Author: Bethany Wiggins
Series: Transference #1
Published: February 21 2017
Source: publishers via NetGalley
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.
The Dragon's Price is a YA fantasy with a great premise, and boasts a fresh approach to worldbuilding and unique lore. It's fun and fast to read, though unfortunately the overall plot is somewhat easy to anticipate and the characters are rather basically drawn. Despite the few flaws in its short pages, there's more to like than dislike in Bethany Wiggin's latest novel. The story is entertaining despite its admittedly predictable nature. Sorrowlynn's story is full of the usual fantasy hallmarks (lots of traveling! Threatening dragons!), but this experienced author throws plenty of her own ideas/twists into the narrative.
For the most part, I liked the various characters at play in The Dragon's Price. This is a series opener so there's more potential than proof so far. Sorrowlynn, the would-be sacrificial princess, is the best defined as the main character, but she is the exception and sadly not the rule. Her "barbarian" counterpart of Golmarr is somewhat less developed than his love interest, though his personality deepens the longer the two are together. Their romance is as expected as it is well-handled; it might be a bit fast-paced but given the nature of their circumstances.... I find myself more forgiving of how quickly their bond is established.
The strongest idea in the novel lies in the title and its unique meaning. Bethany Wiggins has created a total fresh new idea for what the phrase "dragon's treasure" would mean in her invented world and uses it smartly. I love the way she adapted a fantasy staple into something new and a natural fit for her storyline. The premise and overarching threat lends itself to sustaining the sequels well, too -- there will be plenty of time and opportunity for the other dragons to search out Sorrowlynn and use their unique powers.
This is a solid young adult fantasy novel. The inventive approach to old genre staples keeps even the predictable elements fun, and the romance is promising. An entertaining beginning to a new series, The Dragon's Price is solid start.