Book Review: Black City Dragon (Black City Saint Book 3) by Richard A. Knaak

It's still Prohibition Era in Chicago, and Nick continues to guard the gate to Feirie, but when one of his oldest enemies shows back up in his life, he has bigger problems than rogue fae. Both and Claryce are more tangled up in Galerius's plans and history than either of them realized, and they'll need all of their allies if they want any chance of beating this foe.

Book Review: Black City Dragon (Black City Saint Book 3) by Richard A. Knaak | reading, books, book reviews, paranormal/urban fantasy, historical fantasy
Title: Black City Dragon
Book Number: Book 3
Pages: 336
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

Every time I read a book in this series, I feel the need to bring up how much I absolutely love what a unique combination of elements it has. Fae, Catholic saints, the Prohibition Era, reincarnation—it even has a dragon! It’s such a strange and unexpected combination, but one that the author really makes work. Plus there was another interesting mystery to solve, another nefarious villain to beat, and the same group of characters I’ve come to really root for.

Nick was his usual hard-boiled self, Claryce was her usual feisty self, and both were stubborn as mules. Almost every dangerous situation they went into, Nick would tell her to stay put outside or attempt to keep her away, and then she’d show up anyway, just in time to save him. But I’m not complaining. They both have a lot of strength and don’t back down from things, so they make a good pair. And Nick seemed a little less hard-boiled and disenchanted this time. I think having Claryce around has been good for him. He seems like he might be subtly changing over the course of the series, but he still has the occasional quip of dry humor born of exasperation/resignation. Of course there was Fetch too, who was sometimes more dog than… whatever he is. He’s frustrated me at times in the past, but he’s grown on me. You gotta love him, despite his constant use of slang and his attempts to eat everything in the Kelvinator. Even Diocles and Kravayik got in on the action a bit more this time.

And there was more dragon in this one! Not just his snide remarks, though I do love those, but also Nick actually letting him out, using his powers, letting his body transform. And, I mean, who doesn’t like reading about dragons? I always like it a little too much when Nick and the dragon work together because I’m like, “Awww, they’re buddies!” but then the dragon goes and says something terrible or tries to take over, and I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s why they’re not buddies.” But really, the dragon is so interesting to me. Also I think he’s starting to rub off on me because there was one point during the story when Nick was trying to figure out a solution for something, and my immediate idea was to burn. Turns out that was actually not the right solution. I guess that’s why Nick is the saint and the guardian of the gate to Feirie and not me.

This book also had some twists that I really did not see coming. I wonder now if there were hints of one of them before and I just hadn’t realized.

I’ll admit that the details while Nick is trying to piece everything together and figure out what’s going on sometimes elude me, but that never makes me enjoy the books any less. I trust that I’ll understand the important parts and the actual stuff that happens, and I always do. I can appreciate how complex the plots of these books are and how, despite having separate plots for each book, there are still bits and pieces that connect. It makes me wonder where the series is headed.

Overall, this was another highly enjoyable, complexly plotted book in a great 1920s urban fantasy series!


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  1. Greg

    I love that sort of classy looking cover- it definitely gives off a roaring 20’s or Prohibition era kind of feel? And fetch sounds fun. 🙂

    Dragons and burning are ALWAYS recommended :):)

    Glad this series is humming along well.

    1. Kristen Burns

      The cover definitely captures that 20s Art Deco look! Yeah Fetch is a fae creature of some kind, so he’s not human, but on Earth he’s trapped in a kind of dog form. Kind of oddly lovable though lol.

      I think the MC might disagree with you about that, haha.


  2. Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

    The deco covers have such an elegant style. I love them! And I’m glad that this series is maintaining its strength now through three novels. You’re right that the main elements seem so incongruous that they just shouldn’t work together – but do!

  3. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    I love that this is set during the Prohibition Era. That’s a time period that has always fascinated me anyway, so adding in a supernatural twist just sounds fantastic. And dragons are of course always a bonus. 🙂

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This sounds like a great book and good to see the series is staying strong. It’s great you’re seeing a bit of character growth for Nick without him completely changing as well. I love seeing true character growth where they are actually not growing and not having a full personality transplant where you begin questioning if you’re even looking at the same person.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I know what you mean. Sometimes characters change so quickly or so drastically that it’s not really believable. But yeah, it is great when the series keeps going strong!

  5. Olivia Roach

    It really does sound like this book manages to include so many things in a single book! I am impressed it crams it all in there and manages to balance them well as well. I also really like the idea of all those snide comments. I love that kind of thing and I think I would be saving those quotes too if I read the series 😛

    1. Kristen Burns

      I legit talked about that every time I talk about this book because I am impressed too at how he’s able to include all those things and make such an interesting story out of them. The dragon is so great LOL.