Dragon’s Keep

I’m not sure what to say about this book, by Janet Lee Carey. For the record, M really really liked it. She was drawn to it because of the cover (Even A, who’s not quite 4 was drawn to the book because of the cover. I don’t blame her; it’s beautiful.) and she devoured it. Raved about it; said it was one of the best books she’s read.

And the story is truly original; a mix between historical and fantasy, tapping into not only 12th-century English history, but Arthurian legend. Princess Rosalind Pendragon is preparing to be the 21st queen of Wilde Island, and she’s got a prophecy (by Merlin!) to live up to. Ending war, reclaiming her family’s good name, and restoring Wilde Island to better days. A lot to live up to. Unfortunately, she’s got a slight problem: her ring finger on her left hand is a dragon’s claw. It’s a secret she and her mother have kept from everyone since Princess Roslind’s birth. It’s also the key to unlocking Rosalind’s fate. It has dragons, romance, mystery, murder, adventure, and a happy ending. What more could we want?

Well… something. I don’t know what. I finished the book last night and… nothing. I enjoyed aspects of the book — Rosalind is one of those great heroines, and I liked her friend Kit — but there just wasn’t enough for me. The romance was too fleeting. The evil bad guy lurked until the ending and then his big moment wasn’t enough. The ethical questions too subtle. Even Rosalind’s relationship with her mother didn’t do anything for me. The deaths and murders too numerous The only relationship I really liked was between Rosalind and Lord Faul, the dragon. But, in the end, that was too fleeting for me. I think what I really wanted out of this book was more. More of everything. More romance. More dragon. More detail of Rosalind’s mother. More of the evil bad guy. More pathos before the climatic conclusion. I could have read at least another 200 pages of this book (it was only 320 pages) and it still might not have been enough.

I guess what I’m saying is that, in this case, I felt like it was an adult story, and I wanted an adult book. Instead I got a (albeit good) young adult story. And this left me very unsatisfied.