Tuesday, 10 May 2011

[Book Review] Must Love Dragons

If you say "elves" and "dragons" in the same breath as "fantasy", most people will think Tolkien, or something along those lines. Well who says fantasy has to be so po-faced and formulaic? Why can't it be...fun? Thankfully Monica Marier must have been thinking the same thing when she wrote Must Love Dragons.

Must Love Dragons tells the story of Linus Weedwhacker, a half-elf Ranger married to a shapeshifting dragon. He's given up his job to look after the kids while his wife runs a successful jewellery store - already very progressive for a genre in which most women are relegated to damsels, scheming queens or evil witches. When his wife falls pregnant again, she goes off to stay with her bad-tempered reptilian mother, and Linus goes back to work as a Ranger. Is it easy? No! There again, there would be no fun in it if it was.

Linus must team up with an enthusiastic young elf named Morfindel, and elven siblings Wendria and Bart to rid a village of a nearby infestation. Wendria is an academic but useless in the field, Bart has issues with authority, and Morfindel is...well, he's Morfindel, and absolutely lovable despite being utterly clueless. Linus is forced to play Dad while keeping them, and himself, out of trouble. Clearly the job of a Ranger is fraught with peril, involving a spot of bother with frost dragons, food poisoning and even political shenanigans.

Must Love Dragons is no kiddie quest story, with Linus appearing more as a 'John McClane in Middle Earth' character. In fact, the one thing missing from the book is a "Yippee-kai-ay!" Anyone who has ever encountered even a smidgen of bureaucratic nonsense in the workplace will surely sympathise with the various predicaments in which he finds himself, and the fact that he is so curmudgeonly just makes him so much more appealing as a hero. In fact, he's more like Snake Plisskin. He just wants to do the job and go home, and can everyone just leave him alone when he's finished?

The dialogue is sparky, and more than one passage had me chuckling. The action scenes crack along at an impressive rate, and the pacing makes this a real page-turner. Linus is a likeable protagonist, although he's occasionally upstaged by the earnest Morfindel. Must Love Dragons scores in that it is so heavily rooted in fantasy mores (musty village shops, elves, magic, dragons etc.) yet happily up-ends the whole lot to bring a touch of humour and humanity to an occasionally staid genre. Anyone for a spot of comedy-fantasy?

You can buy Must Love Dragons from Lulu or Amazon.

Monica Marier is a caffeinated writer, artist, mother and eccentric. On weekdays, she's busy working on her books, recording audio files, and composing serials and short stories for her blog. On weekends she's a co-founder of Tangent Artists, a webcomic company where she writes and does art for 3 comic series.

Her book Must Love Dragons is now on-sale through Lulu, Amazon, and upon request at Barnes & Noble. The sequel Runs in Good Condition is now available for pre-order through Hunt Press. Her serial, Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid is now running in the e-zine Dr. Fantastique’s Show of Wonders.

4 comments:

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

Nice review, Icy. Sounds like a great book – Die Hard meets dragons? I'm there! Congrats Monica!

Monica Marier said...

Thanks for the killer review, Icy! I'm so glad you liked it. I'm glad you like Morfindel, because he follow Linus through the next two books! ; )

laradunning said...

Nice review and the book sounds like a good read. I think there is a typo in second paragraph. I think "He's gived up" is suppose to be "He's given up." It's great to enjoy a book and also laugh too. Inserting humor into stories is a talent. Kudos to you Monica!

Icy Sedgwick said...

Cathy - It's a wonderful book! I'm really excited about the next one.

Monica - You're welcome!

Lara - Oh thanks for catching that!! Just goes to show even re-reading something doesn't get all the typos.

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