Audiobook Review (contains spoilers): SILK & STEEL by Ariana Nash #DarkMM #Dragons #Fantasy

Silk & Steel (Silk and Steel #1)Silk & Steel by Ariana Nash
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
#DarkMM #Dragons #Fantasy

**This review contains spoilers.**

I’m not sure I’d recommend this one unless you have Kindle Unlimited and are curious what this is about. It’s not very romantic. However, the audiobook performance was pretty dramatic and would probably make you feel things.

Like horror and sadness, anger and frustration, and a bit of humor, from dragon Lysander, because elf assassin Eroan is so serious all the time. Because the only fun parts in this book are when Lysander is in scene where nothing violent is happening with an elf. Whenever Lysander is around his dragonkin, something bad is about to happen. His mom is the abusive Amethyst dragon Queen whose only use for him is to mate with a Bronze female dragon and breed more dragons. This is particularly heinous because Lysander is gay.

Meanwhile, Eroan’s only purpose is to kill all the dragons. Elf assassins have attempted to kill the queen, but Eroan is the first elf to actually make it into the dragon tower and reach the Queen’s chambers before he is stopped by Lysander, who doesn’t kill him. Instead, Eroan is captured, tortured, and threatened with rape. During his captivity, he is nearly sexually assaulted twice and Lysander saves him both times. They are only a couple scenes where Eroan and Lysander interact that are physically and sexually non-violent, where they actually talk and kind of get to know each other.

Lysander is also threatened with rape several times. He reacts by getting very angry and wanting to f*** or kill the person who is hurting him. Lysander has done some bad things, forced by his mother to torture Eroan and nearly rape him. But he couldn’t go through with it and killed her instead. I was really glad the author got rid of the Queen in the first half of this novel. But it only means more bad stuff happens to Lysander. While Eroan thinks Lysander’s brother Akiem killed him for killing the Queen, Lysander is hiding out with the bronze dragons who want him to breed with the daughter of the bronze chief.

When the time comes, Lysander is so angry and hurting inside for being forced to do this that he wants to hurt her too. To me, he acts like a rapist. Though the female wanted it, in Lysander’s head, he is angry, he wants to hurt her, he wants power over her, he wants to kill her, and he wants revenge. The scene is written in a way so you won’t be repulsed by Lysander but sympathize with him. It’s kinda twisted. The author makes her characters go through all kinds of bad stuff.

The ending was particularly frustrating. I can’t believe that Eroan wouldn’t even have wanted to question the dragon the humans captured. But I suppose he was so caught up in his emotions he couldn’t think clearly. He was so vengeful too. I didn’t like how he had previously left Lysander to die after Lysander had saved him and killed the Queen. But at the same time, he had experienced a lot of bad stuff when the dragons had him that I can understand why he decided that saving himself was more important. Besides, he didn’t know Lysander that long.

I liked Lysander a lot more than Eroan. The culture, wood elves, their affinity for the sun and light, the pointy ears, their lyrical sounding language were familiar and slightly boring. Yet, at the same time, Eroan’s darkness wasn’t very pleasant. And I didn’t like that there weren’t more nicer dragons in this book. It makes the villains one-dimensional. But I guess it was to show how special and important Lysander is and why we’re supposed to like him. Because he’s the only nice dragon, except for one healer, in the whole story. Not to mention, he seems to have some kind of dragon super power, which has turned him from amethyst to emerald.

Overall, this book is just really weird and twisted. I don’t know how someone could come up with this stuff and why. Because most of the book is about being helpless and powerless and trying to avoid getting raped. It’s awful to be so close to being raped time and time again. The PTSD is strong in this one. Not to mention, the dragon killing ballista and weapons made of dragon teeth instead of dragon glass were very Game of Thrones, so you probably wouldn’t think it was very original if you’ve watched GoT.

Anyway, I will try to read book 2 on Kindle Unlimited since I want to know what will happen next. Especially to Lysander who was captured by the humans in the end. Hopefully not more rape. I’ve seen reviewers compare this to the Captive Prince, but to me, there are many differences. The Captive Prince was more nuanced than this series, the characters were more complex, its plot was more exciting and intriguing, the author’s writing was more captivating, and it was less violent in general.

*This book contains scenes of dubious consent/non-consent, sexual assault, and sexual assault by a parent. (In Captive Prince, the boundaries were much clearer.)

View all my reviews

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