The Dragon King and I by Adrianne Brooks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There were things about this book that I really liked, but so much more that I didn't. I want to give it 2.5 stars, but it's not good enough for 3 so I've given it 2.
First off, I want to give a warning that wasn't given in the blurb. This book contains a lot of references to rape: fear of rape, attempted rape, possible rape. It wasn't clear if Alex was ever actually raped, but the threat is there on nearly every page. See, Alex is cursed: every man she comes in contact with falls under her spell and wants to be with her. This affects them in different ways: some want to protect her and just be near her, while others want to possess her, body and soul. This means that some of them want to rape her. At least one tries to do so in the text, and there is reference to this happening to her in the past as well.
Now, for what I liked. Adrianne Brooks sometimes really has a way with words. I really feel a connection to lines like "The main thing that I loved about living alone was the silence. Sometimes simply talking to people was like listening to white noise." I'm an introvert, so I strongly relate to this.
Unfortunately, even though I started off relating to her, I didn't like Alex very much. I can understand why she is antisocial and hates leaving her house—every time she ventures outside, she feels like she is going to be raped—but I don't understand why she fights Flo to get inside Clarabell's house. What the hell changed? Also, Alex's voice is very annoying. Maybe other readers would like the "modern" feel, but I just wanted to slap her or choke her or both.
And, you know, there's a reason why writing advice tells writers not to have a character look into a mirror and describe themselves. It's stupid and feels really forced and unreal. Yes, there is a such a scene in The Dragon King and I. Ugh. So annoying.
While reading, I kept wondering if an editor had even looked over this manuscript. If so, Adrianne really should hire a better editor next time. So many grammar errors. Yikes. For example: 'jealously' is an adverb; 'jealousy' is a noun. They are not the same word and cannot be used interchangeably. Also, continuity is important, kids. In one scene, Alex is gripping Sam's shirt with both hands, and then she tightens her arms around him. When did she go from one position to another? This kind of thing is really disconcerting.
Oh, and this book is in first person from Alex's POV so we really shouldn't be seeing lines like, "My eyes (view spoiler)[began to glow and I knew that they were neither the white of my mother’s power nor the purest black of another supernatural’s. They (hide spoiler)] were gray, like my father’s" since, how the hell would Alex know what colour her own eyes are? She's not even looking into a mirror in this scene!
This is definitely not the worst book I've ever read, but it's not very good either. I wouldn't recommend buying it, but if you find it for free like I did, you might want to give it a try.
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