Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Dragon by Midnight by Karen Kincy

Dragon by MidnightDragon by Midnight by Karen Kincy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fantastic and imaginative retelling of the Cinderella fairytale!

In Dragon by Midnight, Cinderella (real name: Ginevra Darlington) attends 'the ball' at the personal invitation of Prince Benedict Charming, but rather than seeking the handsome prince’s attention as a prospective bride; she goes seeking a boon. She needs help from the royal family in reclaiming her rightful inheritance – her home - from her horrid stepmother and stepsisters. It seems the manor house was a gift to Ginevra’s mother for a heroic service she performed for the queen, Benedict’s mother. It is a heroic service of such a delicate nature that it has remained a well-kept secret since before Cinderella’s birth.

Still, the attraction between Cinderella and the prince is there, but before she can attain the assistance she needs from him, the magic hour of midnight is upon them. However, instead of losing a glass slipper, this Cinderella suddenly and inexplicably turns into a giant, blue dragon…

From its stellar opening line, “Before she became a dragon, the night had been a dream,” Dragon by Midnight proves to be a wonderful retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale with a dark underlying storyline featuring magic, a jinni, an evil curse, and, naturally, a dragon.

Kincy’s story unfurls simultaneously in the two kingdoms of Viridia and Azurum, the home countries of her two protagonists: Cinderella and the sorcerer, Sikandar Zerian. Although great distances apart, both kingdoms are ruled by royal families with hidden agendas and dark secrets who are cruel and selfish. This is quite a difference from the traditional portrayal of the king and queen who parent Prince Charming in the familiar fairytale and scarily similar to our expectations for the demeanor of stepmother and stepsisters.

The story is told from alternating points of view, in the voices of the two main characters, Cinderella and Sikandar. They feel both genuine and representative of young adults 17 or 18 years of age, even under the extraordinarily fantastic circumstances of the plot. The two display the feelings and emotions one would expect: they get mad, feel an attraction to each other, and have aspirations and hopes that work well within their situations. Both must overcome the impact of being the black sheep, the disappointment, or the unwanted member of their families.

The excitement and non-stop action of Dragon by Midnight start on the first page and never lets up, and the ending, which left things open for a sequel, was still satisfying. I highly recommend DRAGON BY MIDNIGHT for readers who enjoy Young Adult fantasy, fairytale retellings, and dragon tales.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from TBR and Beyond Tours.

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