Books with Dragons in them

St George’s Day today! Which is my tenuous excuse for sharing some of my favourite books with dragons in them.

Please share your favourites in the comments, I feel like I don’t have enough dragons in my reading list.

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Sebastion and Wydrin are mercenary sell-swords who free a dragon-god whilst investigating a ruined citadel.

At first they try to ignore the problem they have created, but the dragon starts destroying towns and villages and leaving a path of destruction across the continent.

A refreshing and fun story, full of magic, adventure, fights and taverns. I’ve only started reading Jen Williams recently, but she’s jumped straight to the top of my favourite fantasy authors list.

The Hobbit

One of the most famous dragon stories thanks to the films that came out a few years ago. I much prefer the book though, shorter and better paced and without all the boring bits they added to be able to make three films out of it.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

Neither good nor evil the dragons in Earthsea are wise and long lived. Scornful of humans, they will only talk to Dragonlords, humans that understand the language of dragons.

Written in the 1960’s, the Earthsea series is one of the most influential and best-loved fantasies to be published. If you have never read it do yourself a favour and get a copy.

The Dragon Keeper (Rain Wild Chronicles, #1) by Robin Hobb

The Dragon Keeper follows a pack of dragons born so weak and deformed that they can’t fly or hunt for themselves. Tired of having to care for them the people of the Rain Wilds want to move them up river to a place where they can live away from humans.

Thymara is hired to be a Dragon Keeper, she has to care for and feed her dragon on the journey to her new home.

So if you like dragons this series is packed full of them, and Robin Hobb is a wonderful writer 🙂

Note – this series follows the Liveship Trader series, but I don’t think you need to have read that first (I hadn’t), and this series has far more dragon page time in it.

Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8) by Terry Pratchett

A secret brotherhood who want to gain control of Ankh-Morpork release a dragon into the city. Enter The Watch, the ragtag and incompetent town guards who have to restore order to the chaos.

This is one of Terry Pratchett’s best Discworld stories it has many of my favourite characters and is massively funny. If you want to laugh out loud, this is the one for you.

The Circle (Engelsfors #1) by Mats Strandberg

The Circle

The Circle Blurb

One night, when a strange red moon fills the sky, six school girls find themselves in an abandoned theme park, drawn there by a mysterious force. A student has just been found dead. Everyone suspects suicide. Everyone – except them.

In that derelict fairground an ancient prophecy is revealed. They are The Chosen Ones, a group of witches, bound together by a power, one which could destroy them all. But they soon learn that despite their differences they need each other in order to master the forces that have been awakened within them.

High school is now a matter of life and death. Because the killing has only just begun

My review of The Circle

The Circle (Hammer)The Circle by Mats Strandberg translated by Sara Bergmark Elfgren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Circle is a Swedish Young Adult novel. Set in the small town of Engelsfor in Sweden, The Circle follows six teenagers at the local high school that find out they have magic powers.

For the first few chapters I was a little confused by all the different characters as the viewpoint jumps between the girls, but by the middle of the book, I had them sorted. They are all very different and there is enough character development to start getting to know each of them.

Not all of the girls were very likeable and they didn’t get on with each other, this conflict and the regular action keeps the book moving nicely.

There wasn’t enough use of their magic powers for me though, for most of the book the girls struggled to understand what they were and had no real idea how to use them. It might be more realistic this way, but I want to see more magic!

It’s long for a young adult book, but it all wraps up nicely at the end, no cliffhangers here! So even though there are sequels this can be read as a one off.

I will be reading the next book though, I want to see them getting the hang of their magic powers and using them a bit more.

The Circle
Mats Strandberg
Young Adult Fantasy
June 7th 2012

Kim & Kim 1 Vol. 1 by Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera

Kim and Kim

Kim & Kim Blurb

Kim & Kim are twenty-something besties out to make a name for themselves in the wild world of interdimensional cowboy law enforcement. In a massive “screw you” to their parents and the authorities, they decide to hijack some high stakes bounty — and end up in way over their heads.

Kim & Kim is a day-glo action adventure that’s bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Blending the punk exuberance of TANK GIRL with the buddy adventure wackiness of SUPERBAD (if Michael Cera was a trans woman and Jonah Hill a queer girl partner in crime), Kim & Kim is a bright, happy, punk rock sci-fi adventure that is queer as shit.

My Review of Kim & Kim

Kim & Kim #1 (Kim & Kim, #1)Kim & Kim Vol. 1 by Magdalene Visaggio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you might have seen me posting about this graphic novel a lot recently. I’m not gonna apologise because I absolutely loved everything about Kim & Kim! It’s loud and bright and crazy, and massively fun, and you need it in your life.

The two Kims are bounty hunters, adventuring around space trying to make enough money to pay their rent. Their spaceship is a van that looks like the one from Scooby Doo, and their weapons are an electric guitar and a bright pink gun.

It feels heavily influenced by Cowboy Bebop, but it’s got the brightness (and the wonderful outfit changes) of Jem and the Holograms, the crazy fun of Adventure Time, and a massive personality all of its own.

