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Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Talon and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn will devour this action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl who chooses to surrender herself to a deadly dragon rather than marry an enemy prince.
When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly dragon laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon. Now, centuries later, everyone expects Princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—but she is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.
As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Prince Golmarr follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the beast has a different plan. . . .
There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom.
"[A]n exciting and magical adventure, with heaping helpings of romance." —Booklist
"[For] readers looking for new fantasy works about princes, princesses, and dragons." —SLJ
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Today is my sixteenth birthday. I am wearing a gown I can barely walk in, my artfully styled hair is giving me a headache, and I feel like I am going to throw up.
“Hurry! Bend down!” Nona snaps, tugging on my shoulder with frigid fingers. “I can hear them marching down the hall!” I lean forward and she quickly fastens a gold tiara in my hair just as the chamber door swings open. I jump as four armed guards stride in.
“Princess Sorrowlynn, we are hereby ordered to escort you to the opening ceremony of the Mountain Binding,” says the tallest guard, Ornald. It sounds like a death sentence, and my hands begin to tremble, so I clutch the delicate fabric of my skirt in them and square my shoulders.
The guards studiously do not look at me, staring instead at the gray stone wall behind me. I glance from them to Nona, who is slouching in the corner of my bedchamber and chewing on her thumbnail. She stops chewing long enough to nod and wave me toward the guards.
“I don’t want to go.” My voice quivers like I am on the verge of tears, and I take a tiny step backward.
Ornald scowls and stops studying the wall to look at me. “If you don’t come by choice, my lady, I have been instructed to drag you to the courtyard. Please don’t make me do that. That’s no way for a Faodarian princess to make her grand entrance into society, is it?” he asks, his eyes pleading.
“Instructed by whom?” I ask.
Ornald frowns. “Beg pardon, my lady?”
“Who instructed you to drag me? My mother or my father?”
The guard clears his throat and puckers his mouth like he is about to spit, but then stops himself. He tugs on the collar of his red uniform and says, “Lord Damar, your father, instructed me to drag you if you don’t comply. Let’s show him you’ve grown into a lady and can follow orders.” A small smile softens Ornald’s square face. “You look like a lady today, my lady.”
I glance into the mirror. My light brown hair is braided in a crown around my head, the golden tiara gleaming in front of it. The sapphire-blue dress I have been stuffed into is low-cut, and the corset gives me double the curves that I normally have. The eyes staring back at me are on the verge of panic. I do not know this woman I am looking at. I feel trapped in her body.
“Princess Sorrowlynn?” I blink and turn away from my reflection. Ornald holds his arm out to me even though it is forbidden for guards to touch royalty. It is a gesture that would get him demoted if he weren’t already the lowest man in the guard despite his being one of the older men. But somehow that tiny gesture offering human contact sends a bit of courage through my trembling body.
I swallow, put my frigid hand on the red sleeve of his uniform, and nod. “Ready,” I whisper, and together we walk into the shadowed passage.
The walk through the palace goes by too fast, even with me tripping on my skirts every three steps. My mother and father are waiting for me by the palace doors. Both of their gazes go directly to my hand, resting on the arm of a lowly guard, and my father’s face turns crimson. My mother purses her lips and her blue eyes narrow. I quickly clasp my hands behind my back as Ornald steps away from me.
“Who dressed you?” my mother snaps, eyeing my gown. Her perfume is so strong that I can barely breathe.
“Nona,” I say. She is the only person who has dressed me since the day I was born.
“Your corset is too loose. Has she forgotten how to string a corset?” Her eyes flash accusations at me.
Probably, considering this is the first time I have ever worn one in my life, I think, but hold my tongue. One does not talk back to the queen.
Outside, a horn blares, a clarion call announcing the looming arrival of our guests of honor, and the irritation disappears from my mother’s face and is replaced with majestic indifference. She lifts her chin and grasps her silver-and-gray skirt in one hand, and lays her other hand on my father’s proffered arm.
