The Cursed King by Abigail Owen

53095571._SY475_Title: The Cursed King (Inferno Rising 4)
Author: Abigail Owen
Published: October 2021
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Readership: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of the The Cursed King from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Airk Azdajah, the rightful King of the White Clan of dragon shifters, spent half a millennium being tortured by the false High King Pytheios. The only reason he’s alive is a curse— the man to kill Airk will be consumed in his own fire. Which is why Pytheios kept Airk alive, barely, unable to shift in his prison cage, driving the creature half of him into madness. Airk escaped, but he’ll never be truly free. What good is a king who can never let his feral dragon loose, never fly, and never lead his people? He’s better off dead.

Angelika Amon is the last unmated phoenix. The problem? She has no powers. Zip. Zilch. Angelika hates being dormant, especially now that her three sisters are blissfully mated to powerful dragon shifter kings and are very much part of the fight to take down the rotting king Pytheios, their parents’ killer. What good is a useless runt of a phoenix in a battle to save the dragon kingdom?

Desperate to find some way to help, she offers herself to Airk as a mate — just for political leverage. But a dormant phoenix is no damn use to him just like a dragon who can’t shift is no use to her. Until Pytheios sets his sights on Angelika for himself…

Each book in the Inferno Rising series is STANDALONE:
* The Rogue King
* The Blood King
* The Warrior King
* The Cursed King

Set on Earth, the dragon clans are trying to unit against the false High King intent on ruling them all. Once a prison of the High King, Airk has the last legitimate claim to the White Dragon throne, but he’s damaged from his time away from his people, unable to shift and likely to turn on his allies as easily as his friends. Enter Angelika Amon, the final of the Amon sisters, born to a phoenix mother and the only unmated left of her family. Her fate is pulling her in the direction of Airk, but politics, feelings and war keep getting in the way.

I have to admit to having conflicted feelings about this book. It is, for all intents and purposes, a great dragon shifted paranormal romance book – it’s well written, there’s great big battle sequences. It’s definitely not a fantasy – it’s set in our world, with known locations and supernatural beings inhabiting it, as well as humans (not that we spend any time with the humans) – but at times it felt very much like it was walking that line from urban to high fantasy and that’s not always my favourite. I think part of my – the part that had read all three previous books – was committed to seeing the series through to the end, and I’m not sorry about that. I just wish I’d enjoyed it a little more.

Airk and Angelika are two characters I enjoyed quite a bit. I do feel like their relationship was on/off again a bit too often and then suddenly they were on (and I can’t say why but the reason for acceptance felt a bit rushed to me) and I honestly felt like I had whiplash trying to keep up with what was going on. Their own internal conflicts around their roles in their society and how to earn the trust of the white dragons, though? That was fascinating and what kept me reading.

Ultimately this book wraps up the over-arching plot and there were a few twists thrown in at the end that made that longer running plot line a satisfying end. The whole series is relatively solid, and it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for an epic dragon shifter paranormal romance.

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