REVIEW: Dragons, Diamonds & Discord by Angel Martinez

Title: Dragons, Diamonds & Discord: Brandywine Investigations #3
Series:  Brandywine Investigations
Author: Angel Martinez
Genre: urban fantasy
LGBTQ+ Category: m/m, cis
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Pages/Word Count: 488 pages

Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Blurb

When humans forsake the temples, the gods need to find other employment. Hades opens Brandywine Investigations after his divorce and his subsequent move to the modern world. If he was hoping for boring infidelity cases and lost dogs, he’s sorely mistaken as murder and mayhem find his agency and his extended family at an astonishing rate.

Includes:
Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses: Brandywine Investigations #1
No Enemy But Time: Brandywine Investigations #2
Dragons, Diamonds & Discord: Brandywine Investigations #3

Please note: The stories in this omnibus have been reedited, and expanded by about 18K (total.)

Review

Note: Since this omnibus contains three different novellas, I’ve broken up my review into three parts. This is the review of the third novella, Dragons, Diamonds & Discord: Brandywine Investigations #3.

The third installation of the Brandywine Investigation series, this novella focuses on a god that’s popped up in the other two as a fairly important secondary character. This incarnation of Hermes in this series leans heavily towards the ‘mischievous scamp/god of thieves’ angle more than the ‘messenger to the gods’ one, though Hermes is a CEO of a vast communication corporation (as well as finding time to play in a band and run a handful of jewelry stores, etc. – the major gods seem to keep very busy in these novels). It’s not a bad change in interpretations at all and the author pulls it off.

The novel shifts point of a view a few times, but mostly, the shifts are easy enough to follow. The two main characters are Hermes and the dragon who has been stealing from him. Between these two, a fairly predictable romance blooms (the romance angle isn’t a spoiler for readers of the first two novellas, certainly), but the plot has a fun, unexpected spin. The ending neatly ties together the problems that Hades and Zagreus experience in the first two novellas, as well as the current plight troubling Hermes. Overall, the plot moves along nicely and doesn’t seem to have any large flaws, though I wouldn’t say that I was scrutinizing things as I read.

Dragons, Diamonds & Discord has a cheekier, zestier tone than the first two novellas in the series, given that Hermes is remarked less dolorous than Hades and much less dramatic than Zagreus. It might be my favorite of the three, though it rather heavily leans towards cuteness and after a while, that starts to get cloying. The novel’s love interest is marked almost immediately, but the author really has fun playing with the fact that Dreki is a dragon and Hermes has a strong association with snakes in traditional mythology. The characters display a degree of self-awareness about this and other things, like the idea of an immortal dragon being the author of a well-received series of children’s books.

The third installment is just as a strong as the first one in the series, though the tones are much different so it’s hard to compare them too much. The series as a whole is fun and usually light-hearted, though it can sometimes stray towards the macabre. I would recommend both this novella individually and the Open for Business collection as a whole to readers outside of just the usual m/m audience – open-minded people interested in urban fantasy and mythology in general would probably enjoy the novellas just as much as the intended audience (I can only assume the author wrote for either a queer audience or for the audience of straight women who enjoy m/m romance).

About Dan: Dan Ackerman is a writer and educator who has lived in Connecticut for their entire life. They received their BSED from CCSU in 2013 and wrote their Master’s thesis on representations of women in same-sex relationships in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema. Currently, Dan is studying for a second MA in ABA and works in a center school for students with a variety of intellectual, developmental, or multiple disabilities. In their spare time, Dan continues to read and write, supplemented with a healthy amount of movie marathons and gaming.

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