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Spring's Dragons: Withered Rose*

Complexities in The Realm of Eternal Youth . . . and Beyond

In this first book of the Spring’s Vampire portion of the newly renamed Soulmates of the Seasons series, we first meet Queen Eiar—Eranthe (private name), Lady of Spring, and ruler of The Realm of Eternal Youth. This is a land that has unicorns and leprechauns; there is a dreamlike quality to Eranthe’s descriptions. Vampires are forbidden in the Land of Time, which encompasses all the realms of the seasons, because of some past wrong actions by their predecessors. So the queen is surprised to find three show up in her realm. What are there vampires doing there? What are their plans?

This queen comes across as more naïve than her sister Cassia, though—I have to say—the kitten does have some claws. She lives in a charmed world very different from The Realm of Eternal Ice. As in the Winter’s Dragons portion of this series, this book is narrated by both the queen and the men. Eranthe’s sections have a childlike quality to them, which is very different from Cassia’s in the earlier part of the series. The vampires come across much more forcefully and aren’t quite as distinct as I would have hoped. The dragon shifters in the Winter’s Dragons books definitely each had their own voice. We get to meet the queens’ mother for the first time in this book.

Even though I read all previous books in the series, I found this book to be confusing. There are lots of names of places and worlds (and most places and important people have two names), and these don’t use variants of common English spellings; they are unusual names, so they can be a little hard to wrap your mind around. There also seems to be a complicated history between these different worlds that isn’t fully spelled out, so you have a lot to keep straight in your head as you reading this. An added complexity is that many of the magical beings in this book actually come from the myths of different cultures, some of which are familiar and some of which are not. It’s a little taxing to keep track of and detracts from the enjoyment of the story. The author does have a small guide to the realms in the back of the book, listing the queens and the other essential characters and beings in each realm.

I enjoyed the Winter’s Dragon’s portion of the series more than I enjoyed this installment of the new next part of the series. I will still check out the next book and hope that I will get and keep my bearings better in it than I did in this one.