Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series
An infamous Russian mobster has come to New York, ostensibly for the opening of an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art featuring his seven cursed diamonds known as the Dragon Eggs. But the agents of Supernatural Protection and Investigation (SPI) know that the gems also have magical powers and that a dragon is not so easily parted from his horde, so they suspect he has an ulterior motive. They stake out the exhibit, only to have the diamonds stolen by a trio of harpies. Agent Makenna Fraser and her partner Ian Byrne only have a few days to find the diamonds before they can be used to decimate the supernatural population.
I like that Lisa Shearin uses monsters from classic literature in this series–the first book featured grendels and The Dragon Conspiracy has harpies and gorgons–but places them in a thoroughly modern setting. I also love the motley crew of elves and goblins and various other species that makes up the supporting cast. I like that Mac seems to be making friends with some of the female agents at SPI, but other than Yasha the werewolf driver, some of my previous favorites aren’t around as much in this book.
I really wanted to love this book. I didn’t have any problems with the plot. There was even a big twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting. But I still had some major issues. At the end of The Grendel Affair, Mac is contemplating a relationship with Ian. Now he’s back in overprotective big brother mode and she’s encouraging him to date someone else. Ten months have passed, but there wasn’t really an explanation for the change.
What really bothered me though, is that the narrative felt disorganized. I seriously wanted to get a red pen and start editing. (I’m sure my Kindle screen is happy that I didn’t.) There’s a lot of unnecessary recapping of things in previous books that aren’t really relevant to this one. Background information gets repeated three different times. In one case Mac explains something at the Museum, then goes back to the office and asks her boss a question, receiving the exact same explanation. How could she explain it before if she didn’t know yet? That happens again at the end of the book where Mac gets a description of the location in a briefing and then repeats the same description when she arrives there in the next chapter. Other than that instance though, the problem was mostly confined to the first third of the book.
Even though I’m a little bit disappointed in The Dragon Conspiracy, I still have high hopes for the next book in the series. I love Shearin’s humor and I’m really curious about a how a particular development at the end of this one will play out.
Sexual content: none