Review: Heart of the Dragon’s Realm by Karalynn Lee

January 22, 2015 Review 22 ★★★

Review: Heart of the Dragon’s Realm by Karalynn Lee
Heart of the Dragon's Realm by Karalynn Lee
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 142
Release Date: October 29th 2012
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Legends, Myths, Fables, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Princess Kimri is used to betrayal. Her brother sold her to a king in exchange for swords to defend his lands. King Tathan's reputation is as fierce as that of his mountain kingdom-where dragons are said to guard the castle walls-but the realms are unstable enough without angering the mountain-king, so Kimri reluctantly agrees to the union.

When she arrives in Helsmont, the king promises her a year of courtship before marrying-or parting ways. Before long, Kimri thinks she may find comfort, and perhaps eventually love, with the stoic king.

But the realms are more unsettled than Kimri realizes, and she soon finds herself caught in the middle of a war between the kingdoms. Can she count on her betrothed to take her side? Or will his loyalty to his kingdom come before his loyalty to her?

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

bec (2)

HEART OF THE DRAGON’S REALM was a lot shorter than I was expecting. I’m so used to reading massive fantasy novels (well, at least novels that trap me in their pages that I barely notice time passing) that it felt weird to have finished this in a little over three hours total (according to my kindle anyway). It was nice to read something quick, but I feel that this may have meant some of the things I loved most about fantasy were missing because of it.

Character development and world building are two of the things I enjoy most about fantasy. It’s why I can read 600 page books many people consider too slow and love them. Getting lost in that fictional world and learning the ins and outs of characters as they grow is what keeps me sitting there for hours. Of course a few actions scenes and romance helps ;) Because it was so short, it feels as if I still don’t know much about the world of HEART OF THE DRAGON’S REALM. I would have loved to see more history, more mention of countries beyond the three central to the conflict, and more dragons.

Character wise the only one we truly get to know is the main character, Kimri. She’s passionate, strong willed, and the type of character I like to read about. However her impulsiveness and lack of thinking about consequences when overcome by emotions annoyed me a little. These actions were used to transition from the character and romantic development plot of the first half of the novel to the warring conflict in the second half.

Don’t go in expecting big actions scenes from HEART OF THE DRAGON’S REALM. There’s one duel which was pretty awesome at the end, but other than a few fights here and there’s not really any interesting action. There’s also weren’t any twists that left me staring at the page in shock.

Kimri does spend some time learning sword dancing. An ancient art, this duel fascinated me. And when you learn the origins… the thing only becomes more interesting. It’s another thing I would have loved to have read more about.

While not the best fantasy I’ve ever read, THE HEART OF THE DRAGON’S REALM was an enjoyable, quick read. Kimri is the type of main character I like and the romance was nice. I only wish the book was longer so more time could have been spent developing it and a number of other aspects.

Rating Report
Overall: 3

22 Responses to “Review: Heart of the Dragon’s Realm by Karalynn Lee”

    • Bec

      Longer novels can usually develop things more fully, though there is the risk of it becoming too slow.

      The sword dancing was so cool!

      Thanks :)

  1. Sara L.

    I can’t tell you the last time I read a fantasy story that was less than 200 pages. Wait – yes, I can. Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, which I think fell just short of 200.

    Good job on the review, Bec. I like it when reviewers try to be fair yet honest, and balance critiques with the positives. Can’t say I’m interested in the book – I think I’d come away dissatisfied with the same things you felt dissatisfied with – but I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it.
    Sara L. recently posted…Chronicling The Craft: 105,000 & 110,000 Words

    • Bec

      There are some little fantasy novels around, but not many are high fantasy! Unless they’re children’s/MG novels.

      Thanks! That’s what I aim for with my reviews :)

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I remember getting an earc of this one way back – and I never got around to it. Reading your review reminded me that I really should. My two main reasons for adoring high fantasy are also character development and world-building (♥) but I can see how a shorter read wouldn’t necessarily shine in those departments…if only because of the lack of pages. But hey, sometimes a fun, quick read is just what you need!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday *106*

    • Bec

      Yeah, this eARC was one that had been sitting on my kindle for years. I kept putting it off because I thought it was really long haha.

      Fun quick reads are nice sometimes! Especially when I read a lot of massive books. You need to break it up every now and then.

    • Bec

      They are fun books! The shortness of it can be a pro, but mostly it meant I wanted more. It could have been great if it was another 100 pages or so longer.


  3. Tanja

    I really like the idea of this story and it seems like it has interesting plot, but I don’t think much can be done in 150 pages. It takes time and space to build fantasy world and I don’t think it was done here. Still hopefully there will be a sequel. Great review :)

    • Bec

      It’s very difficult to fit much development and stuff into a book when you only have a few hundred pages. Saying that, there’s some amazing fantasy short stories and novellas out there that do it superbly.

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      It’s so tiny! I don’t know if there’ll be any more books because I don’t think it’s a series. Everything was wrapped up pretty well.

  4. Kelly

    I think we come to expect really detailed world building in fantasy and without it, it’s pretty unimpressive really. Is this a standalone? Regardless of the main character, it sounds like it needed a little more detail and oomph to get you over the line. Brilliant review Bec, I hope your next read knocks your socks off <3
    Kelly recently posted…Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard ARC Review

    • Bec

      Exactly! And all that world building is one of the top reasons I love fantasy. I want to escape to another world for a few hours.

      I think it’s a standalone. Everything was wrapped up in the end and I can’t think of any loose ends. There were aspects that could be fleshed out into another novel though.

      Thanks! I read this when on holidays and I can say that the book I read after this was AWESOME.

  5. Anya

    Oh man, I read this book so long ago and haven’t seen anyone talk about it ever! I think I was in the right mood for a sweet romance when I read it since I quite enjoyed it for what it was, but I definitely wish for a sequel so that we can get to know the world and characters more!
    Anya recently posted…Best Audiobooks of 2014 Giveaway Hop (US/Can)

    • Bec

      I’m pretty sure your review is what led me to requesting it on NG haha.

      Yeah, I really enjoyed all the elements it had, I just wish there was MORE because then it would have been even better!

    • Bec

      I doubt that but I really wish it was! I’ve read a few YA/MG fantasies that are 200-300 pages but most of my favourites are much, much bigger.

    • Bec

      Exactly! The longer the book is the better the world can be established, though even some long fantasies can fail at that.

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