Author: Karen Kincy
Title: Dragon By Midnight
Publication Date: 1 Sept 2021
Genre: Fantasy YA
Comments: I was given an ecopy in exchange for an honest review from turn the page tours and the author. All opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by threats of transfiguration. Or tea without milk.
When the clock strikes midnight, Cinderella turns into a dragon.
Prince Charming vows not to marry her, but to kill her. Cinderella’s only hope? Sikandar, a sorcerer banished from a faraway land, who promises to break the dragon curse. Even at her most beastly, he finds beauty within her. But he’s hiding his own dark past, and saving Cinderella might be his last chance of redemption.
Together, Cinderella and Sikandar must untangle dangerous secrets and deadly magic before happily ever after is forever out of reach.
Cinderella knew that her Fairy Godmother told her to leave the ball by midnight else her clothes turn back to rags and her carriage to a pumpkin. But neither of them knew that her magic triggered another, deeper curse.
When the clock struck midnight Cinderella turned into a dragon.
Now Prince Charming wants her dead and her only hope is a sorcerer from a foreign land who has his own agenda.
Sikandar is a banished sorcerer, exiled from his homeland until he can get his hands on a magic gem owned by the royal family. They agree to give him the gem if he breaks the enchantment or kills the dragon- whichever comes first.
But spending time with Cinderella, even as a dragon, shows the true beauty within and Sikandar must choose between his heart or his homeland.
Well, that was different.
There are a plethora of fairy-tale retellings and stories inspired by our favourite tales but this one has an entirely new spin on it.
The descriptions of Cinderella turning into a dragon were very well done with just the right amount of detail without lingering over the potential gory details. I was a little confused over her actual size because she was obviously big enough to ride and smash through walls but also small enough to fit into her old house and walk through places without smashing everything in sight.
But in essence, Cinderella was still her wonderfully sweet and kind self. I could actually imagine Lily James in the most recent incarnation as the voice of Cinderella here.
Sikandar was a likeable character despite his slight arrogance and his assistance that he was a murderer. I felt that the mystery of his past and his reasoning for things were a little convoluted at times and didn’t really have the effect that the author was perhaps hoping for. Things were revealed far too early for them to have a significant impact and there were things that really could have been stretched out for fuller effect.
One of these was the pull of the Jinni. We only got to see a few times when she would tempt Sikandar and he seemed to very easily tell her to go away. If she had been more persuasive or she had twisted his wishes rather than just let him deal with the (quite logical) consequences of his actions, I think we would have been more invested in her.
Likewise with the mystery of Cinderella’s mother’s “sacrifice” for the Queen. It was revealed too early and with not enough build-up. When it was discovered there wasn’t the emotional payoff that you would have hoped for.
Also, the Prince wasn’t as much of a threat as promised in the blurb. We only saw him actively go after Cinderella once. It made the threat level actually quite low.
All of these things pushed the book more towards the mid-grade end of the spectrum than YA.
I feel as if I am criticising the book a lot when, in fact, I genuinely enjoyed reading it. The plot was fast-paced and had enough action to keep you reading. The characters were extremely engaging and you couldn’t help but root for Sikandar and Cinderella. They made such an adorable couple and their flirting was so high-school it was cute.
(Although his blushing when she was a dragon leads to some very interesting donkey/dragon sort of questions)
I loved the Eastern influences with Sikandar’s home and the snippets of culture that we got to read about. I was slightly surprised to find that this is part of a series as I felt that the story was complete in its own way but it would be interesting to see where the author takes it from here.
Perhaps we will get answers to some unanswered questions that were glossed over such as who exactly placed the curse on Cinderella, why Sikandar’s school feels he owes them and what his sister is up to.
Overall it was a solid read that I have no problem recommending. You just have to ignore some of the issues and enjoy the ride which is, after all, what fairytales are for.
Enter for a chance to win one of five (5) ebook copies of DRAGON BY MIDNIGHT by Karen Kincy! Open to USA and international readers.
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⦁ The giveaway will run from Tuesday, August 10 to Monday, August 16 and end at 11:59 p.m. CDT.
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