While holding an interesting premise by blending science fiction and fantasy, Love in the Age of Dragons focuses on an underdeveloped and rushed romance.
Love in the Age of Dragons follows Ayanna, living in an underground community in the abandoned subway tunnels. Years before, her father, a renowned scientist, opened a wormhole to a faraway galaxy that allowed Dragons to invade. These dragons are not the ones some may be familiar with, intelligent creatures full of magic and wonder. Instead, they are more primal, more animalist.
Now, this change was not a bad one. The dragons are monsters here to the humans, hunters. So that part of the story was interesting, seeing how humans struggle to survive in a modern realm against beasts that have only lived in fiction until now.
Unfortunately, that was all that was interesting in the story.
The romance that built up between Ayanna and Jackson was incredibly rushed. However, the moment they meet, saving each other from dragons, there is an instant attraction between the characters. While the insta-love trope may not be my favorite, there was potential to develop the bond between the characters.
However, just as quickly as they are brought together, they are separated. That is until he goes looking for her at her settlement.
Even when he is there, there seems to be very little interaction between them. Yes, they share some heartfelt stories about their parents and their situations. However, as quickly as their bond forms, it breaks apart again into something incredibly predictable.
There is also a half-developed love triangle between Ayanna, Jackson, and Richard. Richard and Ayanna are childhood friends who had a falling out when the dragons invaded. But the story likes to hint that they were more. However, Ayanna shuts that down quickly. Nevertheless, it is evident from the tension between them that there is something there. I wish Henson had focused more on that tumultuous bond between Richard and Ayanna because that had much more depth and could have been something good.
There were also some problems with the characterization.
Ayanna has so much potential to be something formidable. However, Henson does not work hard enough to grow the character out of her insecurities. She is training to be the onsite doctor of the community. Still, she has so little belief in herself that she endangers her well-being to procure medicine to prolong the current doctor’s life.
While admirable, Henson focuses too much on the characters’ insecurities and doubts to make her a force to be reckoned with. Maybe this is to make her more relatable to the reader. In the beginning, this is fine. However, as the story goes on, it becomes tiresome.
Again, there is potential! Her inner narrative wants to scream and shout and make the council take notice of everything wrong they are doing. But instead, she keeps her voice locked up and continues to fall back within herself instead of standing up for herself.
There is so much potential in Love in the Age of Dragons. Not only a good novel but also a good series. However, despite not being an avid romance lover, I wanted more depth to the relationships and more development in the romance between the characters.