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Dragon Heart

2.79  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  73 reviews
America's most distinguished historical novelist steps fully into the realm of fantasy and makes it her own.

Where the Cape of the Winds juts into the endless sea, there is Castle Ocean, and therein dwells the royal family that has ruled it from time immemorial. But there is an Empire growing in the east, and its forces have reached the castle. King Reymarro is dead in batt
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Tor Books
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2.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  220 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it
2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Dragon Heart has a delectable premise, touting a princess, a dragon, and a castle by the sea. Its cover and description also suggests a traditional epic fantasy, but with an author who is a renowned historical fiction novelist at the helm, you just know there will be more to it than that. Indeed, the book definitely turned out a lot different than I expected, though perhaps not in the way I would have liked. I wish I cou
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
I hate to negatively review books, but with this one, I was so disappointed I felt I had to say something. I loved the first part of this book, with Tirza and the dragon. Once they part ways, the story, for me, fell apart. I loved the cover, and loved the title, and felt that somehow, this should be a dragon story. It wasn't. It wasn't really even Tirza's story. Very disappointing.
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
...I'm very impressed with this novel. It is so tightly written and so well paced that I can't really find anything negative to say about it. Dragon Heart is one of those fantasies you can enjoy without committing to a sprawling series or a single huge tome. I have no idea if Holland planned sequels. It is not impossible to write more in this setting, but the story in Dragon Heart doesn't require it. Some readers may find it a bit too concise, preferring to spend more time with the many point of ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won this book in the First Reads giveaway.

It was okay. The writing is good enough for me to be interested in the authors other work. I just don't think I'm really into medieval style high fantasy that is full of castle politics. Like other reviewers, I was kind of disappointed that the book didn't focus more on Tirza. I found myself skimming parts that were from the POV of Oto or his family members.

Also, there is no reason given for why Tirza doesn't have some form of communication with her fami
Bill Tillman
Great adventure, lots of conflict. A five star read.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I got this book free from Goodreads First Reads. It has a dragon on the cover; what's not to like? Sadly, I wanted to enjoy this book more than I actually did.

The dragon appears only in the first chapter and at the very end of the book. There's a questionable scene of him licking Tirza that reads as sexual abuse, or at least harassment. There's one main plot - "the Empire wants control of the castle/kingdom" - but the narrative keeps jumping off at angles to itself, much as the royals keep harin
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
Well, that was brutal and strange and not at all what is promised by the blurb and cover.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Based on the title, the cover and the synopsis, I expected a tale about a dragon. After the first chapter, it was a tale of human conquest - one ruler vs. another. Yawn. After three chapters, I gave up.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Jeon's sister Tirza has always been a strange creature. She understands those around her, but when she tries to respond, everything comes out sounding like animals noises. Her family still loves her, but her life is full of frustration due to her inability to communicate. DRAGON HEART opens with Jeon bringing Tirza home after banishment to a faraway convent. On the ship ride home they are mysteriously attacked and events lead to Tirza finding herself in a secluded cove that belongs to a sea drag ...more
Michelle Hauck
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The cover and title gave me one impression of what the story would be about, but I found something else in the read.

An ancient kingdom is under siege from the larger Imperial forces. The sea kingdom's army has been broken and their king killed. The queen must remarry into the Imperial family to take over the rule benevolently, but she's not willing to go quietly . Nor are her large collection (5) of children each of which gets their own point of view scenes. So the struggle is set for rule of th
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Previously published at

I was really looking forward to this book. I'm a hug fan of historical fiction and was excited to see how Cecelia Holland would translate her skills into writing a fantasy story. From the back cover description I got the idea that Holland was looking to modernize a fairytale with the talk of a sea side castle, princess, princes and dragon. Sadly, I was disappointed.

Holland does a wonderful job at creating atmosphere and world-building for her story. I enjoy
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Overall, I found this book incredibly disappointing. I wanted to like it, and even though I decided early on that it wasn't any good, there were aspects of it that kept me reading in hopes that it might improve. It did not. Rather, it continued on in this mediocre state, woven entirely of the very very good and the very very bad.

the good

1. There is a dragon.

2. The protagonist is a mute princess, who the dragon holds captive/befriends (it's complicated).

3. Good family relationships -- mostly betw
Oct 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
For a book called Dragon Heart there not enough dragon in it I think.

Apart from that major grumble this is a nice enough read.

There are a bit too much viewpoint characters in my opinion, and I'd have liked a bit more in the way of world building, but overall the story is interesting once you get over the fact it's more about Castle Ocean than it is about a dragon.

Some of the names were confusing. There's one character named Broga, who is a man, but I kept forgetting who he was, because Broga sou
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Huh. I feel like I didn't "get" this book. There is a lot that I still don't understand: about the main characters, about the country, about the dragon, about a LOT of the relationships, about the magic (or not), and about how everything ended up.

