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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Netherfield: Rogue Dragon by Maria Grace | review

Don't forget, you can enter to win the prequel to this series, as well as see weekly sneak peeks every Tuesday during Austen in August! And make sure to stop back by later today for your chance to win a copy of this book in the series!



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Netherfield: Rogue Dragon by Maria Grace
Fantasy/Historical/Retelling, 424 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by White Soup Press
Elizabeth Bennet thought she was prepared to do anything to make the Dragon Conclave accept her beloved young dragon Pemberley into the Blue Order, but she had not anticipated it would leave her banished from her ancestral home and betrothed to none other than Mr. Darcy. But before Elizabeth and Darcy wed, they must find a dangerous rogue dragon before it provokes a war amongst the dragons and brings the fragile peace between dragons and mankind to a catastrophic end.

Nothing written in the annals of dragon lore has prepared Elizabeth to manage a dragon not governed by the Blue Order. Dragons have always loved her, but this one finds her arrogant, selfish and insensitive to others. With only her instincts to guide her, she must convince the rogue of her good intentions before the Blue Order loses patience and decides on more drastic measures.

Called away to the other side of the kingdom, trying to settle the dragons' unrest, Darcy learns the nature of the force poisoning the rogue dragon against Elizabeth. One nearer and dearer than they could have imagined.

Can Elizabeth and Darcy convince with rogue dragon to cooperate before darker forces turn it against them, without destroying the fragile bonds uniting the couple?


This review is of the 3rd book in a series, and though I try my best to avoid spoilers in general, if you don't want to have the series spoiled, you may want to bookmark this review for later!


I've spoken a number of times, at this point, about the Jane Austen's Dragons series, and how — as kooky as it sounds — dragons and the structured, precise codes of conduct and ways of life of the Regency period are kind of a perfect pairing. As a concept, I thought it sounded fun, but I didn't realize just how brilliant it really was until I started reading Pemberley: Mr Darcy's Dragon. All the little quirks, all the little weird bits of Regency life find a ready explanation in dragonkind, and I kind of love that.

Netherfield: Rogue Dragon wraps up the series nicely, and basically, everything I said of the first two books remains true here. Yes, it still has its moments of campiness, and yes,
they are still just as fun. Seeing Elizabeth come into her own and be respected for her natural talents and quick mind will always be satisfying and rewarding, and this happens in one of the more dramatic and solidly fulfilling ways with this story. Maria -- as always -- executes a retelling that works as a retelling, and on its own level, as its own thing, which is something I've said about every book I've ever read by her (and is one of the reasons I continue to read books by her, with pleasure!). She makes changes to the original stories that are carried through logically in the new story she's creating, instead of forcing the familiar characters and events onto a story that no longer suits them.

Netherfield brings all of the plot threads of the series to a nice clean conclusion, and though at times, it may have felt a little long, everything is wrapped up neatly and with enough of a satisfying punch to make the series and the world feel complete. There may be some who don't find the romance up to par for a JAFF retelling, and while I understand that (and I think there are things, especially as the story plays out, that actively work to undermine the romance), I think, again, this suits the story that is being told, and the world that is being created. I also think that the romance does come around, in the end, and has a payoff that is worth it if you're willing to wait. But honestly, the romance isn't even the point of this series to me — the strength is in the fantasy concept, and though most of the world may have left the "Jane Austen fantasy mashup" genre back in 2012, I think this is one worth resurrecting the trend for.

And speaking of trends, there are some trends I'm seeing with MG's writing and choices that I find interesting, and want to explore further, especially as regards her treatment of Mr Bennet. Hmm... EDIT: This review was written before I talked to Maria about a certain topic, and since she was on board with discussing it with me in depth, we did!

So. I feel like I've rambled a bit, and talked in circles a lot, in an attempt to avoid series spoilers, but basically: I find this one of the more unique and interesting and weirdly compelling adaptations of Austen I've read, and I'd be very curious to hear your thoughts!

If you've read it, or *have opinions* on the concept, I'd love to hear them in the comments!

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7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I am so glad to have discovered this series and that this book offers a great conclusion to it.

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  2. Wonderful review. I have had fun with the series and look forward to more.

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  3. Good! I'm glad to see that it finishes strong. I don't mind that the romance takes a backseat particularly when paired with fantasy worldbuilding like this. Ha! I saw that post that resulted from your Mr. Bennet discussion.
    Enjoyed the review, Misty!

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  4. Thanks for the review and the giveaway! I'm glad to hear that the ending is up to the expectations raised by the excellence of the previous books (not that I thought Maria could not pull it off magnificently as I am a longtime fan of her works). Thanks for the link to the Mr. Bennet discussion - I look forward to reading it as I had my wonderings about him and father-daughter relationship in Maria Grace's books.

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  5. It sounds like there's some good, campy fun. It's great when the stakes are so high!

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  6. Thank you for the review. I thought this was a great way to finish the story.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Netherfield: Rogue Dragon, Misty. You are right to avoid spoilers as I wouldn't be able to understand what's going on since I've not started the series yet.

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