“How to Slay a Dragon (The Journals of Myrth #1)” by Bill Allen
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
Greg Hart can’t slay a dragon. He’d be lucky to win a fight against one of the smaller girls at school. His only real skill is that he can run faster than any other twelve-year-old boy in his class, a necessity, since that’s who he’s usually running from. Oh, it’s not like he’s never been the hero at the center of an adventure. It’s just the kind of adventures he’s been involved with have always been the made-up kind he’s written about in his journal. Now the magicians of Myrth have yanked Greg into a strange new world, where the monsters he must run from are far scarier–and hungrier–than anything he’s ever run from before. He tries to tell everyone there’s been a mistake. Ruuan is a very large dragon, while Greg, on the other hand, is neither large nor a dragon. He’s barely much of a boy. Unfortunately, such trivialities could never stop the people of Myrth from believing Greg will rescue King Peter’s daughter from Ruuan. After all, Greg has been named in a prophecy, and no prophecy has ever been wrong before. Why, Greg wonders, does he have to be at the heart of the first one that is?
I don’t mind when stories have similar story lines as long as each story is new and interesting. Unfortunately How To Slay A Dragon‘s story was a bit boring. It’s a pretty typical set up: our protagonist is ripped from his normal life and thrown into a new world. In this new world, he’s the one who has to save the world even though he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Surprise! He learns a lot in this new world and is the hero everyone thought he would be.
I don’t mean to say the story is bad because it’s not. It just wasn’t as interesting as it could have been for me. The characters were interesting enough. I thought they were a bit funny. They kind of reminded me of characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Actually now that I think of it, the whole book was a bit reminiscent of Discworld’s universe and humor but for a younger crowd.
The book did a good job of exploring the idea of prophecies and luck. In fantasy books, prophecies are a big thing. People plan out their actions based on them. If a prophecy is wrong, it could shatter their existence because they don’t think prophecies can be wrong. Because of that people bend and twist prophecies into what they think they mean so they are fulfilled. The author explored luck in a very cool light that can be applied to everyday life. Imagine that someone is nearly crushed to death. Most people wouldn’t consider that to be lucky. If anything, we’d consider that bad luck but aren’t they lucky to still be alive? It’s definitely a glass half empty/half full type of thinking.
The bottom line? Entertaining enough but not enough to make me continue the series.