Book Review: Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen

For our wedding, one couple gave my husband and I the most evil gift ever- a Barnes and Nobel gift card!

34908I know, doesn’t sound all that horrible, but for us it meant hours of searching through stacks and stacks of books, trying to decide exactly which books we wanted. And inevitably spending three times as much money as we had initially planned… We walked away with a graphic novel and several books, one of which was Dawn of the Dragons by James A. Owen, a compilation of two of his Imaginarium Geographica Novels. Two books for the price of one, and about dragons? I was super psyched!

The first novel in the book was Here, There Be Dragons. 

Here’s an excerpt from the back cover:

“What is it?” John asked.
The little man blinked and arched an eyebrow.
“It is the world, my boy,” he said. “All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose.”

An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.

Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds.

An extraordinary journey of myth, magic, and mystery, Here, There Be Dragons introduces James A. Owen as a formidable new talent.

My thoughts on the book?

Eh, it was okay… It took me a long time to get into the book and even when I got into it, the story fell a bit flat. The writing was very action based, which can be great, but it didn’t give you a chance to really connect with the characters. Some of the dialogue felt forced and awkward and there were several scenes that left me feeling confused as to what exactly had transpired- especially when they start talking about the Shadow-born and Shadowless… There were a few major plot twists I spotted several chapters ahead, making scenes obviously meant to be highly emotional instead seem sort of anticlimactic.

Now, all of my criticisms our of the way, this book wasn’t actually all that bad. The concept was extraordinarily interesting and the mix of mythology and legend was well done. I especially loved the last chapter. As I was nearing the end of this novel, I had almost decided to set down the book and not continue reading the series. But, there was a lovely literary twist right in the last chapter that I absolutely loved. Now I think I might have to keeping reading to find out what happens next!

I’d give this book three out of five stars. The novel overall was enjoyable to read, but would likely be more greatly appreciated by someone looking for a straightforward adventure novel rather than your typical fantasy novel.

 

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