The Curse of the Dragon by Eliza Gayle is a fascinating retelling of The Ugly Duckling story. But instead of ducklings and swans, we have dragons and witches.
The author takes the time to quickly and efficiently establish the relationship between the witches and the dragons. And ultimately, it is not a good relationship. Hence a match made in Hell between Cordelia, our thick sassy witch, and Isaac, an absolute prick of a dragon.
I am not a huge fan of the plot device where parents guilt their children into doing something, but let’s be honest. It works. It happens in real life, why on earth wouldn’t it happen in fiction. Cordelia was born to two of the strongest witches of her clan, and somehow her magic is less than average. Because of this, her parents essentially sell her into marriage to Isaac to broker peace between the dragons and witches.
Isaac finds out he is betrothed to a witch and ummmm… to say he is not happy is an understatement. He shifts to his dragon form and essentially throws a tantrum for days, leaving his unhappy twin, Ian, to pick up the slack.
One thing I love that Eliza did, was when the dragons shift, they are naked. Which means, when they shift back, they are naked humans. The minute I read this, I literally wrote myself a note that said “this is a romance novel, this better come back to play.” AND IT DOES! Isaac greets Cordelia for the first time naked! And it was a semi-serious moment, where Isaac was throwing a tantrum that he thought Cordelia was ugly and fat, and no way would he marry her. But I could not help but laughing because I was so happy the author included this.
Upon seeing Cordelia for the first time, Ian, realizes that she is his mate. If you are smart, you will also sense the immediate problem here, even if Isaac did very thoroughly reject her. It paints an intriguing triangle, where I am loathe to call it a love triangle because the three parties barely like each other, but the author really takes the time to develop the personalities and ideas that happen.
I enjoyed this book, but more to the point I enjoyed the lore in this book. I have read a lot of shifter books, a lot of romance books, a lot of fantasy books, and often you find that authors really don’t like to stray away from the already written lore that exists. However, Eliza really added some new depth. For the shifters, they start shifting around puberty, and that shift can actually impact the personality of the individual. For instance, how different Isaac and Ian’s personality are. It is even mentioned a few times that Isaac used to be a nice person. The author also takes the time to build intrigue. The witches obviously sold Cordelia into marriage for something, but you as the reader do not find out what that something is until the end of the book. Which, as someone who is super impatient and does not like waiting, I did not appreciate it, even if it was well done.
The ending of this book, is an amazing plot twist that I was not expecting in the least. It was a moment where you have to gently fling your reading device across the room so that you can try to process what just happened. That being said, I am not super happy with how rushed the ending is. Everything else was super well-paced and flowed really well. But then we got to the last thirty percent or so of the book, and everything felt rushed. Don’t get me wrong, everything that needed to happen happened, but it felt rushed.
Overall – I really enjoyed not only this book, but the lore within this book. The author really took the time to flesh out the characters, and the races of this story, leaving us as the reader with a lot of insight into the dragon culture. However, if you do pick it up, beware that the ending is a bit rushed.
Plot – 8/10
Characters – 8/10
Originality – 8/10
General Joy of Reading – 7/10
Overall Score – 31/40
The Curse of the Dragon – Eliza Gayle
Cost* – $3.99 on Kindle or $13.99 for paperback. This book is included on Kindle Unlimited.
*Cost is based upon what the book cost when book review is published