Dragon’s Keep: It’s Good, But It’s Also Not Good In A “Just Okay” Way

Dragon’s Keep is written by Janet Lee Carey. It was published in 2007 by Harcourt. Carey’s website can be found here.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult


“Far away on Wilde Island lives a princess born with a dragon claw.

No one, save her mother, the queen, knows her terrible secret. And the queen has forced her to wear gloves at all times until a cure can be found. Rosalind is a princess, so she must be perfect—how else can she fulfill Merlin’s six-hundred-year-old prophecy that will restore her banished royal family to its rightful throne?

But Rosalind’s flaw cannot be separated from her fate. And soon the bloodthirsty dragon that plagues Wilde Island carries her off. The dragon sees beauty in her talon where her mother sees only shame. And on Dragon’s Keep, Rosalind comes to understand the truth behind the prophecy that has haunted her since birth.

Is Rosie a princess? Or the spawn of a dragon? Which part of her blood holds the secret to who she really is?”

~Inside Flap


The dragon’s warm wet tongue thrust out and wrapped about my arm. It twisted like a serpent, the slit ending at my fingertips. She held her tongue there, licking my talon as my blood chased through my veins. My claw had never been so gently touched.

I swayed, and I heard a rushing in my ears as if the sky had sent a river down.

At last the bright red tongue unfurled and slipped into her mouth. Letting go her hold, she set me down, uprooted my small tree, and flew over the cliff’s edge. I watched her drop the sapling to the valley floor below as she sped across the sky. The clouds blushed in her approach, and darkened again as she passed, like tapestry near a wavering candle.

I was left standing, my arm still outstretched against an invisible foe. A cool breeze played about my flesh, my claw still damp from the dragon’s kiss.

~Carey 46

“I’ll will my life over to you and keep your pips secret as long as you stay clear of my people. Swear never to eat human flesh as long as I’m silent before all men.”

Lord Faul considered this as wind swept along the shore. I knew how he enjoyed his human meals, how sweet he thought man’s meat above all others.

“A human fast.” The dragon looked hungrily at Niles, a silver glob of drool hanging from his mouth. He flicked his tongue to catch the drool. “Aye.” He shuddered. “To keep my pips from trouble. But speak one word to a human ear,” he said, “and they are mine to eat.”

“Done!” I dropped the bloody knife. I was dragon’s keep now. The daring oath stripped me of my past, my heritage, my very humanness.

~Carey 194-195

Cover Art

Warnings: Violence, witchcraft

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Rating: 3/5

What I Liked:

So, this book was sort of based on historical/mythical times: 1145 AD, based on Arthurian legend and the fight between Stephen and Maude for the throne of England (?). That’s cool.

I think my favorite characters in here were Kye and Kit. Kye was the typical love interest, but the type that I like more than others. Kit…well, really, if you think about it, Kit is the main reason Rosie succeeded.

It’s a little obvious, as far as plot goes, but still, it’s well executed. The writing style really captures the period well, I think.

The dragons! Aw, the dragons. They were so cute (when they weren’t scary).

Never tickle a sleeping dragon.

What I Didn’t Like:

The ending was a little anticlimactic, and overall, the novel was just okay. It wasn’t particularly outstanding, but it wasn’t terrible.

The part right before the end is a little…disturbing? Scary? Let’s just say that they give her a witch trial, and it’s not very pleasant to read about. That’s the point, I guess, but still.

Overall Review:

Dragon’s Keep is an average novel, but it executes the concept well and more originally than some (coughTheExceptionalscough). Some people will probably love it, but for me, it was simply okay. There’s definitely a lot going on, but it just didn’t hold much interest for me.

Coming Up Next: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

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