A stolen artefact.
An ancient dragon.
One man’s final chance.
Life-long thief Apollo Tamlin has been marked for execution. When the mage Queen Surayo offers him a pardon, he doesn’t ask questions – any task she has is better than a walk to the gallows.
Succeed, and not only will it preserve peace in his homeland, but Apollo can rebuild the life he’s ruined.
Sent to a distant continent to feed a stolen artefact to an ancient and powerful dragon spirit sounds simple, but things quickly start going wrong. His companions are not what they seem, the dragon would rather eat him, and the artefact displays its own magic – throwing the entire mission into peril.
The Citrine Key is a FREE novella which you can also obtain by signing up to Lauren’s mailing list at https://llmacrae.com/ (it’s actually not the only free story you get).
Firstly I love the cover on this Novella and also the other books in this series (The Iron Crown and The Shadow Gate). I love the golden colour on the dark background and the consistent effect that the item on the covers are burning away of fading.
The Citrine Key introduces us to three characters. Apollo, Malora and Yorik. Not much is known about these characters initially but with some conversational pieces we find out that Apollo is on a mission for the queen to feed an item to an ancient spirit dragon. Malora is an on/off love interest who has agreed to help and Yorik is a bit of a mystery but came from the same prison cell as Apollo.
This feels like a mix between a character driven and plot driven story because there is the overarching plot to complete the mission but there is some stuff going on between Apollo and Malora that occurs before this story. There is also a mystery behind Yorik, why he is with them and what his story is.
I really liked the whole ancient dragon spirit in this story as it was a really different take on the whole fantasy dragon that I have read before. Making them these powerful spirits that inhabit different parts of the land is interesting because it gives them a personality, a character, rather than just being this huge flying lizard that might eat you.
Finally, and without any spoilers, I really liked the ending to this book. That last 20% where it all goes down was great and really sets up an exciting premise for The Iron Crown which I plan to read in the next 3 books on my TBR. I would really recommend you pick this novella up and get yourself a free entry into The World of Linaria.