgenres as well.

I hadn’t expected to enjoy so many of these sorts of books, but that’s exactly what’s been happening to me. Over the summer I stumbled upon a book called Dragon Actually. I think that I found it through an Amazon link that came from another book I enjoyed, Dragon Bound. I expected a similar book to Dragon Bound, an intense Urban Fantasy Romance. What I got instead was a book that I say, when highly recommending it, is like the Monty Python of romance novels. Dragon Actually is a part of a series of books known as the Dragon Kin series and they are just flat out hysterical. When reading one of them in bed one night, I literally fell off the bed from laughing so hard. These books are irreverent and campy and just so darn lovable. In these books, the language may seem cheesy, but when you see that it’s all very tongue in cheek and that it’s supposed to be that way, you can start to really appreciate the books the way they were meant to be appreciated.

Let me give you just a small taste. In this excerpt, Dagmar and Gwenvael are the heroine and hero of the book and Dagmar is meeting Gwenvael’s family for the first time. They are a rather loud, sarcastic, and snarky bunch. Gwenvael is a dragon who takes human form as an imposing and incredibly handsome knight while Dagmar is a small, fragile, plain woman with glasses whose nickname is the Beast because she is so cunning and manipulative.

Dagmar said, “It’s time for you to stop talking.”

“I don’t want to.”

“But you will stop talking.”

“We’re on my territory now, Beast. You can’t strut around here and pretend you rule all—”

“Quiet.”

“But—”

She raised her right forefinger.

“She—”

Dagmar raised that damn forefinger higher.

“It’s just—”

Now she brandished both forefingers. “Stop.”

He gave Dagmar his best pout, which she completely ignored, turning her back on him to again face Annwyl. “Think there might be some place private we can talk, my lady?”

Gwenvael’s mouth dropped open. “Did you just dismiss—”

Dagmar held up that damn forefinger again but didn’t even bother to look at him when she did.

Annwyl’s grin was wide and bright. A smile Gwenvael hadn’t seen from her in

far too long. “Right this way, Lady Dagmar.”

And the books go on quite like this, filled with strong personalities and all kinds of banter – banter from completely antisocial, sarcastic dragons. They are a perfect blend of humor and romance, just like a good romantic comedy at the movies.

This has been a growing trend in the world of romance novels. The Viking book that I read is a part of another series that seems to be just like the Dragon Kin books. Though the one I read, The Norse King’s Daughter, is the fifth in the series, the earlier ones are supposed to be even better. The first in the series is My Fair Viking and I have every intention of going back and reading the series from the beginning. Everything about the book makes more sense now that I have read it. From the cheesy bodice ripper cover to the use of the term “woman channel” on the seventh page, all of it brings a smile to my face now.

Now, will these books top best seller charts nationwide? Maybe not. Are these the kind of romance novels that tug at your heart strings and make you want to laugh and cry because they are so tender and sweet? Definitely not. But they are the kind of books where you laugh until you cry and for pure entertainment value, nothing beats it. So far, in addition to the Viking series by Sandra Hill and the Dragon Kin series by G.A. Aiken, the other series that I have looked into is the Pride series by Shelley Laurenston (which happens to be G.A. Aiken’s real name) and those books are on my TBR list now. These books are a change of pace and I’m starting to see more of them. Will they appeal to everyone? Definitely not. But if you are in the mood for something a little lighter and snarkier, you might want to consider giving these a try. They entertain me, and I am very glad that I took the chance on them. I think that you will be, too!

– Louise VanderVliet