Heart of the Dragon’s Realm opens with Princess Kimri setting off to start her new life as the betrothed to the king of the mountains. She is angry that her brother has effectively sold her off for 100 swords to the ruler of the realm purportedly guarded by dragons. She is surprised when she meets her future husband that he gives her a year to decide whether she still wants to marry him and that he allows her to explore on her own. Kimri spends her time exploring her new home, learning the sword dance and trying to get to know her fiancé a bit more. It is through this exploration that we learn more about Kimri, her new home and the people in her life plus tiny fragments of her past as well.
Life outside the Helsmont is not as pleasant as war wages on between her former home of Anagard which is now ruled by her brother and its neighbour, Kenasgate. Her idyllic life learning about her home and future husband takes a turn when Kimri bargains herself for her brother’s freedom when he gets captured by the Kenasgate army. Her new life looks to be in peril just as she starts find she has feelings for the quiet and mysterious king.
Lee has created a set of characters that you want to learn more about. Kimri is a combination of innocence and forthright that makes her believable as a character. Tathan, the king, is slightly more one dimensional however, although as you read on I feel this was probably used as a plot device. There are a number of characters that we meet along with Kimri as she explores her new home including Beatris, the commander of the guards, Herrol, the Prince of Kenasgate who tried to abduct Kimri on her way to Helsmont, and Jakkis, who is teaching Kimri the sword dance. Lee gives you only enough information about each character to make you want to continue reading to see if you can learn anything else about them. Lee fails however, to create a truly rich landscape in which to set her story. Kimri’s new home and Tathan’s realm could have been developed further in order to give us a better sense of the world in which the characters live.
I was immediately drawn into this book not so much by the plot but rather by its ‘readability’. In parts the prose was almost poetic, especially where the sword dance was described and some of the romantic scenes. I really enjoyed these scenes especially, as I thought they were almost beautifully written. It was a very, very quick read and I finished it in a few hours, which I think was down to the lack of development of the characters and the linear, simplistic plot. I did enjoy this book and thought Lee really made the fantasy elements subtle enough that it would appeal to people who like romance over fantasy, thus appealing to a wider audience.
Heart of the Dragon’s Realm was pretty standard light romance in a fantasy setting. It is a book that is perfect for a long commute, on the beach or reading in the bath tub. The characters were inoffensive but not terribly memorable. In fact, I just finished reading it and I can’t remember the names of all of the main characters. Saying that, I did enjoy reading it and thought it had some really well written, almost beautifully, written scenes. If you are looking for an enjoyable book that doesn’t take long to read or doesn’t have a too complicated plot then give Heart of the Dragon’s Realm a go.
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