Dragons, a curse and a war. A review for The Dragon’s Curse by Victoria Zagar

The Dragon's Curse Book Cover The Dragon's Curse
Victoria Zagar
fantasy
Less Than Three Press
June 3, 2015
Netgalley

War is brewing between the Greenlands and the Summer Kingdom, despite the efforts of Lord Aidan and Prince Varion, who have been meeting in secret in an attempt to maintain peace. When war proves inevitable, Aidan offers Varion asylum, loathe to see the man he's come to care about become his enemy.

But Varion refuses, sacrificing safety and his own desires to stay in the Summer Kingdom in order to protect his little brother from their ruthless father. The two men instead declare a blood oath to always protect each other, an oath that will see them through war, transformation, and a deadly curse…

You all know I love a good fantasy story, especially involving dragon’s. So I was pretty excited to read this story. The premise sounded pretty darn good, but the reality was a little short. Though the story started off with great promise, it became a short story with too many things to tell and not enough pages. Along with the greatest curse of all: the story reads like it’s told around a campfire and not experienced by readers.

The Dragon’s Curse is an enemies to lovers story with Varion and Aidan on the opposite side of the scale. Varion with his cruel father, airhead nobles and sociopath brother in one kingdom. Aidan with his family that just about all suffer from unrequited love in the other. They meet in secret to help ensure peace, but to no end. They are all bound by duty and a war is brewing along with the story of the Dragon people who are bound by a curse.

As I mentioned, the plot shows great promise, but after the first chapter it falls short. The plot itself is – while not original – quite interesting and could have been a really good story, but it’s told rather than experienced and lacks depth. Things move ridiculously fast, even for some things that just can’t just develop that fast (suddenly there s talk of an uprising?).

Because much of the story is told, we quickly get the lay of the land with little to know world building. There are only snippets of history here and there and there is a whole interesting species out there that don’t really see – outside of a prisoner – but they are basically what the war is about.

Important parts of the story are told in just a few sentences, like important characters dying, names of prisoner’s that fall out of thin air, plot developments that just get no chance to develop, but just appear out of nowhere – like Tiernon and his ridiculous scheming that just doesn’t fit a 14-year old.

Varion’s younger brother is one example of an underdeveloped character. He is all over the place, but is in theory a cruel sociopath, supposedly become so by circumstances. He can also best knights that have far more training, skill and strength, despite him being a scrawny 14-year old boy.

The following contains light spoilers for the story. He is 14 years old, but apparently is able to kill/execute a much older, experienced mage? Also later in the story, he suddenly has aspirations to become a king? And suddenly he is a dragon, with only one sentence of explanation? End spoilers.

Because the characters are shallow, the romance between Varion and Aiden has no chance to develop and just is. We are told how they feel and what they do. While they are both sweet characters in theory, as part of the story they are unbelievable.

It’s sad that I can’t give a better review for this story as I know it’s always quite a lot of work to write a story. This author has promise in coming up with good plots, but need to develop her writing skills and either write the stories with a longer length and thus create more depth, or stick to shorter stories and less plot.

Why you should read this story: The Dragon’s Curse is not a story I can recommend, but then I also have high expectations for stories. Fans of the author, or of short, easy stories might like this one.

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