Book Review: The Dragon Princess by Paris Hansch - the first book in the fantasy series Empire of the Dragon Gods

Book Review: The Dragon Princess by Paris Hansch

Title: The Dragon Princess

Author: Paris Hansch

Publisher: Origin Publications

Publication date: April 5, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: Before she can be crowned empress of the empire, the princess goes missing. Two years later, Anadrieth is on the brink of war with neighboring Lanadrin. Without a reigning dragon couple, the empire is teetering on the edge. Lord Alexander works tirelessly to find a way to divert war while also shielding his younger siblings, Adelia and Anton, who themselves find they have unique talents and abilities. But with a mysterious Mistress pulling strings to make the empire dance the way she wants it to, the siblings may find themselves in greater trouble than they realized, unless the dragon princess returns to save them.

Last year, Paris Hansch contacted me about reviewing the prequel to this series, The Last Stand. I adored it and didn’t want it to end, so I was thrilled when the first book was released last month. I had been looking forward to getting back into this world, especially since it has a lovely combination of Eastern and Western touches. It was a little hard to swallow the 400 year gap between the prequel and this book, but, overall, this book did not disappoint.

The Characters: Full of Strong Female Characters

This is a series where the women are meant to be strong. I wholeheartedly agree. The female characters were standouts in terms of their strong characterization and the inner strength and simultaneous softness they carried with them. They were not to be messed with, yet somehow also felt very feminine.

The male characters weren’t quite as strong, but they were able to hold their own. There was a bit of chauvinism going on, but I really loved how the female characters rejected it and proved just how strong they were.

As the oldest of three, I loved that the main characters were siblings as well. I really identified with the oldest, Alexander, as he tried to protect his younger siblings, Adelia and Anton, and give them the freedom he couldn’t have. At the same time, I could also understand the frustration his younger siblings felt at not feeling useful. Actually, that was my favorite part; the feeling of being unnecessary and even a hindrance was powerful and easily felt by me. It made me sad for them, but it also made me root for them and hope they came out for the better as the story progressed and their older brother was able to become aware of all they had to offer.

I also really liked the other characters, like Mina and her odd assortment of friends. There was a lot of arguing and nitpicking between them, but, at their core, they cared about each other. Even though more than one of them had a secret that I hope will be revealed as the series progresses. Their prominence was probably just behind that of the three siblings, but I found them to be absolutely fascinating and unique. At the same time they also felt something like shadowy figures whose secrets could turn the tide of the war.

The Setting: A Fascinating Dragon Mythology

I love this world. The empire encompasses five distinct lands with the capital situated in the middle. Each land feels like it’s own entity with a unique landscape, unique features to the people, and unique abilities manifesting within the citizens. There are similarities that string them together that helps make this world feel cohesive, but I love how different the regions are.

The mythology and religion behind the world is also beautiful and detailed, providing a rich backdrop for the world and story, which holds it together really well. I adored the dragon lore since dragons are my favorite mythological creatures. There’s no shortage of dragon talk, and one or two even make an appearance! But the mythology really added a nice layer to the story and even helped drive the story forward.

I really liked that most of the story was focused in one region, making it easy to get my feet wet as a reader and really come to know and understand one area before leaping into others. Understanding one region helped make it possible to see the difference between all of them and to appreciate what they have to offer. I am, though, very curious to learn more about the capital.

The Plot: The Drive to Survive

This is the story of two regions on the verge of war and the mystery of the missing dragon princess. The dragon prince has been searching for her, but to no avail for the past 2 years. Lord Alexander of Anadrieth has somehow slighted Lord Tamar of Lanadrin and now the latter lord has declared war. Anadrieth is the weakest military power, so their preparations are fueled by fear and desperation.

This was a story of war and discovery. The war is introduced early on, so the reader is aware a big battle will probably be seen by the end of the book. It also meant a lot of the book was focused on preparing a region that has a small army and no real weapons that can stand up the sturdier weapons of the other regions. There was also a nice amount of court politics that added a layer of intrigue and distrust. This is also a story of discovery as powers are awakened and, as Adelia is working hard to decipher and translate a seemingly dead language from 400 years before, history is being recovered. This is where the prequel really comes into play since it took place 400 years before. It was fun to see how the two stories tied in together and just as much fun to see how the forgotten history had an effect on Adelia and Anton.

The story moved at a really good pace. Characters were added, but it was never overwhelming. I loved that each chapter was dedicated to a different character and was titled that way to make it easy for the reader to switch points of view. Nothing felt superfluous or fluffy, so the focus was really on the story. Parts that needed expansion were given through various sets of eyes and parts that held important information but didn’t need to be drawn out weren’t.

Overall: A Really Enjoyable Read

Overall, this was a really lovely read. I really enjoyed the characters and loved returning to the world. The story was fun, yet serious, and I loved that I could really sense the emotions the characters were feeling. They came alive and really helped give the story depth. There’s a lot going on, a lot of strings being pulled, a lot of layers to the story, but the story was also very focused, making it easy to not get lost as often happens in fantasy. My one complaint would be that it felt a little too pleasant to read, but maybe I was just enjoying the story too much. It’s definitely not a big, complex fantasy, which also makes it an easier fantasy read while still scratching that itch.

How many cups of tea will you need?

5 cups would be perfect

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Thank you to the author, Paris Hansch, for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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