The Dragon’s Price (Transference #1)
By: Bethany Wiggins
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 21st, 2017
Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Talon and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn will devour this action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl who chooses to surrender herself to a deadly dragon rather than marry an enemy prince.
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.
When faced with the decision between spending the rest of your life with your abusive father or being fed to a dragon, I’ll take my chances with the dragon (I mean, there is the other option of an arranged marriage, but that heir wasn’t going to pick you anyway). Sorrowlynn is thinking along the same lines, and that’s where our story begins.
The Dragon’s Price is a great start to a new series, I love fantasy so I’ve been keeping my eye on this book for a while, and Sorrowlynn is an excellent heroine. She is fierce and after a life of being shoved into closed rooms, denied love, and being a singular target for her father’s inexplicable hate, she isn’t bitter or downtrodden. She just wants out. And she’s willing to face a dragon to do it. If she is destined to die by her own hand then nothing else can kill her right? Her growth throughout the story is lovely and her gain in confidence is wonderful. I loved seeing Sorrowlynn overcome the smothering and sexist conditioning of the society she grew up in and realize that her physical romantic urges and desires were not improper but natural and expected and that she is free to express herself that way.
Bethany’s world is familiar: it has your proper court society, the dragon caves, the wooded area with roving bands of thieves and nomadic clans, the barbarians. But this familiarity is contrasted with original innovations. The typical court society is revealed to be stifling in contrast to the usually magical and enchanting one and Bethany plays off of its absurd rules effectively. The dragons are incredibly imaginative and deviate from the generic giant lizard with original additions to their anatomy, from butterfly wings to antlers, making me especially excited to see what the rest of the dragons look like. As for the magic, it is unique and the treasure it is tied to is cleverly done. These dragons not only spread magic through their blood, but their treasure is the collection of memories and emotions they have gathered over their lifetime through the creatures, including humans, that they have killed. And for a beast that is essentially immortal who does not prioritize comfort or have a sense of human wealth, the acquisition of knowledge is the most valuable and lasting thing to collect for a sentient beast. The history of this world was equally well done, and the set up for the story, the development of these different cultures, are thoughtfully done and creatively rendered.
The romance is a sweet one, it grows out of mutual like and developing respect. These characters believably face intense situations, not only with the dragon, but starvation and harsh elements and injury over the course of roughly a week. Any instalovey feelings are negated, though, by the pressures of the situation and the high running emotions that force a mutual bond. It doesn’t hurt that I loved Golmarr and his love and sacrifices for Sorrowlynn.
The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, which I appreciated, and while the dragons’ magic of transference has some devastating consequences, it opens up the possibility of a larger and deeper mythology. The ending left very little solved, in the larger scheme of things, but the promise of answered questions and some mysteries left to be uncovered (Niyadi definitely has something up her sleeve and knows something she isn’t sharing and I have my own suspicions over how Sorrowlynn’s prophecy will play out) means the second installment will certainly pack a punch and be all the more entertaining, and be able to avoid a book two slump, for it.
I also just realized that I used the term “well done” in a review for a book with a fire breathing dragon that burns one of the main characters pretty badly. I should probably apologize, but I won’t.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.