Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Mouse and Dragon is the sequel to another Liaden book, Scout's Progress, which is notable for being a romance that completely and frustratingly skipped the romantic denouement. Mouse opens with the romantic denouement that Scout's elided. Better late than never!

I enjoyed this book about as well overall as Conflict of Honors. It has some of the same faults as Conflict -- the characters feel a little flat, the male lead is SO GOOD at absolutely everything, and there's not a lot of tension for most of the story. But it has a bunch of good emotional bits, the main characters are likable, and I generally enjoyed reading their story. Also, I had been so annoyed by the lack of romantic denouement in Scout's that it felt great to finally read that part. So I'll give it a 7.

I can't discuss the genre on this book without spoilers. That said, I will strive for a minimum of spoilers.

In the romance genre, the book has to end happily and with the romantic leads united. Mouse is a romance in every respect except this one. In fact, while Conflict works as an action/adventure, Mouse doesn't work as anything but a romance. The majority of the book's tension and almost all of the narrative is focused on the character development of the two protagonists and on their relationship. It does a good job at this. If you stop reading at the end of chapter 36, it's a romance. But the book goes on from the apparent happily-ever-after at the end of chapter 36, and ruins it in the remaining 30 pages. The actual end is bittersweet at best.

I can't say the depressing events of the denouement were themselves surprising, because I read Agent of Change and knew what was coming. But I was shocked that Lee and Miller chose to include them. Happy endings are a matter of knowing when to stop, and the happy ending for this book would've stopped it about 25 pages earlier.

So there's that.

I'm still glad I read it, but I do want to warn romance readers that it's NOT a happily-ever-after romance. D:
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