Size Doesn’t Matter (171): Dragon’s Green; Heartstone

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (171): Dragon’s Green; HeartstoneDragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas
Series: Worldquake Sequence #1
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on May 30, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Effie Truelove believes in magic, as does her grandfather Griffin (although he refuses to do any magic, let alone teach Effie how to use it). After a mysterious incident leaves Griffin close to death, Effie is given an unusual silver ring and told she must look after her grandfather’s library of rare and powerful books. But then the books fall into the hands of shady scholar Leonard Levar, and Effie is propelled into the most dangerous adventure of her life.

Now, Effie and her friends—nerdy Maximilian, rugby-mad Wolf, helpful Lexy, and eccentric Raven—must discover their true powers if they are to get the books back. And Effie alone will have to travel to the Otherworld, where she will uncover the true meaning of the strange old book called Dragon’s Green

Oh middle grade, I’ve come to sigh at you again. Dragon’s Green started off rather funny and impressive, but I quickly bored of it. However, it wasn’t bad enough for me to DNF, so I slogged through to the ending.

Thomas’ writing is pretty good, and I think the story will be likely to delight younger readers. It’s fairly clever, though admittedly it’s very clearly reminiscent of other stories, most particularly Harry Potter. Their teacher is in the vein of Umbridge, for example. I was also reminded heavily of Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz books and Inkheart. The concept of last readers is very cool, but some of the magic seemed awfully convenient.

My main issue with this book was the lack of characterization. I didn’t bond with Effie, the main character, or any of the kids who get added to her crew. Since none of them were initially friends, this could have been one of those stories where people are forced to see past prejudices and bond through adventure. I love books like that. Instead, they just sort of accept that they’re all meant to work together, and it’s all very bland and emotionless. The relationships are so tepid.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one for people who are widely read, but the target audience, being less familiar with tropes and familiar elements from other tales, will likely enjoy Dragon’s Green. I will not be back for book two.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (171): Dragon’s Green; HeartstoneHeartstone by Elle Katharine White
on January 17, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.

From the moment I spotted this book on EW, I knew I had to have it. Pride and Prejudice and DRAGONS. I mean. Like, if you asked me to define my exact tastes, it would basically be that. Heartstone‘s not a perfect book, and some of the conversion’s a bit silly, but I had the biggest goober grin all the way through this book; it just made my P&P loving heart massively happy.

White sticks pretty closely to the frame of Pride and Prejudice, but she does a lot of work in making it over to a fantasy world with dragons. The world building won’t impress people who are really into that aspect, but it’s a million times better than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The fantasy elements are built on top of the existing construct, and it works better than I thought it would. Some things really don’t make much sense, like the sexism of Regency life when some women can be dragon-riders, but whatever who cares P&P AND DRAGONS, YOU GUYS.

For the most part, White exactly follows Pride and Prejudice, but there are some decided changes, most of which I really liked. Poor Kitty, though, who is dead of a gryphon attack when the book begins; this is what happens when you’re the sister with the least narrative importance. It’s fabulous that Leyda (Lydia) doesn’t go after Wydrick (Wickham) for romantic reasons but because she wants to fight. View Spoiler » This version of Lady Catherine’s a delight too. And it’s awesome that Aliza gets to save Daired. It’s cool that White made some changes to Lady Caroline (Charis) too, but it sucks that View Spoiler ».

Heartstone‘s just deliciously silly and ridiculous. Like, at the start, Daired gets attacked by mud-flinging gnomes, and I never knew I needed that but I clearly did. Also, the dragons are all shippers or trolls, and I just love that they’re flying around and trying to get couples together or keep them apart. It’s just so fucking funny and absurd and yes please.

If you love Pride and Prejudice and don’t mind embracing silliness in order to add dragons to the mix, Heartstone won’t let you down. White does some interesting things in her retelling, and it’s certainly faithful to the spirit of Austen’s novel.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (171): Dragon’s Green; Heartstone”

  1. That’s a shame about Dragon’s Green, the cover is so cute! I would have been sucked in.

    I wasn’t sure what to think of Heartstone but you have me convinced to give it a try! I can’t resist P&P and it sounds really fun. Historical fantasy, yessssss.
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