But I like it mostly because it has two badass female main characters with realistic personalities and a strong friendship between them. They’re not just a sexy fantasy version of badass either and that’s not something you see often in the graphic novel world.

More, please.

Kim & Kim Vol. 1
Kim & Kim
Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera
Sci-Fi
December 28th 2016
Graphic Novel

Hello, Moto by Nnedi Okorafor

hello moto

There is witchcraft in science and a science to witchcraft. Both will conspire against you eventually.

My Review of Hello, Moto

In Hello, Moto, technology and magic merge into one very interesting short story.

Philo had been in Jos when the riots happened. I knew it was her and her wig. A technology I had created. Neurotransmitters, mobile phones, incantation, and hypnosis- even I knew my creation was genius. But all it sparked in the North was death and mayhem.

It left me with more questions than answers and it’s a massive cliffhanger ending, but I feel like that’s a good thing.

You definitely need to use your own imagination when you’re reading this.

Read for free at Tor.com

Hello, Moto
Nnedi Okorafor
Fantasy
Online Short Story

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of it All

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All Blurb

A madcap new novel from the one-of-a-kind author of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

A GANGSTER, A VICAR AND A RECEPTIONIST WALK INTO A BAR . . .

Hitman Anders is fresh out of prison and trying to keep his head down when he meets a female Protestant vicar (who happens to be an atheist), and a receptionist at a 1-star hotel (who happens to be currently homeless). Together they cook up an idea for a very unusual business that’s going to make them all a fortune – but then all of a sudden, and to everyone’s surprise, Anders finds Jesus . . .

Anders’ sudden interest in religion might be good for his soul but it’s not good for business, and the vicar and the receptionist have to find a new plan, quick.

My Review of Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It AllHitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think people will either love or hate the farcical style of Jonas Jonasson’s stories. They are daft romps through life full of madcap characters who have crazy run-ins with police, politics and criminals.

The books are full of sharp and funny comments on life, and a lot of silliness, but for me, it’s the warm and likeable characters that make the stories stand out.

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All is nothing new from the previous books, but I didn’t find it as funny as the others. There were a lot of bits in it that had me smiling, but I didn’t have any laugh out loud moments.

I enjoyed it though, and I liked the characters. It’s still an entertaining and uplifting read, with some amusing bits!

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All
Jonas Jonasson
Fiction
April 21st 2016
400

The Tides by Ken Liu

“When I was little,” Dad says, softly chuckling, “the Moon was so small I thought I could put it in my pocket, like a coin.” I don’t answer because there’s no time to talk. The tide is coming.

Short (very short – 3 or 4 pages worth) post-apocalyptic story that somehow manages to pack more story in than most books.

It has some very touching moments and some beautiful phrases.

“I guess the Moon loves the Earth too much. She wants to come closer for a kiss.”

A must read!

You can read The Tides online for free

The Tides
Ken Liu
Sci-Fi
Online Short Story

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy

Book Blurb

A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN …

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

My Review of The Casual Vacancy

The Casual VacancyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read another review that said The Casual Vacancy is like a mini soap opera, and I think they have it just exactly right. There is no plot to this book, the story line of one of Pagfords residents dying and the fight for his seat on the council is really just an excuse. This is a book about people.

Now I like books about people, I like stories about life and relationships even when there is no real plot, but this just didn’t hold my interest.

I like the writing style and it’s easy to read but there are far too many characters to keep track of. Half way through and I had just about sorted them out and started to remember names and who they are related to / like / have fallen out with.

I did get into it a bit more after I started remembering who was who. Gaia, Andrew, Sukhvinder and Krystal were sympathetic characters.

But the rest of the characters are unlikeable, and everyone in the book is miserable and lead very depressing lives.

It’s a nasty little book filled with nasty little people being horrible to each other. And the events toward the end made me hate life a little bit.

View all my reviews

The Casual Vacancy
J.K. Rowling
Fiction

A Blackbird in Darkness (Blackbird #2) by Freda Warrington

A Blackbird in Darkness

The Blurb

Ashurek, Medrian and Estarinel reach the legendary Blue Plane in search of help in their Quest against the terrifying Serpent M’gulfn, but their greatest struggle is yet to come. The Serpent lies in wait for them in the far frozen limits of the North – but it also threatens to destroy them from their very midst.

My Reviews of other Books in the Series

A Blackbird in Silver (Blackbird #1)

My Review of A Blackbird in Darkness

A Blackbird in Darkness (Blackbird, #2)A Blackbird in Darkness by Freda Warrington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second and concluding part to A Blackbird in Silver gets much darker and more intense. Ashurek, Estarinel and Medrian are on a quest for a powerful weapon to defeat the serpent M’gulfin, meanwhile, the rest of the world is falling under M’gulfin’s spell, and despair and hatred are winning the day.

All the characters have grown and changed in different ways, naive Estarniel is more wary and less trusting of others, Ashurek is more thoughtful and understanding. And Medrian shows us some emotion!

