Review of The Queen’s Wings (The Emerging Queens #1), by Jamie K. Schmidt

The Queen's Wings

I was granted a copy of Jamie K. Schmidt‘s The Queen’s Wings by the good folks of Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Long ago, the Cult of Humanity sacrificed the Dragon Queen, crippling the breeding process. But now Carolyn hears the voice of that long dead queen telling her that she holds the key to breaking the spell that will free all the female dragons.

FBI dragon Reed’s disdain for humans can’t mask the magnetic attraction he has for Carolyn, but when she tells him she’s going to shift into a dragon he thinks she’s crazy. A female hasn’t been hatched, or shape shifted, in over a thousand years.

He’s proven wrong after Carolyn shifts and is named the new Queen on the block. A never-ending line of suitors forms, but she only wants Reed. Too bad he doesn’t want in on the competition. But when the Cult kidnaps Carolyn to sacrifice her in an effort to make the curse against the female dragons permanent, Reed must face his fears—and feelings, racing to save the woman he realizes he can’t live without.

Review: **slightly spoilerish**
In some moments I think I really liked The Queen’s Wings, then I remember that what I liked was what The Queen’s Wings was trying to be…and largely failing. It was trying to be a snarky paranormal romance WITH DRAGONS and Dragon shifters are my absolute favourite type of shifter. I also love witty heroines with a penchant for sarcastic side commentary and self-mockery (within limits, of course). By all accounts I should have loved this book. But I just didn’t. 

Don’t get me wrong; I liked some aspects of it. I did like Carolyn’s witty comments and willingness to stand up to all the alpha dragons around her. I loved that she occasionally channelled Kaname Chidori and rolled the metaphorical (and literal) newspaper. I liked her obsession with books. Now, there is a hoard I can relate to! I liked the humor. I liked the actual world created here, where dragons and humans have come to some social accord and live together. I liked the way it played with the concept of power, since the female dragons were both revered and victimized. I liked Reed in the last half of the book and I liked Jack and Niall. So, the book wasn’t a total bust. 

However, it also never clicked for me. It didn’t flow smoothly. The writing did. That’s not what I mean. The writing was fine. It was the plot. It just stuttered along, occasionally making leaps and stops. As an example, for 45% of the book Reed was standoffish and even hostile toward Carolyn. Then, in a matter of a paragraph or so, he suddenly got all affectionate. There was nothing to instigate a change in behaviour. It was a TOTAL attitude 180, with no cause. Even worse it was inferred that this might have been some Machiavellian attempt to curry favour and control and that seemed a lot more likely than that he just suddenly decided he liked her. And even though the reader is told it’s not, they even get their happy ending, it didn’t feel natural. Not at all!

I also hated that almost all the other women in the book were villainized. (The few who weren’t were victimized.) It’s like watching any of a 100 Disney movies and finding that anytime you have an older woman in any position of power (the queen, the witch, the sorceress, the step mother, etc) she’s evil. It’s the same old subtle sexist, ‘see, woman can’t be allowed power’ crap we’re fed all the time. Why couldn’t even one of the dragon queens be working toward the good of the species instead of her own comfort? 

I’ll grant that they had a pretty crap deal, but in the end, the ‘evil queens’ felt like a cheap and easy plot device. Especially considering the fact that Carolyn, who was set up as a saviour by being the first female to shift in millennia, actually wasn’t the first and none of her subsequent actions did anything to save the species. Crazy xxx’s did that. Yep, one of the baddies, who is also villainized and supposed to be reviled by the reader, actually brought the females back. (But we’re still left with the impression that she was evil for doing so.)

So in the end, I’ll give this a middling rating. I liked what the book was aiming for, I just ended up not much liking what the book was. On a side note, I find the description wildly inaccurate. 

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