Book Review: Dragon’s Keep (by Janet Lee Carey)

dragons keep

First of all, just let me say … I loved this book.  That’s really all I need to say, although I’m betting you are going to want a few more details before you’re willing to take my word for it.

I’ll start by giving you what I call the “jacket flap” description.  If you happen to have already read the actual jacket flap or back of the book, then just skip the next three paragraphs.

Rosalind is a princess, but she has a terrible, un-princess-like secret.  (I’m struggling here to know whether I should let you in on the secret or not.  As you’ll find out anyway by looking at the book cover art or even just by reading the first few paragraphs of the book, I guess I’ll tell you.  If you’d rather not know, just skip to the next paragraph!).  Rosalind was born beautiful in all but one respect – she has a dragon’s claw as her left ring finger, and has been forced by her mother to hide it, wearing gloves, all her life.

Rosalind also happens to be a part of a famous prophecy made by Merlin 600 years before her birth – a prophecy that promises to restore the throne to her banished royal family.  Dragons plague her home, Wilde Island, and though she feels a fear and loathing of the beasts and their hunger for human flesh, Rosalind can’t deny that she also sees their beauty, and feels a strange link to them.

When a dragon comes and carries Rosalind off to its keep, she believes she is as good as dead.  And though many hardships lie in wait for her and the ones she loves, she comes to view what she has always thought of as a curse in a different light – and it just may change the fate of her whole kingdom.

Ok, then – now that THAT part is over … why do I like this book so much?  Isn’t it just another dragon book, just like the plethora of other dragon books on the market right now?  Yes, sort of.  But then again, not really.  To me, anyway, there seemed to be two main differences that caught my attention and drew me in.  Number one:  The writing and character development.  (Is that two reasons in one??  Maybe.  Who cares.)  The plot of this book flowed so wonderfully, and the writing style of the author was so originally her own, that – when coupled with the excitement of the story itself – I couldn’t seem to put the book down.  I have a pretty late bedtime … and believe me, I stayed up with this book way past it.

So, yeah, the plot – awesome.  The writing style – beautiful.  The character development – completely believable.  I have a peeve in young adult books, and it’s superficial characters.  I’m always amazed at the books that make top seller lists.  People can throw in a couple of quirky characteristics and suddenly their hero or heroine is supposed to have depth.  Doesn’t work for me.  Dragon’s Keep, however, had a main character (and indeed, all of its central characters) who had a wealth of traits, fears and qualities that made her unique and realistic.  There was background – there was history – there were reasons she was the person she was.

Number two:  The dragons.  They are mean, and bitter, and hard-headed, and man-eating, and deadly, and tragic, and deep, and feeling, and passionate.  Need I say more?  I could.  In short, they are what dragons are supposed to be.  Not that I have anything against friendly, emotional, human-helping dragons.  But I’ve seen too many of them.  I loved that these dragons were different – that they were hard-core (does anyone use that phrase anymore?  Well, I do).

Some books are exhausting to read.  They feel like homework.  And I’m one of those people who feel the need to finish something I’ve begun, even if it’s torture.  It’s rare I stop a book that I’ve started.  So you’ll believe me when I say I was hoping for a really good read – something that I wouldn’t have to work at, and that would grab me and draw me in whether I wanted it or not.  That is exactly what Dragon’s Keep did.

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About AshleeW

Reader and writer of fairytales and fantasy, walker in the woods, studier of people, believer of mercy and peace, mother, wife and child of God.

Posted on June 15, 2013, in books, dragon, fantasy, princess, Reviews, teen, young adult and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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