Two guards throw open the massive double doors leading out to the palace’s courtyard, and my mother and father walk outside into evening sunlight. They are greeted by the cheering and applause of a massive crowd. Ornald gives me a small shove forward, and I stumble from the shadows into sunshine. Regaining my balance, I grasp my skirts in both my hands and climb a small staircase that leads to a raised dais.
The courtyard is filled with nobles and commoners, and like water and oil, they remain steadfastly separate of each other. The commoners, at the far edges of the courtyard, seem to suck the sunlight away with their drab and dreary clothing. At the base of the dais, the nobles reflect the light, making it difficult to look at the white, silver, and gold clothing they favor.
My gaze drifts over their eyes, which are devouring every visible inch of me from the tiara in my hair to the silver-embroidered hem of my dress. Everyone wants to see the youngest Faodarian princess, who has been hidden away in her rooms for most of her life. But they look at the young woman standing before them, in a dress she’s never worn before, with her hair braided in a coil for the first time. They don’t see me at all. They see only what my mother wants them to see.
The whispered words offering and Suicide Sorrow drift through the crowd like wind, and I grit my teeth, fighting the urge to plug my ears. Even whispered, their words seem to batter against me. And then I hear something else, hoofbeats, and my knees start to tremble.
The nobles turn and face the open gates leading from the courtyard to the rest of the world. The commoners quickly copy them. My heart starts thundering in my ears, louder than the horses’ hooves, as the king of Anthar and his party gallop into the yard and part the crowd with their animals. They stop directly in front of the dais and the smells of leather, horse, and sweat compete against my mother’s perfume for supremacy. The horse clan has arrived.
Their animals are sleek and beautiful: rippling muscles, glossy bodies, strong legs. Ribbons and beads and flowers have been braided into their manes, like something I would do to my dolls when I was a child. A smile forms on my lips as I look from the horses to their riders—and then it falters. These dark-haired, strapping men and women are examining me from their saddles like I am for sale. At that thought, my face starts to burn, because I am for sale, in a manner of speaking.
I stare back at them, trying to guess which man I will be offered to, but they all look the same, with long black hair and skin as golden as toasted bread. More disturbing are their women, sitting astride their horses instead of sidesaddle, and dressed no differently from the men: brown leather pants and chain mail that has been shined until it looks like sparkling silver. Curved swords hang at their hips, and strung bows at their backs. Out of the whole group, only one person stands out. He is at the back of the party, and a cut on his cheek has bled trails of red all the way down to his jawline. I shudder at the thought of associating with these barbarians.
“For three centuries you and your sons have been our honored guests. That tradition still holds strong,” my mother, the queen, bellows, practically in my ear. I try not to flinch and take a small step away from her. “I bid you and your family welcome, King Marrkul.”
The biggest man, the one at the front of the group, nods to my mother. He has gray streaks in his dark hair, and a beard that looks like a bird’s nest hangs halfway down his chest.
I shift my gaze from the king to the man on his right. He looks powerful and stern, and at least two decades older than me. When our eyes meet his jaw clenches and he glares, so I lift one eyebrow and look at the next man. He, too, looks powerful and stern and way too old for me to marry. He flashes his white teeth in a grin, and my father hisses into my ear, “Smile, Sorrow!” So I turn to my father and smile. “Not at me. At them.” He rolls his eyes in the direction of the horse clan, and I can see how desperate he is for me to make a good impression. So I do as he wants and turn my practiced smile toward them, the smile that doesn’t show my teeth, that makes me look soft and regal, like my mother.
“I thank you, Queen Felicitia,” the Antharian king says, his accent thick. “May I present my oldest son and heir, Ingvar,” he adds, holding his hand out to the man on his right. My three older sisters all were offered in marriage to this brute, but he turned them down. Now, standing in the exact same place they all stood, and meeting the Antharian heir for the first time, I realize how lucky my sisters are to be married to Faodarian noblemen.
