Did Lonks think this book was a winner or a dud? Read on to find out!—Sparkitors
Book #42: Here, There Be Dragons
Author: James A. Owen
Reason for Reading: Sparkler lissalovesmusic suggested this on my review of Nine Days a Queen and the title really stuck with me for some reason. I decided to pick it up on my next visit to the bookstore.
Quote: "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."
Copyright Date: 2006
Length: 324 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating (out of 10 stars): 6 stars
Summary: Yeah, I have absolutely no idea how to summarize this one… so here’s the back of the book! “John, Jack, and Charles are strangers brought together by the Imaginarium Geographica—an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. On the eve of the murder of the caretaker of the Geographica, the men learn that it is now up to them to protect the atlas from the Winter King, an evil conqueror gaining strength in the world of the imaginary. After securing one of just seven ships that can cross into imaginary lands, the three men set out to find the Winter King before he builds a deathless army that no force on Earth can defeat.”
Review: Before I dive into my review of the book, I would like to give you all some insight into the method I use for rating. I believe that there are two basic things that can determine how good a book it: the story itself, and the way in which the story is told. I have read badly-written books with a really interesting plot, and I have also read extremely well-written books with a uncreative plot. Generally, when I'm rating a book, I give the overall storyline a score from 0-5, then I give the writing and style a score from 0-5, and then I add the two together. For Here, There Be Dragon, the plot got a 1. However, the writing got a 5.
I found the plot of this book dull. A lot of it didn’t make any sense and a lot of it was, in my opinion, uncreative. The author takes dozens of myths and legends from all different times and cultures and tries to shove them all together. Most of the time, it really doesn’t work. On the other hand, I can’t remember ever reading a book that was witty as this one. The book is full of literary references and allusions, many so subtle that it took me a second to realize why particular statement was so familiar to me. It really felt like a very well-laid out Easter egg hunt for the literature lover. Some things were right in plain sight. Some you had to search a bit for. And some you didn’t even recognize until the person who hid them all points them out to you right at the very end. All of this made the less-than-entertaining plot well worth it.
Recommendation: This is not a book for those looking for a good, creative fantasy. But, if you love myths, legends, and literature, the sheer joy of finding what the author has hidden for you makes the book a fantastically fun read. And I can assure you that a surprising twist at the end will leave you begging for more.
Think you'll be reading this book? Do you have any recommendations for Lonks?
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