Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Pride and Prejudice and Dragons

So you may recall that this cover caught my eye a while ago, and then the other day I stumbled on this review by Thea James of The Book Smugglers:

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and there is no shortage of bloodthirsty monsters in the countryside estate of Merybourne.

Well, that’s unexpected. I saw this and thought: fantasy, with dragons! But I didn’t guess about the Pride and Prejudice thing. In some ways that could be a plus, in some ways a minus. For me, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was unreadable. The joke was stale by the end of the first chapter. This dragon one might be fun, though.

The cool thing is, Heartstone manages to break with Austen in a few key areas: the addition of mortal peril … and the incorporation of sentient dragons. Yes, you read that correctly: sentient dragons. Easily my favorite addition to the P&P-world, talking, reasoning, regal-and-slightly-terrifying dragons play a pivotal role in this story. I love the choice to involve the dragons as characters (as opposed to magical non-talking beasts without will or say) and was very pleased with the ways that Elle Katharine White manages to change the Austen-analog with the incorporation of these magnificent beasts.

Of course, the other thing required of any novel trying to mimic Austen’s most beloved classic is nailing the Elizabeth Bennet-Mr. Darcy romance—and on that front, I’m happy to report that White succeeds. Aliza and Daired are true to their namesakes, and their chemistry is volatile and powerful. I can’t complain.

I don’t know. I SO disliked P & P & Z, but maybe I will give this one a try, in the hope it is a real book that tells a real story, rather than one endless joke about dragons. It does seem like dragons probably lend themselves more to telling a real story than zombies might, given you’re starting with a P & P homage.

If any of you have read this, what did you think? And if you decide to go check it out, it’s “Heartstone,” one word, despite how it looks on the cover, so keep that in mind when you search for it.

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13 Comments Pride and Prejudice and Dragons

  1. Pete Mack

    It’s a very popular trope in fan fiction: Temeraire+Elizabeth Bennett/Mary Crawford. (I confess to reading many of them.)
    And Temeraire already is a mashup, of Patrick O’Brian + Dragons.

  2. Rachel

    Re: Temeraire, yes, but in fact the writing style reminds me very strongly of Jane Austen on a sentence-by-sentence level. Granted, starting off with the protagonist the captain of a ship is much more an O’Brian thing to do.

    And good for the fan fic writers (and readers) — I’m glad to hear this kind of thing is popular! Could you share a link to one of your favorites?

  3. Pete Mack

    Ooh, there’s a new one, with an absolutely brilliant allusion for it’s title: A Monstrous Regiment.

  4. Pete Mack

    For some reason my response is in moderation. I suspect it’s in the spam folder, because it has several links.

  5. Kristina

    I picked this one up based on the review over at Charlotte’s Library and thoroughly enjoyed it. It starts out fluffy but to my surprise developed into something deeper, so if you do try it, give it time. I felt it stood on its own. Just be forewarned the griffins are the villains. ;)

  6. Rachel

    THE GRIFFINS ARE BAD GUYS???

    Well, I guess I might enjoy this book anyway. I’ll have to go read Charlotte’s review, but if she liked it, I bet I would.

  7. Phineas

    I read this book a week or two ago and liked it. It had enough of a story that I found myself wishing for a sequel to find out what happens next in the larger story. My one complaint about these types of sci-fi/romance crossovers is that they seem to have a tendency to be one-off’s because the relationship issues are resolved at the end of the book which means the next book wouldn’t really be a romance. Not that I want the relationship issues to drag on obnoxiously, but the fact that the second book would have such a different character seems to discourage writing it (or publishing it). And even though there was a resolution of the immediate larger issue, there’s plenty of room for more story.

    I’ve read some series where the author carries the larger story through a series of romances, each featuring a different set of couples and with previous couples becoming supporting characters, but it’s somehow not as satisfying as returning to the same main characters.

  8. Rachel

    In general people seem to like this one. I’ll have to try it.

    Personally I like the sort of romance series where every installment features a different couple. But yes, if the author was thinking of this book primarily as a P & P homage, she is probably not likely to write a sequel.

  9. Kim Aippersbach

    This one looks fun; definitely worth trying. But I think Jo Walton did the definitive version of dragons in 19thC British Lit: Tooth and Claw is Trollope, with dragons, and it’s brilliant.

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