[book review] The Last Dragon King by Leia Stone

The Last Dragon King
by Leia Stone

Why I Chose This Book

Why did I choose to read a YA fantasy when it’s my least favorite genre? The cover and the concept both intrigued me. So why do I normally stay away from such stories? The tropes and the coming-of-age mystical power thing.

Because that’s the number one thing all YA magic-centric books have in common.

Every once in a while, however, I find myself looking for not-my-usual fare. Something that I know will be a quick read on a Friday night and something that will entertain me without having to turn on the television.

So that’s why I chose THE LAST DRAGON KING by Leia Stone. She’s a completely new-to-me author, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect in terms of writing style, pacing and characters. With that in mind, let’s hop right in to the review. Spoilers ahead.

All The Fantasy Tropes

One of the habits (possibly a bad habit) I do while I read is I take down all the tropes I can pick out from a book. Some are more hidden than others, but that just shows the author’s skill set. Here are the tropes I found in THE LAST DRAGON KING:

  1. Hunting to feed the family
  2. Competition for the king’s hand (not quite THE SELECTION SERIES lol)
  3. Hidden powers
  4. Skin tight, revealing clothes (but is this really a trope?)

I have to be in a very special mood to enjoy a story with werewolves, fae, magic and dragons. This time of year (autumn into winter) is a perfect time to delve into such tales. Speaking of tails, the magic in this story was more believable than other YAs I’ve tried to read. The references to humans trying to use machinery to beat out the magic is reminiscent of steampunk or maybe even a darker version of The Wizard of Oz.

There’s also a “melting pot” village of folks who don’t really belong anywhere else, and while they’re not made fun of in a mean way (as some YA stories portray), you do get the social divide the author portrays.

Finally…a Story Where the Pacing Makes Sense!

All I can say is finally. FINALLY. A story where the pacing makes sense! As much as I enjoy a great historical fiction novel, I find a lot of authors like to put in way too much backstory, and reiterate those points later on. Like they want to show off what they know in how they write.

Ms. Stone gets right into the story (after I got past the opening trope lol), and this I appreciated greatly. There are slower parts, as all stories have, but they are well balanced with the action.

Where [h] and [H] Actually Compliment One Another

And I don’t mean they say nice things to one another. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. Okay, so it’s not quite a “hate to love” relationship, as neither truly hate each other. It also isn’t exactly a “marriage of convenience” either. Their story is one of pure…complication.

I will admit that I do find the “must mate to have a baby” trope a bit overused these days. In fact, I remember a fae story that uses the exact same one. Naturally, its title eludes me as I write this. Something about moving vines, honeysuckle and a forced marriage.

In that story, I didn’t really feel the chemistry between the MCs. In THE LAST DRAGON KING, the chemistry is definitely there. The same goes for the supporting cast.

Final Thoughts

While some aspects of the story were a bit predictable, others balanced that predictability out. THE LAST DRAGON KING is a very well written, balanced book that is hard to find these days. Both [h] and [H] have clear goals, and their respective helpers were also well rounded. My only gripes are: some of the side plots were resolved a little too quickly, and I kind of wish there was a bit more competition in the, well, competition side of things.

Will I read the other two books in this series? Perhaps. But I’ve got a whole TBR pile to read down before the end of the year! Would I recommend THE LAST DRAGON KING by Leia Stone to a friend? Absolutely. If you’re in the mood for some supernatural, kingly hijinkery, then give THE LAST DRAGON KING a try!

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Budding #historian. Writer of #adventures and #sciencefantasy. Lover of mushrooms and libraries. Fan of #chocolate, #books and Pennsylvania history.

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