First, I will start off by saying if you haven't read the previous books, you need to in order to fully enjoy this series. I have been following Abigail Owens since the first book in Fire’s Edge, and there is a lot of worldbuilding done early on that is important to understand before reading this book. It is what a lot of us long-time readers have been waiting for, because we've always known that the hero would be getting his story at some point. We weren't sure how, we weren't sure when, but somehow Abigail Owen would write him a romance to trump all those before him. And we weren't wrong. This book is my favorite in the series, for both the unique backstory of the heroine and the slow (seriously, so slow) burn between her and the hero. I was in agony as we waited for them to finally come together, which is the best sort of pain while reading. Once the burn is satisfied, there is no better feeling on Earth.
A dragon's mate with a dead mate straddles the human and dragon world with some discomfort. Hadyn Reece was raised by dragon parents after her own parents were killed, alongside her intended mate, at the young age of ten years old. Having shown her dragon sign much younger than normal, she has had a decade to hone her skills and understand her place in the world. With her mate dead, she knew she'd never get another mate, and that's why she is so surprised when she meets Rune Abbadon and feels a strong connection unlike any she has ever felt before. Rune is shocked when he sees a human scaling his mountain, even more so when she looks straight into his hidden camera and calls his name. Curious and full of distrust, he greets her, and when her story checks out, they find themselves on the run from his enemies while simultaneously heading towards even more danger. Hadyn's adopted parents have been kidnapped, and Rune is the one they told Hadyn to come to for help. In exile as a rogue, Rune has few allies, but it's not in his nature to turn away a dragon's mate in need. Thus begins a journey many years in the making, with the ending uncertain and the path full of hidden surprises.
Beyond an obvious fated mates trope at work here, we also have several other elements to this story that really whet my appetite for more. One, Rune is a seemingly morally grey character for most of this series, so to suddenly see him as a man worthy of redemption is catnip to me. He is also a big old Grump next to Hadyn's Sunshine, which is also something I love to read. Hadyn was bubbly and outspoken, while Rune was sullen and of few words, which made their interactions all the more hilarious. She kept trying to get under his skin, and when it worked, he was so shocked, making me laugh every time. At one point she got him to smile, and it was just so adorable to see him start to come out from behind this wall he had built for himself. He was so used to being rejected and thought of as the enemy, and when no one else had believed him about the mates being mated against their will, he expected Hadyn to do the same. Instead, this woman who hadn't known him for very long, saw the good in him. It was heartwarming to see Rune finally get the support he had deserved for so long. Hadyn was good for him, in ways he had never thought possible.
Abigail Owen continues to impress me with her writing, and although the previous book in this series wasn't one I enjoyed, I feel that this book makes up for it in spades. So many characters to love, and I am so looking forward to seeing what she writes next.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**