Yes, I have read this book before (uncountable times). Yes, I greatly enjoy it every single time. Yes, it is a romance (mixed with fantasy, how cool is that?). No, this review is not biased because of any of this. I want to make this perfectly clear. I want and expect my reviews to be truthful, as I'm sure you do too. I work to point out the good as well as the bad. If you think I'm not doing well with this, please tell me.
The story is told well, good word choice, great character portrayal, enthralling plot. Of course, some of the descriptions are kind of gooey (to use my word for descriptions that are almost gag inducing) but it's a romance. Example, pg. 264: She'd wanted him to, even turned her cheek to his-sandalwood, smoothly shaved skin-but he'd only settled back into the other seat when he was done, watching her silently with hooded eyes. This book isn't incredibly gooey as some romances are (not that I've read any others besides this one, they're usually not my thing) but there are still areas of the book that are just dripping with gooeiness. Though, if you think about it, that's why a lot of people read romances, I suppose, so that's not necessarily a bad thing. The only other writing hitch that I found was this. Exhibit A, pg. 190: And with just that, the sight of another drakon with his hand upon her, hard white fingers over the pale shimmer that was Rue, the last scrap of clear will that was Christoff scorched to ash. That's all fine in itself. Now view Exhibit B, pg. 238: And the silky smoke that was Christoff began to gather, dropping to her palm, sliding into a corkscrew down her arm. Notice anything funny there? I did. And if it stuck out to me who knows how many other people caught it. Somebody's editor should have noticed that (have I mentioned that's what I want to be when I'm actually old enough?).
Now, this is a romance. It has sex scenes. That's why it's called a romance (sort of). I have owned this book since I was 10 (let's get any gasps out of the way). You have to understand that with where I live, and with my friends, you have to be careful with things you say. They can turn anything 'bad'. So, things like sex scenes aren't really that big of a deal to me. I hear stuff like that every day, and probably things that are a lot cruder. Of course, they're still a big thing to my parents. I feel weird reading this book around grown-ups sometimes. If you're over, let's say, 16, you may not have this problem but if you're not, I recommend reading it hidden away in your room if you want to thoroughly enjoy it. The sex scenes are written well, a little gooey, but which ones aren't? It makes me feel things and that's what good writing is supposed to do.
It also has a great deal of fantasy. I mean, the main characters are drakon. They can turn into smoke as well as dragons. Their are also plenty of thieves walking around, from Rue, who takes precious jewel items from London's richest families, the other runner (Tamlane Williams) who steals pearls and Mim who helps find buyers for these stolen stones, to Zane, the street urchin. The main conflict is also centered more around the fantasy than the romance. It's a good book for people who love both genres.
Overall, this book is great, in my opinion. It's the beginning of a trilogy that continues with The Dream Thief and The Dragon Queen. I've been fortunate enough to read The Dream Thief though I do not own it and I can't wait to get my hands on The Dragon Queen. Shana Abe is an awesome writer who knows what she's doing.
The next book along the Reading Trail? Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This is the Treasury of Illustrated Classics edition so I'm fairly sure it's condensed.