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Sinister Magic: An Urban Fantasy Dragon Series

Death Before Dragons, Book 1
Narrated by: Vivienne Leheny
Series: Death Before Dragons, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

I’m Val Thorvald, and I’m an assassin. 

When magical bad guys hurt people, I take care of them. Permanently. 

This doesn’t make me popular with the rest of the magical community — as you can tell from the numerous break-ins and assassination attempts I’ve endured over the years. But thanks to my half-elven blood, a powerful sword named Chopper, and a telepathic tiger with an attitude, I’ve always been able to handle my problems with aplomb. Maybe some cursing and swearing, too, but definitely aplomb. 

That changes when my boss is afflicted with a mysterious disease, a government agent starts investigating me, and a godforsaken dragon shows up in the middle of my latest job. 

I’ve taken down vampires, zombies, and ogres, but dragons are way, way more powerful. And it doesn’t look like this one is going to like me. 

Worse than that, he wants to use his magic to compel me to do his bidding, as if I’m some weak-minded minion. 

That’s not going to happen. I’d die before being some dragon’s slave. 

But if I can’t figure out a way to avoid him, save my boss, and get rid of the government spook, I’m screwed. Or dead. Or screwed and dead. And that’s never comfortable. 

Pick up Sentient Magic today to see if I make it. Even if you don’t care about me, I promise the tiger is cool.

©2020 Lindsay Buroker (P)2020 Lindsay Buroker

What listeners say about Sinister Magic: An Urban Fantasy Dragon Series

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Finally a strong adult female fantasy heroine

I loved this book. Finally a series featuring a strong and confident adult heroine. Great story too. Can't wait for the next installment.

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Increase the speed

The book is entertaining, but I had to increase the narrators speed to 1.2x’s or else it drove me crazy. Faster paced was fine to listen to.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-07-2020

No spoilers

This is a review for books 1,2,3. Book 1 was ok not great it keep me entertained enough to get book 2 and that is when this series came to full life for me. It was great very suspenseful, lots of action and the humour was fantastic. You also get what looks like a budding romance and so many kind of characters good and baddies were written very well in a really fun world. Book 3 was even better Buroker kept it right on going you get to find out more anout Val and her life in this world all the characters you will come to love. I'm what you call a narrator snob I listen to ton's of books in a month there for spend lot's of money I refuse to spend it on a badly narrated book.Leheny was fantastic she's one of my top must listen to now. Leheny brought this series to life. All the voices were done very very well and switched between them perfectly highly recommend both Buroker and Leheny. Will without a doubt will be getting more by both author and narrator.

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  • Mother Of Cats
  • 24-05-2020

YES! Give me more please!

A heroine that is exactly what other authors are lacking in their female leads. Seriously take note people. I’m so glad I found this new series. At the time of my review, only 3 books are out and I’m desperately waiting for the rest! The heroine is strong in every sense of the word. She knows her strengths and weaknesses and the best part??? ISNT A WINEY LITTLE BRAT THAT FIGHTS JUST BECAUSE THE AUTHOR THINKS THATS HOW WOMEN FLIRT WITH THEIR LOVE INTEREST. I love it! THIS is what I’ve been missing and craving. A heroine like Kate Daniels. If you have been missing a true women that acts like she was supposed to (Meaning exactly like the author describes unlike every other book where they’ll write “if you like strong willed, witty, clever, snarky female leads then this book is for you” only to have the lead be a whiny brat that never knows what she’s doing and can only be saved by the man she argues with and degrades every time she meets him then WAM! They are in love. Then WAM he kept something from her because of something or whatever and she can never forgive him then gets in trouble to the point where he can only be the one to save her- I know you know what I’m talking about lol) - this series is NOT like that. I love it and am excited to continue reading/listening!!!

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  • Clydene
  • 17-05-2020

Where is the next installment of this series?

Based on a recommendation by a friend I read this book. I have read other Lindsay Buroker books, but this was held my attention and I found myself easily slipping into the story of Val a Half Elf. She is a bounty hunter of sorts woking for the US government hunting magical beings with an assortment of magical weapons, which includes a magical tiger. The voice of the narrator, Vivienne Lehen, was a perfect match for the book in terms of the main character Val, the male characters, and the magical beings including the tiger. I found myself losing the sense of time passing because I was so engrossed by the story and carried along by the narration. There are a great deal of magical characters, none more facilitating than an other worldly male dragon. My quetion is: When will the next book be available? Great Read! Highest Recommendation

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  • Maria
  • 27-09-2020

So good!!!

