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Dragon's Keep (Wilde Island Chronicles #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  6,599 Ratings  ·  602 Reviews
Far away on Wilde Island, Princess Rosalind is born with a dragon claw where her ring finger should be. To hide this secret, the queen forces her to wear gloves at all times until a cure can be found, and Rosalind can fulfill the prophecy that will restore her family to its rightful throne.      But Rosalind’s flaw cannot be separated from her fate. When she is carried off ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published August 2nd 2007)
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Jowie 6th grade and up
no sex, and I cannot recall there being any bad language.

Community Reviews

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Dec 21, 2009 Gemma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Read" it says. Endured is more like it.

Often times, first impressions are wrong. My first impression of Dragon's Keep was that it was boring. But after I read it, I learned I was wrong; it was boring AND disgusting.

Boring, because the author had all these details in there that you think might be important, but aren't in the end. They're either vaguely followed up so you're not really sure, or just dismissed all together, and never mentioned again. Like that little girl that died in the beginnin
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for

Rosalind's fate was written in the stars, read by Merlin, some 600 years before she was born. A direct descendant of the Pendragon line, her ancestor, Evaine, was the younger sister of King Arthur. Evaine married an outlaw and was banished to Wilde Island and erased from family history, setting Rosalind's destiny in motion. Three things are said of the twenty-first queen of Wilde Island; "She shall redeem the name Pendragon. End war with the wave o
I did not enjoy Dragon's Keep as much as Dragonswood. The main reason being is that the romance lacks development. One minute they meet and the next she is in love with him. It's the insta-love thing. This resulted in me never finding the romance convincing.

The book is really split into three different parts. The first two we spend a good amount of time on, but the last part is sadly mostly glossed over. This is where the development of the romance could have come in, but unfortunately we are m
Miss Clark
2.5 stars

Well, I liked the dragon aspects of the book, esp. as they were not the fun, endearing, yet noble and powerful creatures of most of the series that I like. These dragons are far more the wild monsters that appear in legends and the scary, if still majestic animals that everyone is out to kill. And they are not all wrong in that inclination to eliminate such a threat. Which made our heroine's time spent with these creatures and the relationship that she builds with them all the more vita
Michelle (The Crazy Cat Lady)
It's back to the library for this book, even though I haven't finished it yet. My interest has waned a bit since I started it, but I'll try to borrow it again when/if I feel I'm in the right mood for it. It's not bad, it's just the wrong time; I actually prefer buying books to borrowing because I have a strong tendency to put books I like down for a few months, or years, before resuming where I left off.

Anyway, a few thoughts so far concerning the book.

I hated the queen! She's more obsessed wit
Prior to reading this book I read, and really enjoyed, Dragonswood. Dragonswood made me want to go back and pick up the first book in the Wilde Island series. The two books are only loosely related (this one takes place quite a while before the story in Dragonswood and focuses on different characters). This was a beautifully written story that moves very slowly.

Princess Rosalind (Rosie to her friends) is born with one finger that is a dragon claw. Her mother goes to great lengths to hide Rosie’s
Dec 27, 2007 Celia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngadult, fantasy
This was a lovely YA fairytale - the version I read in Australia was actually called Talon. Princess Rosalind, of Wilde Island, was the subject of a prophecy many generations before her birth. She would restore the glory of Wilde Island, and end a war. However, the Princess was born with a dragon's claw instead of a ring finger on one of her hands, and wears gloves at all times to hide this terrible flaw. However, when a dragon carries her off, the claw is the least of her worries.

Dragon's Keep
Elise P
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Small Review
3.5 stars

This is one of those books where the payoff is good, but the journey is only so-so. I’m glad I read this book—I like the story very much and the author did a great job in capturing the feel of an Arthurian tragedy—but…the actual reading process was a little difficult for me.

I like fast-paced books, and this was not a fast-paced book at all. There is very little edge-of-your-seat action, with the plot instead unfurling slowly across Rosalind's life. For people who don’t mind a slower-pac
I'm not one for high fantasy and epic tales anymore, but I found myself reading this book in a day. It's easy reading and I found the author's tale absorbing, despite the fact that I feel that the blurb is slightly misleading. The blurb states that Rosie is captured by the dragon, yadda yadda, but this event happens more than halfway into the book.

I would characterize this story as more of a coming of age story of a pampered, lonely princess fueled by her mother's ambition. It's completely told
Jun 29, 2011 Kristen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had originally picked it up "Dragon's Keep" because it has to do with dragons … and I LOVE dragons.

