This is a sweet, enjoyable book. I first saw the cover for this on the Book Whispers blog many moons ago, and when I saw that it involved dragons, I knew I had to read it. Thanks to my crazy schedule and monstrous TBR pile, it has taken me forever and a day to get to it–but I’m glad I finally did.
Young princess Una does not really know what she wants in a suitor–but it certainly isn’t the boring, somewhat strange Aethelbald. What she does want is someone handsome, brave, charming, and who she loves. This story, in its fantastical setting, is primarily about how she discovers what love truly is. She goes through a series of hardships and crushing moments where she learns that not everyone is as they seem, and not to trust everyone by their words or appearance, but by their actions.
While the middle does drag a tad, and Una’s fickle tastes in men did get a bit tiresome, the underlying story and the entrance of the Dragon King made this a worthy tale. The naivity Una exudes actually worked for this story because of the fantastical setting. If not for the fairy tale setting, I would have branded her a heroine TSTL–and while she may still be just that, for this story, it is forgivable. Aethelbald’s unfailing love and devotion may have been misplaced, but it was lovely to read, and the conclusion definitely tugged on my heartstrings.
Be warned, if you are looking for an epic adventure, this may not be the right book for you. The beginning and parts of the middle are a bit slow, and the overall focus is more on Una’s growth as a character than on the action. This is more a story of character than a story of battle (though it does have a few of those). Despite that, it is touching and quite lovely in its execution.
Fans of Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles should enjoy this young adult fantasy. It’s beautifully written, and I definitely recommend it if you are looking for a love story told as an epic fairy tale with a touch of humor.