This was excelent! Great story and charachters. Narrarator did a great job with the voices. Listening to book 2 now. 😀

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  • Morgan Kindle Customer
  • 28-10-2020

- 4.5 to 4.75 stars -

This is the first book that I've read/listened to by this author. I thought it was really good and had an interesting concept. I'm looking forwards to reading/listening to the next book, and I would recommend this book and audio book to other people who like strong heroines, tigers, and hot dragons. *Spoilers* One aspect to this story that I like is that the main character, Val, isn't invincible. She starts out as a character who has had years of experience in her field, has built up her list of weapons that she uses, and is physically strong and agile. But she has her own weaknesses, such as new health problems, that get in her way. I honestly felt bad that because of her line of work she isn't able to have any friendships or relationships with her family. And I highly doubt there is any way to fix it unless she proves to the supernatural creatures that she is on their side and not against them or she decides to retire (but they would still go after her). I am curious if her health issues really are related to her job, age, and stress levels, or if it's something else, like she really was somehow poisoned or she had just been through so much that her body - being half elf - has just started to not heal itself in some ways. It is a little suspicious that she would suddenly have these issues, but it could be just as her doctor said and it's just age related. I am also curious if her divorce with her husband was on equal terms or if it was more on her side than his. She had stated that she had never been in love before (but had thought she had been when it actually wasn't love), despite being in two relationships: the first being her friend who was somehow killed (which I think traumatized her), and then her former husband who she had married and has a 14 year old girl with. She had mentioned that she thought she had been in love with her former husband and that he was a really nice guy - she had even tried giving up her job to live a normal life with them - but I don't think that life was enough for her as she wants to protect people where no one else can and ended up going back into the field and divorcing him while severing all ties with her family to prevent them from getting killed or being used against her. So I'm kind of curious if her ex-husband and daughter are actually on good terms with her or if they resent her for basically abandoning them and never keeping in touch. It was clear from what her mother had stated that they keep in touch with her mother and will usually spend once a year during the winter at her house to ski, but that doesn't say anything about what their thoughts are or if they understood why she did what she did with cutting all ties with them. I am relieved that her mother now seems to understand a bit better now of her situation/job and they seem to be a bit more friendly with each other, since her mother seemed to resent her for what she did to her family. I was a bit surprised to hear that the main character is in her early 40's, as I'm more used to reading characters who are in more of my age demographic, which would be a character in their early 20's. But I wasn't bothered by it at all and it was interesting to read about a character who is much older and experienced than myself. I really liked pretty much all of the characters. I also enjoyed all the funny moments. I did find that it doesn't seem like there are many people Val can truly rely on that doesn't have ulterior motives and is truly just there to help. Which does enforce the fact that Val is a rather lonely character who goes through a lot just to help and save people. I did notice that Val and possibly Zav are rather black and white characters with how they view the world and their goals. Val believes she is defeating bad guys through her missions and doesn't exactly think they deserve judgement before she finishes them off since that is her job. On the other hand, Zav, believes that the dragon court and law is superior to all laws in every world and thinks that every criminal should be judged and put through rehabilitation to become a better citizen, no matter the crime they have caused. For me, I think there are flaws in both points of view. I don't exactly trust the dragon court, especially if the dragons are as powerful and arrogant as they have been stated to be, and also they are in separate worlds with a lot of humans most likely unaware of the fact that supernatural beings actually exist. I don't think it is right that creatures from another world could or should enforce rules and laws that they would have to follow. Also, it is not exactly explained on what rehabilitation is, besides the fact that when Val had killed the creature Zav had been after in the beginning of the book, Sandari had basically said killing the creature was doing it an act of mercy compared to what it would have gone through if she had allowed Zav to capture the creature instead. On Val's point of view, I don't think it is exactly right to forgo judgement and just kill them on the spot and every other creature that gets in her way. It is probably allowed as Val stated, but that is probably because humans or the government don't have any other way to handle supernatural creatures that end up being harmful to humanity. They can't do what Zav is doing by restraining and putting them in prison that is in another world. Val and the rest of the government has a singular viewpoint on supernatural creatures, that a lot of them are evil, dangerous, and harmful to humanity, and they don't exactly think about the fact that not all of them are bad. That humans can be just as bad and harmful towards supernatural creatures. But that is at least my interpretation from what Val and Zav had said, as they both made valid points, but there are also flaws in their view points as well. Zav and Val have an interesting dynamic and I'm interested to see more interactions between them. The one thing I am most intrigued by is the fact that it is stated in the summaries in the next couple of books that they start dating and so forth, but I can't figure out how they get from where they are in this book - which I guess I would describe it as interested on Zav's side, while Val has mixed feelings from not hating him while finding him rather handsome/attractive to being angry with his arrogance and wanting to use her as bait - to actually having feelings for each other. Maybe this time she will truly fall in love? This times the charm? I honestly don't know what Zav is thinking. From the interview with Sandari the tiger on the author's website, I think Zav might actually appreciate the fact that she doesn't back down to him and he might find her interesting in that way. If it is true from what was stated then it's usually the female dragons who are in charge...and I have no idea where I was going with this thought. Also, if he truly despised her, he could have easily killed her multiple times already, but then again, he has his own motives with wanting her to draw out the criminals who he has to obtain. Another hint that he is probably interested in her is the fact that he went out of his way to save her life twice, most likely saved her weapons and was the one who left them outside the lab for her, healed her wound and gave her his blood despite his objection to doing so as a possible way to repay her back for getting his egg platter/artifact. He even said he would get her an actual picture for her to throw her axes at, which was pretty funny. I also don't understand what this dragon aura is that he supposedly put on her or is on her. What is a dragon aura? I understand that an aura is probably something that is like infrared, that shows where magical creatures are and is also like an identification, since Val became familiar with Zav's aura. But I don't get how it is transferable, and only the vampire was the one who seemed to really be the one mentioning it, which doesn't explain how many other people or magical beings can see it as well. Did Zav do it on purpose so that he can track where she is at more easily? Or is it more of a mark that she is claimed by him? Guess we'll have to wait and see. I'm kind of thinking there is more to Zav being here on earth than he has revealed. 1. Dragons haven't been on earth for hundreds or thousands of years. 2. Earth is possibly considered more of a purgatory to them compared to their own world, at least from what Sandari said. 3. Zav had a wistful expression on his face when Val said he should just go back to his own world in the beginning of the book. 4. Zav seems to really want to complete his list of capturing criminals as soon as possible, so that he can go home. From what I've gathered, I think this is either a punishment or this is an assignment to prove himself to court. Or it's as he stated as this is his job and he was the one assigned to take care of the criminals on earth. I also think that Zav's appearance might have something to do with the fact that there are more dangerous supernatural creatures appearing on Earth than there was before. Could there have been a jail break in Zav's world? Just how arrogant are the other dragons if Zav is considered polite in comparison? I also couldn't help thinking that when he passed Val in the lab, he was doing it while looking grumpy, which I found to be rather funny. I wouldn't mind seeing that scene in his POV as I really have to wonder what he was thinking after he saw her just breathing in through a piece of fabric and also discovering the fact that she had been captured and all the dark elves had her weapons. Also, I quite liked Dimitri and his getaway van, even if I have a hard time picturing what he looks like along with his van. I was surprised to find out he was part dwarf after it was revealed he is 6'6", as I though dwarves were short, unless there are tall dwarves. I think Zav is pretty tall to, as I think he is taller than Val's 6ft, probably by a couple inches. I wonder if his eyes are like a dark violet or if they are more of a purplish pink, as I pictured them as a glowing purplish pink. I wonder if Val is taller than a lot of people. Was she taller than her former husband? Her daughter was stated to be an amazon by the girl Val saved, so I guess that means she inherited Val's height since she would be a quarter elf, unless her father is also tall. *Narration* This is my first time listening to an audio book narrated by this narrator, and I thought she did an amazing job. She fit really well with Val's character and voiced the other characters just as well. At times I did think Zav would have a bit more influx in his voice, but it still fit really well with his character. I don't know if it was just something on my end, but I did have an issue with the audio book randomly pausing on it's own.