Ingvar looks at me again, his eyes moving up my body, and the smile slowly fades from my face. I can’t smile because a hollow ache has opened up in me, stealing every emotion I have been feeling, but one. For the first time since birth, my name fits. I fight to keep the tears at bay.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I started this book with a good feeling - you know, dragons are amazing creatures and a story about a girl who defeats a dragon sounded pretty good. The protagonist, Sorrowlynn, a closeted fourth princess, is now in line to be sacrificed to the dragon, Andromeda-style. She has two choices - marry the heir of their neighboring warrior-filled kingdom as a part of a binding contract that keeps the dragon imprisoned, or allow herself to become the dragon's dinner. The main part of the contract is the offering, and she can be spared if the heir doesn't want her, but our girl defies everything and choses to be dinner instead. She hopes to have a quick death rather than live in an arranged marriage - I can get behind that, sure. But imagine my disgust when her main objection is that she is to be married to the 'barbaric' horse-lords who rule that kingdom. If you are getting Dany-Dothraki vibes, you aren't wrong - there is even a side character called Melisande in the second half. Anyway, what my problem with this scenario was that her kingdom and family was white af - her sister were blonde haired, blue-eyed beauties, while she, the brown-haried, green-eyed one is 'less beautiful'. The other kingdom, of the horse-lords, they are people of color - black haired, and brown-skinned or tan. And within the first 30 pages itself, she refers to them as barbaric, or brutes, or savage so many times that if you were playing a drinking game, you would be drunk. Like, she doesn't even give them a chance before deciding to believe all that she has heard about them. And it is rich of her to call them barbaric, when her own father hits her regularly. She is all Victorian-era high noble - everything is scandalous, even associating with the royalty of the other kingdom. *eyeroll* And then when I got past all this blatant racism, there was a mediocre plot, to say the least. The princess, now having won the dragon's treasure, has to get out with the prince and they have to now protect themselves from other dragons coming for their blood. From a world-building standpoint, I liked the mythology of the different elemental dragons and their 'treasures' being metaphorical than physical. Also, that doomed prophecy sure adds a nice touch of drama. But stuck in a mediocre star-crossed-ish romance with racist undertones is not my idea of a good book. Also, you can imagine dragons but you can't imagine even one kingdom without patriarchal values? Fedora-whatever had a Queen and a lord consort, but the lord was more powerful. The horse-lord kingdom has female warriors and acknowledges that women are more fierce warriors but still has men in the places of importance. It's like this book didn't even try to execute a good concept well!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Books for the opportunity to read and review The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins! Sorrowlynn, Sorrow for short, is destined to die by her own hand and is awaiting the choice of a forced marriage or becoming a sacrifice for the fire dragon. Sorrowlynn meets the royalty of Andhar and is angered that she has to marry an heir from their kingdom. The young Prince Golmarr follows Sorrow when she's lowered into the dragon's cave to become the sacrifice because he wants to help her survive. Sorrow has been raised by an abusive father, her king, who whipped her violently and now she has white, puffy scars all over her legs. One of the reasons she was whipped was when Sorrow called the queen "mother", even though the queen is Sorrow's mother. She has felt completely alone and unloved her entire life except for the woman who helped take care of her. Golmarr and Sorrow live through and save each other from life threatening adventures while their relationship grows. Fantasy is my all-time favorite genre and The Dragon's Price hit the spot! The first book in the Transference series had me diving into a world with dragons and princesses, loyalty and danger, love and kingdoms. I anxiously await the sequel! 5 stars! I appreciate the acknowledgements at the end of the book because Bethany Wiggins' struggles with being backed by a publisher will give encouragement to aspiring authors everywhere.
This was a pretty great dragon book! Lots of fun, tons of action. I thought the pacing was a little uneven- it starts off on an exciting note and keeps the setting moving, but that means lots of walking/exploring/camping scenes, which get old after awhile for me. It also read slowly for some reason; I felt like I was making so much progress and not much % would have changed. I will say that around 30% in, I had no idea where the story was going, in a good way! The dragon mythology felt fresh and interesting to me and I enjoyed the characters a lot. It's all a little fast (8 days!) and a little instalovey but Sorrowlynn and Golmarr had great chemistry and really suit each other. He also appreciates her for all the right reasons, which is a relief. The dialogue was stilted at times but I really enjoyed the second half of the book especially and need to know what happens in the sequel. It leaves you wanting more without being an awful cliffhanger.
