Review: “The Dragon’s Prize” by Sophie Park

“The Dragon’s Prize” by Sophie Park

Available from: Amazon
Released on: 7 January 2014
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Description: The prince has been kidnapped! Carried off in broad daylight by a dragon with no hope of being saved except an exorbitant ransom. Only one royal guard is brave enough to attempt a rescue: Sandra.

Known for being the best warrior in the guard, Sandra’s prowess was also her downfall. Disgraced and moments away from an unfair execution, Sandra seizes this last chance at redemption. Her journey will take her across a forbidding wilderness where she’ll face off against deadly conspiracies and hungry trolls before ever getting a chance to challenge the dragon. With the kingdom’s ruin, and her own life, hanging in the balance how can she possibly triumph against such odds?

Review: I’ve been Miss Review Girl over here, jumping not just on one soapbox but a whole stack of them, about how so many books–especially epic fantasy–have Pointless Female Syndrome, with women characters thrown in to say HEY WE HAS A GIRL. And then proceed to make her an idiot, or just completely pointless, or with the entire purpose of sacrificing everything she has and is for the male hero.

Honestly? I would rather a book with only male characters.

When the author of The Dragon’s Prize approached me for a review, I already had a sizeable To Be Read pile, but a lead character in an epic fantasy that’s a female warrior? Then I saw other themes in the sequel that drew my eye, though I won’t say what since I haven’t read it yet, but I knew I had to try it.

I’m so glad that I did.

First off, the writer drops you right into the story, writes action very well, and is funny. The story and book moved along at a great pace, and I was giggling through much of it. (The writer and character have my sense of humor.)

This is what I liked even better: our main character is a female warrior, member of the royal guard and everyone hates her. But not because she’s a woman, because she’s a commoner. And when they turn on her (which happens early so I feel okay noting it), they beat her up but sexual assault doesn’t happen or is even an idea. (Too many authors use this for shock value, I think, without working with it realistically or really thinking it through.)

Even if I didn’t like the rest of the book, this would have thrilled me. Not only a strong female lead but actual gender equality in the story, because it wasn’t A Thing. She was just another warrior. But I did like the rest of the book, a lot: our hero, a kickass woman. Our sidekick? Also a pretty kickass woman. And the one they have to go save? The prince!

Seriously. This was great. 5 Fireballs of Awesomeness and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

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