Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon

The Story

England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes. Most people are blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind.  Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are able to hear and converse with dragonkind.

When the first firedrake egg laid in a century is stolen from Pemberley, the fragile dragon peace teeters on collapse. Darcy has no choice but to chase down the thief, a journey that leads him to quaint market town of Meryton and fellow Dragon Keeper, Elizabeth Bennet. 

Elizabeth shares a unique bond with dragons, stronger than anything Darcy has ever experienced. More than that, her vast experience and knowledge of dragon lore may be the key to uncovering the lost egg. . But Elizabeth can’t stand Darcy’s arrogance and doesn’t trust him to care properly for a precious baby firedrake. After all, he already lost the egg once. What’s to prevent it from happening again?

Can he win her trust and recover the stolen egg before it hatches and sends England spiraling back into the Dark Ages of Dragon War?

The Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I was given a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for a fair review.

I’ve read somewhere that all stories can be improved with the addition of dragons – even in a Regency setting, why not? And this is exactly what this book does.

I’m a longtime fan of Austen, and Pride and Prejudice especially, so it was fun to see dragons added to that setting. And to spot the quotes and references as they went

Most of the main story arc has been kept–meeting Mr Darcy, the different balls, Mr Wickham, etc.– but this is woven with the existence of dragons, who have their own wishes and rights to order their keepers.

I really loved that Lizzie was given a major role in this dragon business, despite being a woman. Some of the male characters were rather more misogynistic than in the book, and I found that a particularly surprising choice for Darcy, who’s also a rightful classist pr*ck the first time we meet him, perhaps moreso than the original. This has made it hard for me to get interested in his relationship with Lizzie, but he does improve as he learns that *shocker* women can be competent too.

I appreciate the fact that the dragon society is given a lot of complexity, and its own prejudices and issues, especially with the local dragon claiming his right to dictacte who Lizzie marries. It was also great to see Mary given a more interesting role, I always felt like Jane Austen did her an injustice, so it’s good to see that righted. It did not entirely make sense to me that some of the plot points from the original happened here too – like the miscommunication surrounding Wickham. I feel like there should have been shared knowledge making it impossible, and it was a bit annoying, but it did make sense in the long term.

There’s something to be said for the audiobook narrator, who went to great lengths to give characters–and dragons–their own voices. It was only a bit jarring to me that a book I often see as centred around women, and with Lizzie as the main character (though admittedly Darcy gets a good chunk of that too) is narrated by a man. But it was really immersive and I especially loved how the baby dragons sounded.

Overall I quite enjoyed it, I’m only sorry that this ends round the time that Darcy leaves Netherfields/ after the ball while Collins is still there, so even though the dragon story arc is complete, the main story is not, and having read Pride and Prejudice, it leaves me with the feeling that it’s uncomplete. Guess I’ll just have to read the next book!

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