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  • Paul Rivett
  • 11-10-2020

These are great books?

Great story. Really bought to life by the narrator. I will definitely listen to all the books and look out for the narrator's and authors other books

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  • Book addict
  • 22-09-2020

Great book

Really enjoyed this. It reminded me a lot of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, and The Hollows series by Kim Harrison (with Rachel Morgan as the heroine). The narrator had a similar style to Renee Raudman from the Kate Daniels series too. If you like this book, then other books you might like (as well as the ones I mention above) include: Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter The Others series by Anne Bishop The Forty Proof series by Shannon Mayer Firebird Chronicles series by T. A. White Strange the Dreamer series by Laini Taylor Crossbreed series by Dannika Dark Imp Series by Debra Dunbar The Foundling series by Hailey Edwards Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs Dark Fae FBI series by C.N. Crawford and Alex Rivers Thea Harrison books (but can’t get many of them on Audible) Deborah Wilde books are good when I’m in the right mood Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark series if you want more sexy time but still with plot The Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik (male lead and fantastic series - no romance, but awesome dragons) Red Rising series by Pierce Brown Some of those books listed are superb, others are good, and some are a fun easy listen but won’t blow you away. I’ve just been through so many book lulls looking for inspiration for my next purchase and I know reviews like this can really help get you out of that slump. Look at Goodreads reviews and see if any take your fancy for the mood you’re in.