The Dragon Hoard by Tanith Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a complete 180 from Lee’s dark, twisty novels. The Dragon Hoard is a light, humorous fantasy featuring a comical, evil enchantress hell bent on making one innocent prince’s life miserable. Many of the names in the story are symbolic such as Prince Fearless (though he isn’t really), King Purple, and the enchantress Maligna. The innocent prince that Maligna is after is called Jasleth, and the first thing Maligna does to him is fire off a curse that randomly turns him into a raven for an hour every day. He goes to seek his fortune and meets up with Prince Fearless and with 48 other princes go on a quest for the dragon hoard. Only about four of the princes are given actual names. The rest are referred to by their number.
Because I'm more familiar with Lee's darker work, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop in this story and for things to get very bad and horrifying, but everything remained happy and innocent throughout. I’m a little conflicted on this. On the one hand, I wanted the story to stay light and funny, but after I finished and sighed in relief, I felt a little cheated that some crazy horror hadn’t happened.
This was Lee’s first published book. I think if anyone had read this when it first came out, they would’ve envisioned Lee’s writing to go in a very different direction that in it did. While I’ve found humor in many of her books, especially the YA books, none of them have been this silly and light-hearted. I’m really glad I read this book.
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