Sadly, as a reader coming to this series for the first time, I would say that the blurb reads more like backstory than a summary of the story which is what I would expect from a blurb. I cant honestly say I would have picked the book up from this.
Readers of Christian fiction might enjoy this, but I wouldn’t recommend it for hardcore fantasy readers due to the sheer lack of depth in the world building, characters, and creature development. Given that the story is supposed to be a mystery, I felt it took far too long to get to the teeth of the plot. While the first chapter showed promise by introducing the concept of dragons, it slowed right down leaving the reader hanging without any discernable hooks to encourage them to keep reading. The first chapter is followed by two long chapters about a borderline alcoholic jumping through administrative hoops for no other reason that I could make out than that she was told too. There was no real obstacle or conflict to keep the story moving making the character’s role in the first four chapters an entirely reactive one. While the idea of these mythical creatures adopting human religions is certainly interesting, it would have been far more satisfying had they not all been Christian.
The story begins with Penny, a widowed Anglican priest, finding a fatally injured dragon by the side of the road. It turns out the circumstances for this death are suspicious and the widowed Anglican priest is recruited to investigate, and police incursions into our world while keeping her brother out of trouble. It’s sad that the author took more time to inject religion into their work than to add depth a world of mythical creatures and magic which could have been really good. The writing style verges on wordiness, and a great deal of the narrative appears to be scripture – used as story-filler. and long segments about the intricacies of church bureaucracy. The tracts of scripture left me feeling like I was being vicariously preached at. UnfortunatelyI found myself skimming chunks trying to get back to the story thread.
If the author decides to put out a second edition, I would recommend more world-building, and less preaching and church admin.
At first glance, the cover art is clean and in line with the current fashion of placing an image of the protagonist on a dark background, then surrounding them with brightly coloured highlights. I am generally inclined to feel that adherence to this fashion in cover art makes it hard to really distinguish it from other titles in the same genre. While well executed, artistically, I do not feel it tells the reader much about either the story or the protagonist. It features the standard recipe of a nondescript woman in a dark suit, but there is no sign that she is a priest. I hope that this choice was not deliberately intended to dupe readers who might not have otherwise picked it up. Only the fact the word ‘Dragon’s appears in the title hints at the story.
Bishop Nigel smiled at me. ‘Holy water doesn’t harm vampires. Which is just as well, as it would make it impossible to baptise them.’
When I was asked by a dragon to give him the last rites, I never dreamed it would lead to negotiating with his cannibalistic family or running from snail sharks. Life as the priest of a small English village is quite tame in comparison. At least I have Morey, a gryphon with sarcasm management issues, to help me. And if all else fails, there’s always red wine and single malt whisky.
As if my life weren’t complicated enough, a darkly beautiful dragon named Raven keeps appearing where I least expect him, I’ve met a handsome police inspector who loves science fiction as much as I do, and my younger brother is getting into trouble for trying to pick up vampires.
That’s what happens when you’re dealing with an incredible and dangerous parallel world full of mythical creatures. And I have to learn to navigate it all without losing myself, or my brother…
- Available from Amazon
- Paperback and Kindle Unlimited
- Price £7.00