Monday, May 18, 2015

Handbook for Dragon Slayers

by Merrie Haskell

Story summary: I left this review way too late. It's been about two months since I read this, and I forget most relevant details. So I'll just quickly say that it's about a lame princess and some dragons, and then point you to the Goodreads summary.

Why You Should Read This:
  • Disabled princesses!
  • Plucky young heroines with a passion for writing!
  • A positive portrayal of a priest!
  • And last but not least: Dragons!

And Why You Shouldn't:
  • It is a children's book. Although I love children's books, this has the kind of writing that I think is a bit more exciting when read at a younger age. (Not that it's juvenile by any means. In fact, almost the opposite--sometimes in my ancient age of mid-twenties, my brain is too tired to grasp the slower sublties of Middle Grade novels. Seriously. C.S. Lewis even wrote an excellent essay on something like this.)

Thoughts: There were many similarities between this book and Haskell's first book, The Princess Curse. They both starred grumpy young princesses who would rather be in a convent studying their passion than fulfilling their princess duties, and both took place in an accurately medieval fantasy world. (Accurate to a point--there are purposeful differences, but it isn't like the pseudo-medieval world that role-playing games tend to use.) They both are excellently written, with unusual and entertaining characters.

Considering, as I mentioned above, it's been months since I read this, I don't think I can comment any more. However, I would like to mention three random things I happened to make note of that made me especially like this book:

--The mention of the different kinds of love, and the Greek names for them! It's something I think our culture could do with these days. I studied them myself, and loved C.S. Lewis's book The Four Loves, so it was cool to see that mentioned.
--The shout-out to St. Hildegard of Bingem! I think it's super cool that she was made a saint--she was an awesome lady.
--The cover! Pretty, no? The girl and her swirly cloak, the silver horse, the dragon in the distance. It appeals to me a lot. Most definitely will make my Top Ten (Or So) Favourite Covers of 2015.

Grade: 3 stars

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