We finally learn Medrian’s story and why she’s set out to kill the serpent, and it’s everything I’d been hoping for. She was by far my favourite character in the last book and is even more so after finding out about her life.

I like all the rest of the characters too, even the side characters are flawed and complicated. None of them are completely good or evil and they all have their own reasons for what they’re doing, beyond ‘we need to save the world!’ or ‘we need to destroy the world’.

Especially Arlenminia who worships the serpent like it’s a god. She is convinced that the pain and suffering it brings is for the eventual good of humanity and refuses to listen to anyone who says anything against it. Scary for how realistic this is.

Not even the serpent is not completely evil, we see a very human side to its emotions. Scared and confused, he was attacked and injured by the Guardians and now he can only think of revenge.

The writing is simple but very readable, and I love the use of colours in the way the world is described.

The story does get a bit cheesy at times, but it’s a fantasy written in the 80’s and what seemed fresh then can be a bit cliche today.

I really enjoyed this book, and while I’m not sure I liked the conclusion to the story, I do think that it’s a good ending.

View all my reviews

A Blackbird in Darkness
Blackbird
Freda Warrington
Fantasy
January 1st 1986

Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead (ToadWitch #1) by Christiana Miller

Somebody tell aunt tillie shes dead

Book Description

A little magic can go a long way — to really screwing up a girl’s life!

Mara is having the worst month of her life. At least, that’s what her cards tell her and they’ve never been wrong. She’s evicted from her apartment, loses her job and is banned from Beverly Hills. So when the tarot cards predict her imminent demise, she uses a little magic to make her world right.

Suddenly, an aunt she’s never met dies, leaving Mara as her sole heir. But when Mara moves into her inherited home, she discovers Aunt Tillie never moved out. She’s still one pissed-off old lady, even post-mortem, and she blames Mara’s magical meddling for her death.

When Mara accidentally releases a demon and awakens the spirit of the most powerful witch in history, Tillie’s ready to kill her — literally. It’s the only way she can think of to save the girl from herself. The witch and the demon, however, have other plans for Mara’s body.

My Review of Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead

Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead (ToadWitch, #1)Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead by Christiana Miller
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The cover and the title fooled me into thinking this would be a cosy paranormal romance story, and it sat unread on my kindle for nearly 2 years.

It feels more like urban fantasy to me (cosy urban fantasy?), the ghosts are actually dangerous and there is a fair bit of adult content towards the end.

But even so, the first half I found boring and I nearly gave up on it halfway through. It consists mainly of conversations between Mara and her friend Gus, which I didn’t find interesting.

Gus could have been a good character, but he doesn’t get out of the stereotypical ‘gay best friend’ role. If the author put a bit more thought into his personality he would have been interesting enough to carry most of the book.

When Mara moves into the cottage the story picks up a bit, and Mara gets more likeable. She’s daft and doesn’t think before she does anything, but still I kinda liked her.

I didn’t understand the attraction to the romantic interest, he seems like a bit of an idiot. And then she spends one night with him and suddenly she’s calling him her boyfriend. It was all a bit odd. It could have been left out as it didn’t add anything to the book.

I was happy to get to the end of this, the story never grabbed me and I didn’t really care what happened.

Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead
ToadWitch #1
Christiana Miller
Urban Fantasy

Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland

Lost for Words

Lost for Words Blurb

You can trust a book to keep your secret . . .

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she’ll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can’t hide any longer.

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.

My Review of Lost for Words

Lost For WordsLost For Words by Stephanie Butland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loveday Cardew is a quiet, antisocial bookworm working in a small bookshop in York. She closes herself off from relationships and finds herself lost for words when she tries to talk to people.

But she wasn’t always this way, and through flashbacks and memories we find out what happened in Loveday’s past that has left her so guarded and reluctant to trust anyone.

I really need to stop judging books by their covers. This is the second one recently where I’ve been completely wrong. I was expecting a fluffy light hearted tale, and really I only picked this up because it’s about a bookworm with a nose ring and tattoos, and it’s set in York, a city that I love to visit.

But this is a very thoughtful and beautifully written story, with flawed and interesting characters with a lot of depth to them.

The characters are wonderful, bookshop owner Archie has an almost magical, larger than life personality, Nathan (who is actually a magician) seems warm and kind and Loveday is complicated and spiky.

Dark past aside I identified very strongly with Loveday. The way she looks, they way she can never think of anything to say to people, the way she feels at social events, and the way she feels about books – almost everything that she said about herself are things that I’ve thought about myself at one time or another.

Loveday narrates the book, and her voice is compelling and shows a warmer and shyer side to her than the one she shows to the world. It drew me into the story and I really didn’t want to put it down until I found out what had happened with her family and her ex-boyfriend that made her want to hide from the world.

The end is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. I’m glad I ignored my first impression and took a chance on this one.

I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Lost for Words
Stephanie Butland
Fiction
April 20th 2017
368