Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers.
But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer.
But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright.
An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don’t want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.
A fantasy inspired by medieval Spain with Dragonadors and dragons? I was ready to armchair travel and be swept away.
The setting is one of my favorite aspects of the story. The vivid descriptions of the sights, clothing, traditions, dances, and food (seriously, I was hungry every time food was mentioned) made it easy to immerse myself in this world. Magic (simple to complicated spells) is a part of the culture, but doesn’t play a huge part in the plot. Spanish language is interspersed with English and gives the dialogue more of an authentic feel.
I have mixed feelings about Zarela. After her father is injured during a dragon attack, Zarela immediately jumps into action and is determined to save her home and preserve the family name and honor. I admired that. But some of the ways she goes about this didn’t sit well with me. Arturo is brooding, snarly (did I just make up a word?), and stubborn, but with his love of dragons he grows on you and is easily my favorite character. He and feisty, determined Zarela clash from the moment they meet, but it’s no secret this is an enemies to lovers romance, and there are some pretty steamy moments between them that will make romance fans cheer.
It was easy to guess who’s working against the Zalvidar family, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this adventurous, fiery (literally) tale. I know it’s a standalone, but if the author chooses to revisit this world, I’d go back in a heartbeat.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.