January 22, 2014

Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen

Hey hey everybody happy New Year! Cassia here! I finally have another review for you all, and one of my--well, my only--New Year's resolutions is to re-read the books I picked to review (all of which I haven't read in a while). So, here you go!

Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen

John, Charles, and Jack never knew another world existed besides their own, England during World War I. They find out that there is, and that they have to keep the atlas to it safe pretty quick when they find themselves being chased by a pack of Wendigo. And they don’t even know what Wendigo are, just that they better follow a peculiar man named Bert to safety to avoid being killed by them. They soon find themselves in the Archipelago of Dreams, where every tale they’ve ever been told is real, and they’re caught in the middle of a dark battle for control over the Archipelago.

The first thing that hooked me with this book was the title: Here, There Be Dragons. I’ll admit that I don’t know much about maps and sailing, but I do know that the phrase “Here, there be dragons” is a phrase used by early mapmakers to indicate that they have no idea what’s beyond the edge of their map, as it’s uncharted territory.
So, since they didn’t know what was there, they assumed it was dragons, or any other kind of dangerous mythical creature. How intriguing is a book titled with that phrase? Very.

I can’t describe Owen’s style, but it was the style of a storyteller, and I love when I’m being told a story. You know, the old-fashioned storytelling, not most YA books these days. Also, he’s funny. Not a lot, but when the characters find themselves in the middle of two very bad options, one of them says something that brightens the situation a little bit. I was thoroughly entertained by the whole book. Owen brings every legend, every myth you’ve heard and even myths you haven’t heard into one book. To me, that’s like a birthday present with a big red bow on top.

As for the characters, I liked them all. Jack was a little if-y for me, because of the choices he made, but I ended up liking him in the end. He’s very complicated, but I loved to watch the way he changed, when he finally overcame his greed and realized that what he had turned into wasn’t what he wanted. That was a great scene. I found the Winter King interesting, too. Who doesn’t love an interesting villain? ;) Charles didn’t change a whole lot, and I couldn’t help but like him. He was the one that I said says things that brighten the situation, no matter how little. John was probably my favorite of the three, because he is eager to please, and when he doesn’t please, he beats himself up over it. Overall, a good character in my opinion. Ooh, and the neat thing about the three of them is that they all become certain storytellers that you’ve heard of. I’m not going to say which, see if you can figure it out.

Owens creates an intriguing story with legendary characters, legends, and a world that completely ignores logic.

Four stars!
Goodbye for now,

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