Book Review for Dragon Slayer
I received an electronic copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Well done! looking forward to the next book in the series.
My first Impression of the book was great. The book has dragons for Pete’s sake! I assumed, and rightly, so that it was a coming of age book where at some point a hero confronts one of the most powerful of mythical creatures, a dragon. What makes this story especially nice is the Christian worldview that permeates its pages. It is refreshing to read fiction that acknowledges the existence of God in general and Jesus in particular and looks at how the characters lives are influenced by their faith.
There are multiple characters within the book. The central figure is the young man Hon of which the story revolves around. But surrounding him is a cast of both likable characters and a chief antagonist who help bring the story to life. I enjoyed the author’s portrayal of the characters in the books. The interchange between the antagonist (Simon) and the two kings is simply superbly written, and believable.
The world in Cary’s book is filled with kings, rival kingdoms, markets and soldiers. All the standard fair that one would expect in such a book of fantasy. However, the book lacks a lot of history of the world that the characters inhabit. We know little of how the kingdoms came to be. A world map although not required to understand the story would have been an extra benefit.
What was conflicting for me was the use of the scriptures and Jesus in the story. (Hear me out) In the world of this story Jesus is a historical figure. The scriptures also historical in that they are actually alluded to exist and are referenced in the book. Yet the book also contains ‘real’ dragons within its world. I found this hard to reconcile. To merge both the historical figure of Jesus and the actual Bible with a mythical beast even in a fictional setting was hard to get past for me. It had the effect of taking me out of the story. As a reader I am already asked to suspend belief and for a moment live in the authors world. A world where both Jesus and Dragons are considered historical was hard to for me to get past.
When the references to Jesus and the scriptures come; it removed me from the fictional world the author had created and brought be jarringly into the real world. My belief was suspended for a period as I read, but then I felt I was plopped back into reality when Jesus was mentioned. I couldn’t figure out how to reconcile that somewhere after the death and resurrection of Jesus there were dragons. In my mind it made me try to locate the time frame of the story and its possible location, which again had the effect of taking me out of the authors story.
It took me a while to get back on board with the tale as I was wondering if I was going to get that “location” my mind was looking for. For me this became the weakest point in the novel, but I totally understand why some might enjoy the merging, or simply not care that a writer has done this. It’s also ironic on some levels since its a christian fictional story.
Essentially, the book ceased to become allegorical for me because instead of an Aslan, which to me would have been consistent with this fantasy world where dragons exist. The author chose to use the real historical Jesus. Imagine The Chronicles of Narnia where Jesus is the character instead of Aslan and you will begin to get why I am saying what I am saying. It does fit…but then again it doesn’t.
Eventually, I just came to accept that this was the fictional world I was being asked to accept (that a literal dragon and a literal Jesus could exist,) and I moved on. Like I said. For some readers this will simply not be an issue for them. I hope the author in the subsequent books delves more into the lore/history of the kingdoms and the origins of the dragons in the story. I would love to see if this “issue” gets tackled in subsequent works.
The writing style was wonderfully done. The author did a great job of vividly capturing the life of the people he described, and their highs and lows. It was an easy read. There were minor grammar or formatting errors but I emphasize that they were minor and did not detract from the book. I would say the overall style was written for someone in middle school or higher. I enjoyed the authors descriptions and the dialogue in the book.
There were minor editing or formatting issues. Nothing that drew me out of the story. Overall, the book was formatted well.
The cover doesn’t do the book justice. Although there is absolutely nothing, wrong with it. I would have liked to see something that captures more the image of a dragon being slayed. I like my fantasy covers to ‘pop’ more. 🙂
Christian World View
The author shines here. His biblical counseling background becomes evident and I found myself taking away various precious gems that one can use in helping others work through grief or challenges when life is difficult to understand. There is clearly a biblical affirmation that God exists, he is in control, we have to choose how to respond to him and our suffering, and there is a positive affirmation of both scripture and the person of Jesus. You will not wonder if this is a Christian work of fiction. Although, I personally believe unbelievers can enjoy this speculative work. Some might feel the work a bit preachy. I give this area 5 stars.
Overall the book is a great introduction to this new fiction author and I am looking forward in continuing to read the stories he puts forth in subsequent works. I would recommend this well written book, especially to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction and its appropriate for younger children as well.
World Building 4
Writing style 5
Christian Worldview 5
I give it an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars
You can find Mr. Green’s novel here
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Donovan M. Neal