Updated: Dec 8, 2022
"His dragon heart erupted with a sharp pain he had never experienced before. Bellowing, he lifted his head, so that all of Pallaryn could hear his grief."
—KJ Burrage, Son of the Crown
Hey Write Voicers!
ICYMI: I was supposed to write you a Christmas story for this post but, honestly, with the new addition to my family (I have another nephew!) and with me being sick for a good chunk of the past month, I didn't really have the time.
I'm still not quite 100 percent, however, I did promise a book review for KJ Burrage's Son of the Crown some time ago and I never delivered, so that's what today's post is. Unfortunately, I won't be able to give as detailed of a review as I usually do, but the long and short of it is this: If you haven't picked this book up yet,GET IT TODAY!
Okay ya'll, here it is, my review for Son of the Crown. Oh, before I forget, here's your SPOILER WARNING, that I discuss things that are specific to the book and they may be things you want to stumble on when you read, so keep that in mind if you're going to read this post. Alright Write Voicers, enjoy!
What's the novel about?
Son of the Crown is the first book in KJ Burrage's series, titled The Dragon's Heir. There are two main storylines in the novel.
The first follows Jodathyn Pallarus, "the unwanted son of an ancient royal bloodline" who wants nothing more than to escape his sheltered palace life. But when his nephew, the young Crown Prince, is kidnapped, Jodathyn must make a decision between saving his nephew or being killed by those who believe he will bring harm to the kingdom of Rama.
The second follows Kieryn Pallarus, "the High King of Rama" and Jodathyn's half-brother who wants to protect Jodathyn from the members of the court. But when Jodathyn disappears, and the secrets of what Jodathyn is are revealed, Kieryn will have to choose between the kingdom he swore to protect and his brother.
The novel also gives us a peek into the head of a character named Orion, one of Jodathyn's servants from the kingdom of Rama.
Now that you know what the book is about, I'm going to switch up how I usually do these reviews just a little. Instead of telling you the main theme of the book first, I'm going to start with my likes and dislikes and then I'll talk about the theme of the book. And, trust me, there's a reason for the change in this particular review. So, get ready for my favorite part of these reviews, what I liked about the book!
What did you like?
There were several things to like in this book, but for me, the world-building and Jodathyn's character development take the cake. I was also fond of the extra stuff—specifically the character list and language guide. If I hadn't been sick/taking care of things with the family, you would have gotten this review sooner because I'm pretty sure I read this book in about a day, two tops. So, here's why.
The World Building
KJ Burrage did a wonderful job building the world in Son of the Crown. The book is rich with lore and culture from the hierarchy of the dragons to how the kingdom is ruled (Kieryn is the king, but he has lords and a council that he must answer to).
What I found most interesting about the world was the idea that humans and dragons share a body. Based on events in the book, I have a ton of questions about how this works. I also questioned how someone would know they were born a dragon if no prophecy was told and whether or not the dragons can transform
back into their human forms once they've shed their "human prison[s]." That said, some of my other questions were answered, such as how the dragons choose their ruler(s) and what their abilities entail.
I was also intrigued by the idea that there are certain humans with special abilities as well, but that it's better to keep most abilities secret lest you wind up dead or on a slave block. If the rest of the series goes the way I think it will, we may get to see an uprising of gifted people versus those who are not, but there's no way to tell for sure until the author releases the other two books in the series.
Jodathyn's Character Development
I also liked that Jodathyn's character seems pretty well-rounded. He's smart, but not overly confident; he's quick to make decisions, but isn't necessarily rash; the abuse he suffered gives him a perspective of the real world that Kieryn doesn't have, but it also gives him a special kind of strength; and, of course, my favorite thing is that he's flawed (there's nothing worse than a Gary Stu).
Want to write your own flawed character? Check out this video!
As I read the book, I realized that Jodathyns background gave him a unique view of the world. He was the son of the former king, but because of who his mother was, he was treated as less. He spent his formative years being abused before his brother, the current king of Pallarus, was able to bring him back home. And, he's a dragon. All of these things make Jodathyn seem more adult than he is.
