Book Review – The Goshawk and the Dragon by Lila Mina

Book Review – The Goshawk and the Dragon by Lila Mina

This book was the first I’ve read from this author and is a prequel to their published Temper series. The main characters, Kyoko and Date, are the past-life versions of Mina’s characters from her other books. Honestly, this is one of those premises that made me laugh (positively.) Why not right? It’s an original world-building technique and I never once felt like I was missing something or that I was expected to know other details from the series.

There were elements of this story that I really enjoyed. For one, I’ve never read a period romance in Feudal Japan before. There are vivid, immersive descriptions of battles that reflect the brutal nature of medieval history. Honestly, I’d love to read more romance books set during this period- rather than seeing book after book set in high-class Georgian Britain. The romance itself comes from two clans engaged in war, for what appeared to be no other reason than honour and pride, which seemed very accurate for the time.

Both protagonists of the book are also bisexual, which is a detail I personally loved. Not just for the element of representation, but the reminder that there are historical periods where people were less homophobic than some people now. The main characters have this intense connection that you feel both in their interactions as a couple and at war.

My main criticism is that there isn’t much “romance” between the characters. There is a lot of sexual content and their attraction to each other is obvious. There just doesn’t appear to be much actual romantic chemistry between them. There are also elements of the plot that got my attention, such as Date’s backstory and his foster mother, that don’t really get the attention they deserve.

Overall, it this read was positive for me, but be prepared for adult content to pop out of nowhere!

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