Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review: The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins

Title: The Dragon's Price
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Series: Transference #1
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 304 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed


Synopsis:
When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon. 

Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast--everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.

As she is lowered into the dragon's chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan...

If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries.  If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?

There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr--not even with each other--and the stakes couldn't be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom. 

My Thoughts: 
Sorrowlynn is the youngest Faodarian princess whom, approaching her 16th birthday, must agree to be married to an Antharian horse-lord prince or sacrifice herself to the fire-breathing dragon. Sorrowlynn, often known as Suicide Sorrow because she was fated at birth to die by her own hand, does not want to marry a barbaric horse-lord, despite that she thinks the youngest prince is quite handsome. In a fit of rage, she seals her fate by choosing the dragon and is lowered into it's cave. But Golmarr, the young prince, comes after her and together they find their way through the caves to the fire-breathing dragon.

My feelings on this book are a little complicated. On one hand I loved it and on the other I couldn't help but find so many little things that annoyed the crap out of me.
The story itself is kind of amazing. I loved most of the plot and worldbuilding and of course, the dragons. The two realms were at war so many hundreds of years ago but to bring their kingdoms together in peace, a wizard enslaved a dragon with a curse. One kingdom only has princes and the other kingdom only has princesses so they are forced to marry them. At least, the princess must agree to be offer herself to the horse-lord heir. The horse-lord doesn't necessarily have to accept, in which case a goat is sacrificed to the dragon and the princess gets to go home and marry whomever she wants.
Not only is there Faodarians and Antharians but there are also Trevonians and the Satari people, all with very different locations, cultures, and style of dress. I really enjoyed that these people were so different, even if Sorrowlynn was so very prejudiced about them at first. 


The dragons were my favorite part of the story, even though they were the antagonists. They have magic, speak telepathically, and even better, they absorb the knowledge of everyone they consume. And there are different types of dragons. Fire-dragons. Ice-dragons. Stone dragons. I especially can't wait to continue this series to read more about the dragons.

There's magic in this world but it is centralized to very rare witches and wizards and the dragons themselves so it isn't an all-consuming concept that needs to be explained. As much as I love magic systems, I loved that it was much more subtle here.

I have to be honest with you, though. The Dragon's Price might have an interesting plot, characters, and dragons, but this is a romance. I honestly cannot just call this fantasy. It's a fantasy romance. To be precise, it's basically insta-love. Of course, we have Sorrow here not wanting to be married to anyone but in just a single dance, she's practically in love with the barbarian prince, and vice versa. He sees a girl trying to escape by stealing his father's horse and he's into that. He claims her at the ceremony (how sexist is that?!) and she says, "Yeah, okay. I choose him, too," but it's too late because she's already chosen the dragon out loud, because teen angst... or something.
So the first half of the romance bothered me quite a bit. Sorrowlynn is all about propriety one moment but snuggling up to a complete stranger in the next. She contradicts herself quite often and I think I may have rolled my eyes more than necessary. I did warm to them though and after them being together nonstop for a week and after everything they'd been through together, I kind of understood the connection. Of course, just as we think something is going to come of it all, the end happens.

I didn't always like the writing style. I kept seeing little inconsistencies and flaws in the story and I felt like some of the character interactions and dialogue were irritating or worthy of more eye-rolls. One issue I had, for example, was that in most dragon sacrifice stories, the virgin is tied to a stake and the dragon comes out of a cave and eats her. In this, Sorrow has to enter the cave and basically walk for like a day through small tunnels to get to the dragon to be eaten. Because when you choose to be eaten by a dragon instead of being forced into marriage you also need to literally walk into the dragon's mouth.

Even with all the little things that I disliked, I still really enjoyed this story and knew I would continue with the sequel (when it comes out) before I was even finished with the book. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy romance.

My Rating: 4 stars

3 comments:

  1. The dragons sound really awesome and fierce but ugh insta-love. I really hate that in a story. I prefer slow-burn romances more. Great review!

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  2. I see your point. Sometimes we go into a book thinking is something and then is something else. I also thought this was more fantasy than anything so I would have been disappointed too with all that romance

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  3. Hmmmm... This still sounds good to me and you still gave it four stars which is really promising. Besides, I LOVE DRAGONS! :)

    Sorry there were so many negatives to this one but I can't wait to read it!

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