It’s set in the old days, with kings and castles and whatnot. The time period isn’t really my bag to begin with, but I thought I would give it a chance anyway.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Carey weaves a really interesting story. It seemed like a fairy tale. This book tells the tale of the princess Rosalind that was born with a dragon claw instead of her left ring finger. This is
Dec 23, 2008 Adriana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will be the first to say that I am not into the fantasy books, but this one was very enjoyable. I might even say that I will probably read a lot more fantasy because of it. Rosalind is a Pendragon Queen but there is only one problem: she has a dragon's claw where her left ring finger should be. No one but her mother the Queen knows, and incidentally anyone who sees it meets an untimely death. Rosalind is both ashamed and fascinated by her "deformity". It will impede her becoming a queen in the ...more
Katelin Campbell
Mar 04, 2013 Katelin Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted to A Bookworm's Confessions

When I was reading this I kept getting mixed feelings. I honestly didn't know why I kept reading it but I did and in the end I found myself really liking it. It's one of those stories that makes you think even after you've finished, wanting to continue on with the characters even though it seems like everything is resolved in the end.

I think why it has so many bad reviews is the writing. It's not well written sometimes. However, I really enjoyed the
I picked this up because the premise seemed cool -- a princess "cursed" with a dragon part -- and just as I suspected, the talon was a sort of metaphor for her sexuality and feminine mystery. It was kind of reminiscent of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" in some respects.

But there I'd have to say that the coolness ends. The villain, "Sir Magnus," is a generically priestly advisor, who smacks of largely of a eunuch. He's fat, and wears gloves like a queen: once again, ambiguous gender is cou
Jan 05, 2015 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Before her birth, a princess is prophesied to lead her nation to glory and peace. After she is born with a hideous claw in place of her ring finger, her mother refuses to let go of her daughter's supposed fate. She dedicates her life to keeping Rose's secret. Eventually, she cannot protect her any more, and Rose goes to live among the dragons, who hate and despise all humans. Rose struggles to survive, but eventually does bring peace to her nation, just as prophesied--albeit through her claw han ...more
Apr 19, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So cheesy! I read this because it was unanimously chosen by the teens in my book group. It is about dragons and far far away places where they say things like “whilst” and “abide my time drinking mead”. The princess is cursed with a dragon claw b/c her mom is possibly crazy and a heroin addict (poppy potion!) and she has to reunite the kingdom. The main character is the dimmest girl on the planet and while sort of perky, pales in comparison to say, Coraline. I will be interested in what the grou ...more
Just finished my second read. Still 5 stars. I need to spend some time on a proper review. I love all 3 of JLC's dragon books. Read it!
Mar 25, 2013 Angela marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
28 January 2016: $2.99 on Kindle

4 January 2015: $1.99 on Kindle
A very, very long time ago, Merlin made a prophecy about a future princess of Wilde Island. It would take roughly 600 years to come true, but this future heir would put an end to a deadly war and restore honor to the Pendragon name.
Princess Rosalind knows that she is the princess mentioned in the prophecy; her mother has made every decision with this prophecy in mind. All in all, Rosalind is a fairly typical princess - she is fair and pretty, well-educated and well-mannered. All that's left is
Oct 31, 2014 Aelvana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rosaline was born with a dragon's claw on her left hand in place of her ring finger. All her life she's worn gloves to keep it hidden. Despite Rosaline's deformity, her mother is convinced she's the one who will fulfill Merlin's prophecy of peace and restoration. But not all the healers in the kingdom can help against this ailment, especially when Rosaline can't tell them what it is. Then the dragons come, and Rosaline goes from pampered princess to dragon servant. The dragons see her claw as th ...more
Cory Dorn
Sep 10, 2014 Cory Dorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book because it starts in a place I have always wanted to visit, which is Europe. In this book it starts on Wilde island, which is in Europe somewhere. The time was 1145 A.D. The story begins 600's year ago when Merlin writes a prophecy of a princess name Rosalind. The story is told in first person point of view by Rosalind. Rosalind has a lot of ups and downs through out this whole book, because of the curse that she tries to hide. Rosalind's curse is she has one dragon claw as a ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Lianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since it's been a while (published 2007), I decided to reread this before I read Dragonswood. This book was just as wonderful the second time and the cover is still one of the best ever. Far superior to the one on Dragonswood. I don't like the current trend in cover design. They are all starting to look the same.

