I love the Buffy film, and Legally Blonde, because they take young women with girly interests and use those to literally and metaphorically kick ass. The heroine here is a talented seamstress, in a world where dressmaking is entirely manual labor. While I enjoy a story about a girl taking up a sword to fight a dragon, a story in which a girl makes a deal with a dragon is even better. And also, it reminds me of Dealing with Dragons.
I enjoyed the first part of the book. The author Jessica Day says in a note that she loves Patricia Wrede and Robin McKinley. I am not very familiar with RM, but PW is one of my favorite fantasy books. It is easy to sense her inspiration in PW; Feniul and Shardas could possibly have been friends with Kazul from The Enchanted Forest. Talking dragons, wrongly mistaken as ferocious beasts, when in all, they are intelligent creatures who enjoy the company of clever humans. The first part is by far the best, when the reader is introduced to this dragons (and their funny hobbies) and one can't help but envy Creel, who is just a common girl that meets them and befriends them.
When she stars working as a dressmaker, the story declines a little bit. No doubt her talent is fantastic, and she meets interesting people, like the crazy Princess Amalia, Prince Luca, Tobin, and the girls that work in the same shop. But there is barely a scene with Shardas, and Creel is not a very good MC. To be honest, she is not bad, but she is far from being a kindred spirit.
The last part was a bit tedious. True, there is finally a battle, but the use of the slippers was dumb, and Creel cries to much for my taste. Some revelations were "mmm, ok, fine, whatever" for me.