Review: Legend of the Highland Dragon by Isabel Cooper ★★

17225973Legend of the Highland Dragon by Isabel Cooper
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Series: n/a
Publication Date: December 3rd 2013
ISBN: 9781402284670
Page Count: 352
Rating: ★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey
Buy Link: AMAZON
Synopsis: The MacAlasdairs are not like other men.

Descendants of an ancient alliance, they live for centuries, shifting between human and dragon forms. Some wander the earth; some keep to their lands in Scotland. And Stephen MacAlasdair, the newest lord of the family, must go to London to settle his father’s business affairs. He brings an object of great power and greater darkness. He finds an enemy from his past, whose wrath is still living and deadly. And he meets an ally he’d never have expected.

1894 London, doesn't provide an easy life for women of the lower class, but Mina Seymour has managed to work herself up to a position as the secretary of a famous scholar. When a tall, dark Scottish stranger demands to see her employer, Mina is irritated; when MacAlasdair's departure leaves the professor worried, she’s suspicious. Determined to figure out the situation, she investigates further - and finds a world and a man she could never have imagined.

Obscure reference alert!

Naturally, you'll recall the scene in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey where Bill and Ted, after being killed by evil android versions of themselves, end up in Hell, which simply does not meet their hellish expectations after the depictions of it they've seen previously on the covers of their hard rock albums. Which leaves them with a profound sense of deception.

Just so:

Well, that's kind of how I feel about LEGEND OF THE HIGHLAND DRAGON. I feel lied to by the cover. You see, it makes you expect certain things. For example, please see Exhibit A. A sword. Now, forgive me, but if it's on the cover, it should be in the book somewhere, right? Mentioning the lead character has a sword on display over his fireplace is not sufficient. I want the sword-wielding warrior from the cover, please. Instead, Stephen MacAlasdair was a refined, well-to-do gentleman with perfect tea-drinking etiquette. There wasn't even the barest hint of rugged warriorness to his character.

Then we have Exhibit B. A kilt. There was no wearing, or mention of, a single kilt in this book. To even have the word "Highland" on the cover, and then have him be more English than Scottish, in waistcoat and trousers and living in London, was just an affront. He had the barest hint of a Scottish accent, but otherwise seemed like any other English toff. As a big reader of Highland romances, this meant I missed out on a lot of what I love about the genre - clan life and the colourful characters usually associated with it, for one. So this was yet another disappointment.

And finally, Exhibit C. The biggest lie of all. Now where do you suppose this book is set? Well, let's refer to the cover. Now, where could that be...The wilds of Scotland? Some remote, picturesque Scottish isle, perhaps?

WRONG! It's set in smoggy, foggy, stuffy and uptight Victorian England. It's much more in the vein of a regency style historical mystery than the Scottish Romance it seems to so blatantly offer. This has to be by far the most misleading aspect of the whole thing, and I am now officially wearing my unhappy face.

And the thing is, none of these things actually affect the quality of the story, and, indeed, it was a pleasant enough book with decent characters, if a bit flat and reserved. BUT IT WASN'T WHAT IT PROMISED TO BE! That's my gripe, and one I can't seem to get past. That, and that the climactic ending was very rushed. Seeming to both start and finish within the last 5% of the book.

So, all together, not a particularly satisfying read at all. And I know what you're thinking - You're not supposed to judge a book by its cover blah, blah, blah. But I always thought that was in reference to covers that may not live up to the gloriousness of the words inside, not because they're just plain inaccurate.

2 Stars ★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. It is very annoying when a book does not live up to its own advertising!

    1. Very! This isn't the first instance of this I've experienced. It's like they think, "We'll hook the Highlander crowd with this cover for sure!" *rubs hands together in glee*. Well, yes you probably will. And then you'll ROYALLY PISS THEM OFF!

  2. Ok, yeah sure, we're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover. But come on!! And this isn't even just a cover lie- it's a title lie! That wouldn't work for me either. Good to know, I have this on my tbr for all the reasons that apparently aren't actually in the book!



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