Although I love the phenomenon of books published by young authors, when I read this book, I am reminded of the fullness and depth of a story told by an accomplished and confident author
Paige Y.
Rosalind, princess of Wilde Island, is almost perfectly beautiful. She has a lovely face and will have a beautiful shape when she is a woman. But she is not perfect. The ring finger of her left hand – the finger on which she should wear her wedding ring – is not a finger at all but a claw, a dragon’s claw. Nobody but Rosalind and her mother are aware of her deformity – she always wears golden gloves to hide it. If anyone finds out, she will no longer be a princess – will perhaps be thought of as ...more
Adam Veeser-Johnston
"Dragon's Keep" by Janet Lee Carey was fairly enjoyable and very much to my liking.

The plot is based around a young girl, Rosalind, who was born with a dragon's claw. There is also a prophecy made six-hundred years prior by Merlin who had foreseen the end of a war with dragons' fire and broken sword, the war ends with a gifted claw. Rosalind also decides that in order to keep her people safe, she needed to go live with the dragons that gifted her claw and for two years she stayed. On the second
K.J. Grace
Jun 03, 2015 K.J. Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Above us the sky was pearled with small white clouds. The newly risen sun beamed over the earth, and as I looked to the water, it seemed the magic was not gone but dozing like a sleepy child that would one day leap up, as a tot does from her slumber, and greet the world again."

Never in all my life have I read such a captivating dragon story. Dragon-lore is a subject I cherish dearly and Janet Lee Carey has woven a tale that has inspired my own writings as well as breathed life into the bone str
The first third of the book is all set-up: Rosalind is lonely, her mother prevents her from making friends for fear of exposing Rosalind's dragon claw finger, their island is plagued by a dragon who carries off half their army one man at a time. After 100 pages, we're still getting the story of Rosalind's first friend ever and how great it is and her crushes and bravery and blah blah blah--the actual story, the Rosalind-is-carried-off-by-a-dragon part, doesn't start until the second third of the ...more
Jun 18, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Rosalind’s mother knows that her daughter has been born for great thing. Merlin himself fortold a prophecy whereby the twenty-first queen of Wilde Island, which is plagued by dragons, will do three great things. "She shall redeem the name Pendragon. End war with the wave of her hand. And restore the glory of Wilde Island." Rosalind is to be that queen, but -- there is one little hitch. She was born with a finger that looks exactly like a dragon's claw. They do everything they can to take care of ...more
Mar 21, 2008 Smaileh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dragon's Keep is a lovely little dragon fantasy set in an actual historical period--the English civil war between Queen Matilde and King Stephen. The setting is an island apparently off the coast of England and ruled by descendants of the Pendragons--the royal house of Arthur. The book can be divided into three parts. The first part takes place in the castle where Rosalind leads a pampered and priviledged life. The second is in the dragon's keep, where Rosie, renamed Briar by the dragon, cares f ...more
Aug 25, 2010 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I read this book because the cover art (displayed in an illustration exhibit at BYU) inspired me to begin writing a story of my own. Therefore, my reading was colored by constant critiques of "How would I have written it?" That approach inevitably gave me a lot to disapprove of, but there were a lot of good things, too. Most of all, I was taken with the sad life of dragons that can never cry except in death.

With good research, Carey created a largely historical setting; the times when her charac
Aug 30, 2008 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Dragons don't usually interest me, but the premise of this book - a princess born with a dragon claw for a ring finger - intrigued me enough to try it. It was really slow-paced for the first 50 pages or so, but picked up after that. The writing was excellent, the plot was unpredictable, and there was great character development. The protagonist Princess Rosalind is a positive role model for teens. She matures from a young girl who simply does what shes told to a young woman who commands her own ...more
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~Things are never what they seem. Find the lost inside the dream ~
Janet Lee Carey is the award-winning author of nine Children's and YA novels. Her YA fantasy is critically acclaimed: "Verdict: This is quite simply fantasy at its best–original, beautiful, amazing, and deeply moving.” School Library Journal starred review. Janet links each new book with a charitable organization empowering readers
More about Janet Lee Carey...

Other Books in the Series

Wilde Island Chronicles (3 books)
  • Dragonswood (Wilde Island Chronicles, #2)
  • In the Time of Dragon Moon (Wilde Island Chronicles, #3)

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“Tell me where you’re taking me.” “I take you nowhere, Princess,” he called back. “It’s you who follows me.” 1 likes
“The real dragon haunted my head and heart.” 0 likes
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