Book Review: The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins (Transference #1)

30517879The Dragon’s Price
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Series: Transference #1
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Talon and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn will devour this action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl who chooses to surrender herself to a deadly dragon rather than marry an enemy prince.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.


While this book had fun times with dragons and a main character with nice character development, it was hard to get past the cheesy romance, elementary dialogue, and racism that, although gets addressed as the main character grows, doesn’t deserve a place in here from the beginning.

All in all, the storyline for this story was not so bad. Sorrowlynn was a pampered, selfish princess in the beginning that decided to get sacrificed to a dragon before being married to a man she didn’t want to marry, or staying with her abusive father. Her voice read more young, however, and the info-dumping dialogue that shared the world with us also felt a bit juvenile. But in signing her death, the prince from the kingdom she was supposed to marry into also followed her as protection. After defeating the dragon, the story leans into a more romantic bent that was a bit eye-rolling at times as it was unwelcome. There is an instant attraction that exponentially grows as the characters save each other, and offer cheesy lines of love. The cheese in me enjoyed that part, but the cynic in me was left wondering how the heck this happened after a bare week of knowing each other.

This is where subjective and objective feelings become conflicted, as subjectively this book was good in holding my attention for a couple of hours with a fun, yet baseless adventure, while objectively there are some cringe-tastic elements that made for some uncomfortable feelings that nonetheless did not detract from me enjoying my adventure too much. Golmarr comes from another land with people addressed as “barbarians” by Sorrowlynn because of their unrefined ways and contrasting culture. As she slowly discovers more about him and his fun, loving family and people, that original description fades out of vocabulary. This was fine, but I really believe that there shouldn’t have been such an identification in the first place. I think there’s a way for authors to write different variations of cultures without having one disparage the other, no matter the “lesson” learned.

Golmarr as a character was rather sweet and charming, although looking back in retrospect he was not that different than many other fantasy heroes out there. It’s obvious he cares for Sorrowlynn – and that part made the cheese in me melt – but at the same time I can’t really think of adjectives that would make him stand out. Sorrow’s character progression from pampered princess to tough fighter was pretty awesome. However, the way she attained the knowledge felt a bit like cheating. That particular part of the plot felt like cutting corners, and don’t even get me started on the logistics of the whole matter (which I tried not to think about in the first place since it would feel quite illogical). There are some aspects that the author did well with, such as the fact that although Sorrow knew of battle skills, she couldn’t implement them because of her weak body. Then other times, Sorrow would ask a question that I assumed she would know the answer to, which brings back the believability aspect. Anyways, I took it with a grain of salt.

The world was quite generic – not even the presence of dragons could bring me to muster up a lot of excitement for it. Instead, the plot help carried out the story – as well as the burgeoning inner strength of the heroine. The emphasis on romance could have been delivered better, if only because the attraction had way too quick of a build-up, but overall as a quick fantasy to read the day away, it wasn’t that bad. I really wish the author didn’t have to add Gomarr’s people as “barbarians” and used another distinction between them and Sorrowlynn’s kingdom – that just smells of weak world-building that further reinforces discriminate vibes towards a group of people.

The writing of this book feels a bit juvenile in general, even though the characters’ ages are not (16 and 18). I might have enjoyed the writing more if I were younger perhaps, but now I’m a bit cynical of the quick to form romance and the emphasis of it as a plot in the second half of the book. Couple that with the discriminate world-building that reinforces prejudice against a group described as “barbarians,” and The Dragon’s Price felt a bit short of my expectations. For readers looking for a fun adventure or fantasy, I’m not sure if I’d recommend this one – it doesn’t really offer anything unique, nor does it stand out so much from the rest of the fantasies out there. I’m also quite wary of the way Golmarr’s people are characterized, and really think that there are numerous stories out there with a more realistic romance that doesn’t deliver prejudice among other groups of people for readers to pick up and enjoy.



4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins (Transference #1)

  1. ravenblake99 says:

    I wanted to read this book but after hearing so many negative reviews I pretty much lost my interest on it. I hate cheesy romances so this book is definitely not for me. Great Review btw! 🙂

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