Friday, 8 August 2014

Here, There Be Dragons Review

A few months ago, all of the books that I wanted to read either already read, had too long a request at the library, or weren’t released yet (this is, of course, ignoring the ever-growing pile of to-read books in my room). So I turned to my friend Pulsarax on Tumblr and ended up borrowing a number of books – one of which was Here, There Be Dragons.
Here, There Be Dragons is a fantasy novel written by James A. Owen. It was published a while back in 2006 and is the first book in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. I’m not usually much of a fan for books that don’t take place in a modern setting, but I was lent this book with the promise of allusions to various mythology, so how could I refuse?

I am very glad this book was recommended to me. One of the things I usually dislike about fantasy that is set anywhere other than modern times on earth is a combination of the fact that realistic human development and that there is normally a formula of how things happen. Someone seems normal (for whatever creature they are), they accidentally get dragged into a mess that they didn’t originally anticipate, and then go on some form of the quest. While this book did follow that structure, there was enough happening that it didn’t seem drawn out or long winded.

The first thing that stood out was, of course, the allusions to mythology. Folklore, Greek, Arthurian... They were all intricately woven into the book where it didn’t harm the understanding if you get the reference, but made a good joke if you did.

The plot itself moved quickly. It was a little difficult to get into, like most books, but sped along once you got past the first chapter or two. I personally love how the author chose to take a plot that could have extended for a trilogy (cough Tolkien cough – not hating on the series, of course) and put it into one book. I have very little attention span as it is, so the fact that it went by so quickly was practically a gift.

On the other hand, the faster the book moves, the less detail there is. While I did love the characters, there was something lacking about them. It is only the first book in the series, so there is most certainly a lot more that can be delved into (I’ve only recently started the second one), but even so, the characters weren’t too relatable and were somewhat flat.

I give this book a four out of five. There were some things about this book that I didn’t like, but they were drowned out by how amazing other parts were. There is also a major plot twist at the end of the book that had me staring at the page in shock. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fairly quick and easy fix of fantasy with a book that’s very easy to get into and will leave you hooked until this end. 

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