Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: How to Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen

Ruuan is a very large dragon. Twelve-year-old Greg Hart can't slay a dragon. He'd be lucky to win a fight against one of the smaller girls at school.

Now the magicians of Myrth have mistaken him for a legendary warrior, so they've yanked Greg into their world of sorcery and danger. Nothing will stop the people of Myrth from believing Greg will rescue King Peter's daughter from Ruuan the dragon. After all, Greg has been named in a prophecy, and no prophecy has ever been wrong before.

Until now.

My first thought when I opened my copy of How To Slay A Dragon was "Wow, this is longer than I expected." I guess I kind of expected that since this book was aimed at the younger set, that it would be the typical big-font, 100+ page book. This book clocks in at around 212 pages plus a sneak peek at the second book The Hero Who Slayed Ruann.

Greg Hart is your typical 100-pound weakling, the type that gets bullied a lot. Definitely not what you'd expect a hero to look like. However, by fate, he's transported to the kingdom of Myrth wherein he's expected to slay a dragon to fulfill a prophecy.

The thing that I enjoyed most about this book was its witty, snarky tone. Even the characters' names had a tongue-in-cheek theme (Lucky Day, Witch Hazel, etc.)

I definitely enjoyed the characters and their relationships. My favorite character would have to be Greg or Lucky. Princess Priscilla has a lot of promise as a character but I felt like she didn't get as much screen time and responsibility as she could have so I didn't connect with her as much.

The plot was definitely entertaining. It has all the elements we've come to expect from medieval stories (quests, dragons, princesses, heroes, and monsters), but the book doesn't take itself too seriously and so nothing feels as cliche as it should.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bell bridge Books for providing me with an e-copy.

  1. Lucky's magic backpack ala Mary Poppin's magic bag. Awesomeness, enough said.
  2. Characters. The characters were interesting. The group that is eventually formed had a very The-Fellowship-of-the-Rings-meets-Friends feel to it. :)
  3. Writing style. The style and tone of the book is very conversational, and it feels like it was being narrated by a sarcastic guy friend.
  1. Some of the characters weren't as well-developed as I would like. Of course, there's gonna be a second book, so maybe we'll get to know more about them there.
  2. There were parts where I found it hard to focus on the book because the action slowed down a bit.
True, Manny was in Greg's grade, but he seemed bigger than all the other boys at school combined. Surely he'd have graduated high school by now if he hadn't been let back so often - perhaps even got a good star on a technical vocation, provided he found one where he didn't need to think.
  1. You like action-adventure books.
  2. You enjoyed the Harry Potter series and other similar book series.
  3. You like your characters and books snarky. :)




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