Book Review – The Princess’s Dragon

The Princess's DragonThe Princess’s Dragon by Susan Trombley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an absolutely delightful find. I never expected a book of this depth when I started it – this definitely for older teens and adults.

The Good:

A well executed world and mythology that is consistent. I enjoyed the stories Tolmac tells Sondra, because they were an interesting insight into both the world and his personality in the telling. The kingdom of Ariva is charming, a fairy tale country in economic ruins.
The conflicts between nations were complex enough to be realistic, but not so complicated that you can’t follow them. The international intrigues were one of the best parts of the book.

Empowered female characters. Other than our heroine being a badass storm dragon, just about every other major female character is a respectable, non-simpering person in her own right, be it the gently assertive Sarai, the take-no-prisoners Elona or even Sondra’s maid, Liliana. Some of them may want to be homely mothers while others aspire to be scientists, but these are personal goals and not social ideals. This is all despite the kingdom being a bit like Regency England in its attitude.

The refreshing approach to sex. There is some adult content in the book, but it doesn’t linger on it or treat in a childish fashion. It is a natural part of the protagonist’s relationship. Did you know that dragon-on-dragon funtimes could be hawt? I didn’t.

The Questionable:

Derek’s and Elona’s history. I got all excited when I saw Derek’s reaction to Elona and vice versa, but that relationship is never taken anywhere. While I’m not pushing for every character to pair off, why put in all this history if it contributes nothing to the story? All that belligerent sexual tension for nothing.

The plot and pacing. The storyline is a bit predictable, and I wished we had spent more time on the dragon training instead of the war, because Sondra’s character development seems abrupt. I don’t really know how I felt about the whole battle section – it was well depicted but I wanted more of Tolmac’s and Sondra’s romance than anything. So it might just be me. The ending is also kind of just like a film crew packing up and leaving.

The Bad:

The juvenile writing. For all the mention of miscarriages, rape and generally adult themes, the language seems to be aimed at something below middle grade readers. The distinct lack of pronoun use and complex sentences was irritating. I would have liked longer sentences with a great deal more similes and metaphors. It really takes away from your enjoyment of the book when you feel like you’re reading a primer.

Multiple POVs. Normally I like it when you can see the thoughts of multiple characters, but here the use of perspectives is too varied and irregular to be helpful. Sarai has one paragraph in the beginning and then never again. Elona, who turns up in the last quarter, gets a whole lot of pages all of a sudden. There is way too much Derek and too little Tolmac (no, I don’t have a bias, what are you talking about?) and one point I was thinking I’d being reading about the chambermaid next. The POVs change abruptly too.

Conclusion:

Overall, I think the good points outweighed the bad writing to make this an enjoyable read. The relationships between people carry the book, even the one I wanted to explore most wasn’t given enough airtime. Definitely recommended.

Rating – 3.5 stars.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review – The Princess’s Dragon

  1. Thank you for this amazing review! I stumbled upon it when I was doing some research. I hope you don’t mind that I popped in a year too late to the party. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just wanted to say that I appreciate the time you’ve taken to both read and review my book. It’s been years since it was first published, and though I hired an editor for it, I had not truly learned my craft at that time. I only thought I had, until I learned how much I didn’t know.

    I have often thought of taking it down and revising it with what I know now about writing, but I hesitate, because I’m worried that while I will fix all the mechanical problems with the writing (the POV head-hopping, to name only one. I’m SO sorry I subjected all my readers to that one. facepalm ), I might somehow take out the magic that made this something akin to my magnum opus.

    Anyway, I didn’t intend to clutter up your blog with all that. I just wanted to let you know that your review was appreciated, and I’m definitely following your blog as it seems like you review the kinds of books I’d be interested in reading and you do a thorough job of it.

    Like

    • Thank you for commenting! And following! And being wonderful in general.
      If that was your debut book, I think it’s even more amazing that it was that good ๐Ÿ˜€
      I can understand if you don’t want to tinker with the POVs now, because if I remember correctly, important plot elements would be lost? It just sounds altogether difficult.
      Also just realized that your latest book also has a girl and a dragon in it. I’m sold!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for replying back. Yes, my latest fantasy does have a girl and a dragon. Shouldn’t every book have a dragon? ๐Ÿ˜‰
        I’m glad I found your blog. I’m already digging into your reviews and finding books I never would have heard of otherwise. Thank you for that. I love to read, and I especially love finding good fantasies.

        Like

      • I agree, every book needs dragons. Or unicorns. Preferably both.
        It’s difficult for me to find fantasies I really enjoy, so I’m glad I could help someone with that ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

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