Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Review – “Up in Smoke” by Katie MacAlister

Though May Northcott's heart belongs to Gabriel Tauhou, leader of the silver dragons, being stuck in Abaddon has significantly cooled down her love life--especially since a demon lord is trying to woo her. So far, May has resisted his efforts, but it's getting increasingly harder to thwart disaster.

So May is shocked when Gabriel encourages her to give in to the demon prince. But her fire-breathing boyfriend has an ulterior motive. Since May was created in the mortal world, her surrender would give her master access to that world, where he would lose most of his powers.
It looks as though May will have to barter to gain her freedom and fulfill her destiny by Gabriel's side. But will a deal with the devil make life heaven or hell?
Up in Smoke is the second installment of the Silver Dragon paranormal romance series featuring May and the sixth in the overall series. As always this was a fun and diverting read. May’s unique abilities as a doppelganger and relationships with the silver dragon mate Gabriel and servant of the demon Magoth make for a fascinating character equally as strong as Aisling, yet completely different.

In order to escape Abaddon and be with Gabriel she agrees to be Magoth’s consort. The catch is that he gets to return above to hatch his undoubtedly evil schemes. MacAlister’s bad guys can be a lot of fun. Magoth is a Snidely Whiplash style of villain. Full of pompous pronouncements but seemingly ineffective with his evil designs. Despite the book blurb, the Magoth plotline is fairly minor.

Plenty of comedic moments are provided by Aisling’s wise-cracking demon familiar Jim, May’s twin sister and a new demon prince apprenticing with May and Magoth. Up in Smoke also offers up lots of dragon politics and intrigue. Fiat and Bastian continue to vie for control of the Blue Dragons and Kostya is still annoyingly pushing for reinstatement of the Black Dragons. The Red Dragon leadership changes several times, involving betrayal, murder and a dungeon breakout.

Without revealing too much of the events, May finds herself magically infected with a dragon shard which begins to effect her mental and physical states. Romantic scenes between Gabriel and May rise to a whole new level of hot as a result. But May finds herself struggling with the changes, fearful that she is losing herself. She can only return to normal if the shard is released and to do that all 5 of the original shards must be brought together. Each is held by different dragon septs. Needless to say the challenges of accomplishing this are immense.

Up in Smoke contains a winning blend of comedy, adventure and romance. It should be noted that this second book establishes but leaves unresolved several major story arcs for future installments, however the conclusion is appropriate and satisfying. I would certainly recommend reading the earlier Playing with Fire to get the most out of Up in Smoke.

Read the Chapter One (PDF)

Watch the Book Video

Penguin Group
Published: October 2008
ISBN #: 9780451225283
Pages: 352

Silver Dragons Series
  1. Playing with Fire (2008)
  2. Up in Smoke (2008)
Aisling Grey, Guardian Series
  1. You Slay Me (2004)
  2. Fire Me Up (2005)
  3. Light My Fire (2006)
  4. Holy Smokes (2007)


  1. I won Playing with Fire about a week or two ago. I've read a few of her books though. Blow Me Down and Hard Day's Knight are two of my favorites. Oh and Ain't Myth-Behaving too. I've also tried one or two others but couldn't really get into them :(

  2. I haven't read any of these so I checked out your reviews and you confirmed my feelings that Katie MacAlister really knows how to spin a tale regardless of the genre. I like the dragon books because the sharing fire thing that is part of the romance is so unique (and hot).


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