But, Jodathyn is also still a kid. He still has to sneak out of the palace. He still plays pranks on people, and keeps his childlike humor. With how the book ends, I'm really curious to see what happens when these two sides of him collide because of something he/his dragon does.
The List of Characters and Language Guide
I'm going to keep this part brief. I've told ya'll this before, but I'm a huge fan of fantasy books, especially mid-and high-fantasy books, that include character and language guides.
I don't know about ya'll, but when there are a ton of characters and a ton of world-building, I get easily confused, which means that guides like these are always a plus when I'm doing reviews.
Also, I love it when authors create words or phrases that are specific to the world that they've built. It gives it a certain uniqueness that I just can't explain in words.
Also, if you haven't noticed, I've included some of the character renditions from KJ Burrage's website so that you can get a feel for how characters in Son of the Crown look and dress. Aren't they magnificent?
What, if anything, did you dislike or wish the author would've done differently?
There's a saying that, even when you know you're writing a series, each story needs to be self-contained so it's satisfying to the reader. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. Which is why I was disappointed that Son of the Crown wasn't written this way. The book was well written, and I am excited for the next book in the series, but something about it left me unsatisfied. I want to say it's because some of the questions I had while reading it weren't answered by the end—without giving too many spoilers, the questions I had were mostly about the dragons, specifically Galgothmeg. Keep in mind, though, this is only MY opinion. When you read it, you might think differently.
The other two things I wish were different—and these aren't major things—are that I wish Donatein and Valt hadn't been killed off. I also wish that we'd seen more of Jodathyn's and Illeanah's relationship. It's clear that the two of them are smitten with each other (yes, yes I did say smitten), so I think that seeing more of that would have made it that much more heartbreaking when they have the conversation in the tent.
What is the main theme of the book?
Usually, the theme of a book comes easily to me. But, with Son of the Crown, I'm still a bit undecided on what the main theme of the book has.
There's definitely a sense of the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb going on (if you're not familiar with this phrase, check out this explanation), but that seems to diminish the established biological family bonds that are present between Jodathyn and Kieryn. There's also the idea that the unknown can be scary, but I don't think that KJ Burrage is necessarily trying to get that across in the book either.
Perhaps it's hard for me to decide on one particular theme for this book because, as I said in the section above, it didn't read as a standalone book. Of course, my ratings aren't based soleley on whether I can identify the theme of the book, but it is something that I consider.
How many stars would you give this book and why?
I struggled so hard between giving this book a three-star rating versus a four-star rating because I couldn't figure out the theme of the book. At the end of the day, I really loved the world that KJ Burrage created with Son of the Crown. And, because I know the sequel will be coming out soon, I was swayed toward giving it four stars. So, yeah, Son of the Crown gets four out of five stars for its excellent world-building and Jodathyn's character development. Plus, how amazing is the cover art!
KJ Burrage is an Australian based author. Her first book, Son of the Crown, came out on 30 August 2022. It is the first book in The Dragon's Heir series. You can find her book for sale on her website.
For the month of December, she'll be at the Mackay Showgrounds on 9 December 2022 from 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM for the XMAS Mega Markets 2022 AND at the Holly Rosary Church, Marian for the Marian Markets from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Both of these events are in Australia.
She also has a proposed release schedule for books two and three in the Dragon's Heir series. If you'd like to receive an ARC, you can sign up on her website.
If you enjoyed this review and want to know more about KJ Burrage, keep an eye out for the interview I'll be posting sometime next year. In the meantime, check out this book review of The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass.
Are you looking for someone to review your YA or Middle Grades book? Then I'm your girl. Just shoot me an email and I'll be happy to do it.
Otherwise, comment on this post and tell me if you think Son of the Crown is a book you're interested in. Also, don't forget to like this post and subscribe to my website so you can get the latest book reviews and interviews!
See ya later!