This doesn't bother me much, though, because I wasn't interested enough in any of the characters to worry about them. I do not insist on liking characters; I do insist on being interested in them. The set up and descriptions of the characters was just
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: speculative, reviewed
Click for the full review on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It.

I started this book with the wrong expectations. The title, the text on the dust jacket, the cover art and the Kim Stanley Robinson quote on the cover – “Holland’s vision is constant, and her books keep going deeper. This time, she takes the sea dragon and the castle by the sea and plunges them right into your subconscious.” – all promise a story about, yes indeed, a dragon. That, Dragon Heart doesn’t deliver.


Holland’s prose is r
Zachary Richardson
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Dodd
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm left ambivalent.
I wish I could give 3 1/2 stars.
The possibilities were great.
A royal family with some connection to the sea. Wish that had been made clearer.
An evil empire trying to take over at any cost.
People dying/being murdered left and right.
A castle that is alive and seemingly sentient.
A potentially fascinating young woman who cannot speak, but has somehow never worked out any form of communication with anyone, even her siblings.
And a dragon. A character of great ambiguity. Is he ev
Sep 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
Mckillip and Martin influences are strong with this one. The story was too thinly spread, I feel like it could have been great. If the author stuck to the girl and dragon part, possibly minus the tongue-molesting. Will not be reaching for a book by this author again. The words were dry and clunky. I just couldn't see the story taking place in my head.
Marg Corjay
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was very uneven. The sexual tension was out of place and unrelated to the flow of novel. Why no one could communicate with the mute sister was never explained. It just lacked the substance that historical fantasy fiction that is usually expected from an experienced author. Cover does not depict dragon as he is described in book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I am disappointed. The dragon isn't in much of the first half I read after tongue-raping the MC for reasons I don't understand. Otherwise it's mostly political plot of fighting between nobles and writing that just didn't work for me.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Fantasy with tantalizing glimpses not well-developed. Very somber.
Jul 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, library, dragons
Too implausible for enjoyment.
Atit Patel
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Read too much like a fable to my tastes. The titular dragon was disappointing, and the plot didn't engage me.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
For a book that had a dragon on the cover and in the title, I kind of expected him to be a bigger part of the story.
Austin Sheehan
Jul 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
It started well - Princess Tirza, an unfortunate mute, and her brother Jeon are travelling home when their ship is attacked by a dragon. Tirza survives, but is captured by the dragon, and well, that was the good part.

So Tirza and the dragon can talk to each other. And the dragon loves hearing Tirza tell stories. And um, assaults her? There's a gross scene in there I don't really want to talk about. The dragon will hardly feature again, and there are so many questions - how can it
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm surprised this book is so poorly rated because i really enjoyed it. Many people seem to be miffed that the book varied from the synopsis on the back cover or that they had judged it to be some sort of dragonfest based on the cover art. If i could figure out everything in a book by the 3 or 4 paragraphs on the back cover then why would i want to read it? Anyway, this is far from the standard fantasy story and i think that's a good thing. It has flaws, (BEWARE!-POTENTIAL SPOILERS) such as: Wh ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2019
2.5 stars

Light novel. Queen Marioza lost her husband fighting the Empire of the East. She had five children: Luka, Mervaly, Casea, and the twins Jeon and Tirza. Tirza can't communicate - she's speaks in shrieks and whistles - though it's revealed to (view spoiler).

Early on, Tirza is lost at sea, where she meets (view spoiler) Tirza eventually esc
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is good and have good caracters and a fashinating story. You get to see their world and feel them in a few strikes of Cecilia's pen and she creates a very vivid world. The name fits even if the dragon comes strong in the start and are very present but than is mainly gone. #e find the focus moving to the counterpieces of a small costal kingdom and the big empire making demand on it's royal family. This is more of a political fantasy story than a dragon story.
I feel like the cover and it
Kat Duggan
Mar 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
You know when you hear the beginning of a dubstep song and you get really excited because you KNOW when that bass drops, it's going to be incredible? And that feeling of build-up and tension that makes that drop all the more satisfying? Ok, now imagine that the build goes on for a very long time, the drop never comes, and then the song ends. That is the feeling this book gave me.

I wanted to like it so badly. Badly enough that the excitement of the original premise carried me through until the l
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Pen name used by Elizabeth Eliot Carter.

Cecelia Holland is one of the world's most highly acclaimed and respected historical novelists, ranked by many alongside other giants in that field such as Mary Renault and Larry McMurtry. Over the span of her thirty year career, she's written almost thirty historical novels, including The Firedrake, Rakessy, Two Ravens, Ghost on the Steppe, Death of Attila,
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