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Fantasy Friday: Advanced Dragon Studies by L. C. Mawson

Post-grad might have been a little late for starting my magical education, but I was determined to prove myself. No matter the cost.

I don’t know if they thought they were protecting me, or if they just never thought that they belonged, but my parents always kept me at the edges of the magical community, not letting me access my magic until I turned twenty-one.

Now I only have one chance – my post-grad course at Ember Academy for Magical Beings – to prove that I’m enough of a dragon to truly belong, even if my old friend/crush who I thought would help me get used to this new world is ignoring me, my one fellow dragon classmate seems to think I’m beneath him, and my mermaid roommate wants me gone as fast as possible.

Learning enough in one year to prove myself isn’t going to be easy, but ever since my initiation, I’ve started dreaming of a man claiming to be a Great Dragon, who can teach me and lend me his power.

I’m not sure that I can trust him, or if he’s even real, but can I really prove myself without his help?

Amazon Link: Advanced Dragon Studies (Ember Academy for Magical Beings #1)
Author: L. C. Mawson
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Academy/Reverse Harem
Rating: 4/5 stars

This series comes after the Ember Academy for Young Witches. (Read my review of book one.) But this has a new cast of characters, and the previous books aren’t necessary to follow this story. It’s also written older, because Young Witches was Young Adult/Teen, while this is New Adult and has more explicit sexual content.

It’s refreshing to read a bisexual character who has no conflicts about her identity, because I don’t often see them. Bonus points for actually using the word “bisexual” and not the phrase “[she] doesn’t like labels.” There are people who don’t like labels and they’re valid, but too often in mainstream media, this is used as a form of bi erasure.

Skye, who is a Dragon-human hybrid, has plenty of partners to choose from. A Demon, a Mermaid, another Dragon-human hybrid, and a Great Dragon. I know that she’s disappointed in the beginning about losing her human friend/girl crush, but I think she would have been bored after she got her magic. Skye is a late bloomer and it’s not well explained at first why her parents made her wait so long to unlock her dragon powers. Her family is keeping a lot of secrets from her and it will take time to unravel them all.

I love the diversity in this world and how normal it feels. (Sexuality, gender identity, race/ethnicity, neurodiversity, etc.) The people are just as colorful as the magic. Sometimes it’s a lot to keep track of, but it’s also fun to revisit old characters like Lia. The world and the characters keep changing between series, very rich.

After I finished, I immediately started on the next book, and I want to note that I really like how polyamory is portrayed in this series. I understand that Reverse Harem is usually wish fulfillment and not meant to be realistic. But that’s not the case here. There are group dynamics among the relationships that need to be worked out and it takes a lot of communication. Skye often has to talk to one partner to find out how they’re feeling, then check in with another one, and so on–just like real polyamory.

LGBT representation: so many! Bisexual protagonist, lesbian love interest, multiple nonbinary characters, the protagonist has two dads, polyamorous relationships, other characters questioning/coming out, and magical genderbending.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about love across the gender spectrums. It’s hard to find other books to compare it to, maybe Jacqueline Carey but more queer/more dragons.

Here is the entry in my reading journal:

Advanced Dragon Studies


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.