Princess Adele’s Dragon – Shirley McLain
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: Shirley McLain
Publisher: Shirley Books
First published: 2016
Cover: pdf eBook, and I love the cover!
Blurb: (Taken from Goodreads)
Princess Adele sets out to save her and her brothers Kingdom from a beast that threatens their way of life. What she encounters is totally unexpected and sets her on a new path. If you like gothic times with Kings, Princess’s, castles and bad guys then you will like this young adult fantasy. You will fall in love, hate the bad guy and fight war.
History of my copy: I was given a free pdf copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I will be featuring an excerpt from this book as well as a guest post by Shirley McLain in June. This review was organised separately to the blog tour.
One thing I find particularly refreshing about this story is the fact that Princess Adele is sister to the King, rather than daughter, which sheds a light on something different to the typical father/daughter relationship often seen in books containing royalty. I also love how Adele is sometimes the heroine, yet Anthony also gets his time to shine. Often authors try too hard to make the female lead always be the leader and yes, whilst it is nice to see strong-willed women in books, it gets a little tiresome when the male characters get constantly played down just to raise the female higher.
Plot: The story contained in this book is a very interesting one that the reader is thrown straight in to from the very first line. We, the reader, follow Princess Adele as she goes to face the dragon that haunts her and her brother’s kingdom with an ultimatum: either she will kill the beast or she will be the latest sacrifice to keep it happy and keep the kingdom safe. However, she is met with a surprise – the dragon is in fact her missing beloved Prince Anthony.
It turns out that someone (read the book to find out who) on the inside is plotting to take the kingdom for themselves and won’t stop at anything until they succeed. Follow the Royal family as they fight all kinds of evil to keep their kingdom.
Setting: One thing I felt this book lacked was description. Whilst I don’t want a 10-page waffle on what colour the curtains are, I do enjoy a little more than ‘throne room’, ‘swamp’, ‘field’ etc. I’m not really sure why this book lacked description and, for that matter, emotional depth to the characters because I’ve just started Crimes and Retributions, which is also by McLain, and that has everything Princess Adele’s Dragon is missing so I can’t even put it down to her style of writing. However, it does get a little more descriptive as the story progresses so whilst, in my opinion, it is a flaw, I don’t think it entirely ruins the book. The story certainly makes up for it.
Characters: As mentioned above, I really felt that all the characters were very superficial. I didn’t feel any connection to them, which I think was mainly down to lack of back story for any character. Perhaps just something as simple as a prologue to give a snapshot of life before Anthony was changed into a dragon just to get a feel for the characters before jumping in to the main story would be beneficial.
That being said, I am very intrigued by the character of Bethelda, the Nightshade of Bitmore Swamp who works for whoever pays her enough. This book had a clear line between the characters that were good and those that were bad, but Bethelda was this lone-ranger who flitted between the sides and, whilst certainly not good, I wouldn’t class her as pure evil either, which is why I liked her character so much.
Miranda was the character I particularly hated. She was foolish, manipulative and didn’t have a back-bone. If you’re going to choose the bad-side, stick with it to the very end – don’t change your mind halfway through! And the King was stupid; he should have beheaded her instantly for being a traitor, and certainly not forgive her to the extent that he did at the end of the book!
To read or not to read: Read. What this book lacks in emotional depth and description, it makes up for with a fantastically woven story that has a fairy-tale feel whilst being different to everything I’ve read before. It contains dragons, magic and royalty – what’s not to love! It’s a quick and easy read, guaranteed to get you hooked and pulled in to the land of Valdoria.