I read lots and lots of books but this story is creative and detailed and makes you fall in love with the characters. I might be overselling it a bit but it took me a day to read this! I think this book is unique and very well written i can't wait for the next book.. best 11 bucks i ever spent
Wow! I'm so in love with this story!! Sorrowlynn is the perfect heroine and Galmarr the perfect hero! And their love story...*swoon!* Like a sword, their love is forged in fire--the fire of battling dragons, starvation, a crazed army of mercenaries, and a myriad of other hardships they overcome. And through it all, their love becomes strong enough to withstand any obstacle. I will be watching eagerly for the next book in this series! I would recommend this book to all who love a heart-pounding, fantasy adventure with a dash of romance.
*** Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins Book One of the Transference series Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers Publication Date: February 21, 2017 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Talon and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn will devour this action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl who chooses to surrender herself to a deadly dragon rather than marry an enemy prince. When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon. Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying. As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . . If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding? There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom. What I Liked: The Dragon's Price is the first novel by Bethany Wiggins that I've read. I've seen her other Young Adult novels but they never caught my eye like this book. I'm a huge fan of YA fantasy, especially any fantasy dealing with dragons. "Good" dragons, "bad" dragons, I don't care. This novel is the first of a trilogy, and it follows the story of Princess Sorrowlynn. Princess Sorrowlynn is the fourth and last daughter of the king and queen of Faodara. The Faodaran princesses are required to sacrifice themselves to keep an ancient spell at bay. The spell holds the fire dragon in the mountain; the sacrifice is to marry the heir of the throne of Anthar, or be fed to the dragon. On the day of the Mountain Binding, Sorrowlynn shocks everyone and chooses to be fed to the fire dragon, rather than marry the 42-year-old heir of the Antharian throne. But everyone is even more shocked when Prince Golmarr, the youngest prince of Anthar and the Antharian that has made her feel most comfortable since they arrived at her home, follows her down into the mountain. Golmarr is not a barbaric Antharian like Faodarans are taught to believe - in fact, he is kind and noble. Sorrowlynn and Golmarr must face the fire dragon, or die trying. One of the things that sticks out the most to me is Sorrowlynn's character development, from start to finish. In the beginning, she is a scared, soft, weak girl (sorry!). She is terrified of the Mountain Binding, and she doesn't know how to stand up for herself. Her parents hate her, because her fate is to die by her owns hands. She doesn't want to marry the heir of Anthar, but she also doesn't want to be fed to the dragon. And she certainly doesn't want to be trapped in a lonely, miserable, sheltered life with her parents, who abhor her. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
I will admit to being completely wary about this book. It was only until a friend pushed it on me by sending me photos of the swoony dialogue that made me request it. And man, she was right. Love love love Sorrowlynn. Sure, she starts out as a pampered princess, but that quickly changes. I truly loved that she took control of her destiny when it came time. As for Golmarr, I don't even know where to start. He's swoony af, but more importantly, he trusts Sorrowlynn completely. He doesn't try to save her, he treats her as an equal and just adores her. I couldn't get enough of them. The fantasy plot line isn't hard to follow. There aren't eleventy billion characters or countries. Plus there are dragons. I was captivated from the first page and seriously started dragging my feet when the ending was coming. I know it'll be a book I reread often and I can't wait for the next book. **Huge thanks to Crown Books and NetGalley for providing the arc free of charge**
I wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to read and review this novel, but I'm really glad I did. The first page had me worried with the my dark hair, and my long dress, but (I like to imagine how people look myself), but there wasn't any over descriptions, and after the first page, I was hooked. I loved that this book wasn't predictable and at one point, about a fourth of the way through I had no idea where it was going next. I love that quality in a book as even if a story is good, I can usually see things coming pretty far off. Not so with this story. I read in some of the other reviews that there was insta-love, but I didn't find that to be the case. I thought the love come about very naturally and with the amount of time the prince and princess spent together, and the types of things they went through, it would have been hard to believe it if they didn't fall in love. There was a nice revealing of things over time that made their admiration for each other grow as the story progressed, making it real and organic. I came away from this wanting to read book two, but in the mean time, I'm hoping to find another story that has the same feel for my next read.