Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I’m reviewing In Search of Pride, book one in the Crimson Realm Chronicles by fellow eXasty Books authors Gabriella Bradley and Taryn Jameson.




In Search of PrideTitle: In Search of Pride
Series: Crimson Realm Chronicles (Book 1)
Authors: Taryn Jameson, Gabriella Bradley
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance, Adult

The gods smile upon a weary warrior…

Blurb:  Brenn, a warrior returning home from battle, rests by a tempting magical pool and meets a siren who changes his life forever.

Bound by a curse, he must find a way to save his pride.

He returns from a war far from his home to find that his village is destroyed and his pride missing. With the help of his guardian dragon, Ciara, he sets out to find his missing family and pride.

After Ciara saves Brenn’s life twice, he begins to realize that he is not as invincible as he once thought. He must accept his limitations and the help of his lifemate to keep him safe.


Brenn swore under his breath. Everything had been as it should on his travels home after he’d left the Clyss. No attacks, everything normal. Why the sudden interest in their realm? The Toubosians had sent several ships, but only one craft had attacked the village and abducted all the occupants? During his travels, he’d heard nothing, no rumors of alien attacks, of spaceship sightings. Would they really send several ships to capture the people from one village? Had the ships returned to Toubos? He doubted it. He had a feeling the ships were hiding somewhere in the far mountain range south of their village—planning another attack?

Were the Toubosians in league with Cewrick, the evil sorcerer who had placed the curse on all shifters? The sorcerer’s castle stood on the highest peak in the center of the Sucronian Mountains, a forbidden mountain range. No one dared to approach it. At the base of the mountains was the Verboten Forest. Its trees were said to have been bespelled by Cewrick and would kill anything or anyone treading the ground below. Large black dragons guarded the castle, along with urcals, giant birds with wingspans as wide as the road in his village. They, too, were black. Their beaks were a bright orange, curved and very sharp, their claws so big they could easily pick up several horses in one swoop, their talons an arm’s length long, and their eyes like glowing embers.

They had all seen the dragons and the birds as they circled above the forbidden forest. Brenn’s father, Yartah, the alpha of their pride, and some of the warriors, including Brenn, had ventured to the edge of the forest when one of their young women had suddenly gone missing. When Huf, a young warrior, rode ahead into the forest, one of the monstrous birds had plucked him and the horse from between the trees and disappeared with them.

After that tragic event, Yartah had doubly enforced the rules. No one was allowed to venture near the forest. Brenn didn’t think after what had happened that anyone would even dare, but one never knew what young people would do. The youngsters thought themselves invincible. The only thing that seemed to scare them was the curse—if they shifted, which usually surfaced during puberty, they could remain a lion forever and lose all humanity.

He turned his attention back to Ivran. His friend was distraught, barely holding onto his human form, his lion fighting to burst free.



First, this is a series so the ending is a HFN.  To find out what happens next, you must read the next book, which I plan on doing, since I have four to read and review.

I’ll get straight to the review.  I really enjoyed the world building in this novel.  At first, I thought it was a fantasy, but the more I read I realised this was also a blending of science fiction, which I really enjoyed.  New character kept popping up and new surprises, a great way to keep the reader reading.  Well done, authors.

Brenn is a strong hero who is used to fighting wars without any assistance, other than from those he leads.  To battle the powerful sorcerer Cewrick, he needs help.  This comes in the form of a woman who can shift into a dragon, and her name is Ciara.

Brenn and Ciara begin to understand they are fated, even though she is a dragon shifter and he is a lion shifter.  To penetrate Cewrick’s lair, they work together and gain a couple of allies along the way.

I liked Cewrick, and I hope there is more about him in the next novel.  He’s mainly spoken about in this book, and I’m very interested in his character and how he came to be.

The love story between Brenn and Ciara mixes with the external plot of saving Brenn’s people from Cewrick and the Toubosians who’ve allied with him.

The dialogue reminds me of medieval times, which I really liked.  Brenn is an honourable man and is a true knight in shining armour.  Ciara possesses magic that is stilted because of the curse Cewrick has laid on her and the other dragon shifters.  Their romance plays out beautifully as they yearn for each other while making the trek to Cerwick’s lair.

It’s a nice slow read, but with lots of action near the end.  I recommend it for curling up on a cozy winter night or a lazy Sunday afternoon.  You’ll lose yourself in the characters and world created by the authors.

Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy at eXtasy Books.

Have you read In Search of Pride?  What did you think of the novel?  And if you didn’t read the book, are you interested in reading it now?

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