#Review Highfire by Eoin Colfer

About the Author
Eoin Colfer is the author of the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl series, which has been translated into more than forty languages,as well as the WARP, Benny and Omar, and the Half Moon Investigation books, which have won numerous awards, including British Children’s Book of the Year, The Irish Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year and The German Children’s Book of the Year. He has also written two adult crime novels, Plugged and Screwed. A Disney film adaptation of Artemis Fowl will be released in 2020, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Dame Judi Dench.

Born in Ireland, Eoin was educated at Dublin University and qualified as a primary school teacher, before turning his hand to writing in 2001. Highfire is his first adult fantasy novel.

About the book
Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him…

An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke’s unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy’s reputation.

Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou – and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp…

For Squib Moreau, Regence Hooke and Vern, aka Lord Highfire of Highfire Eyrie, life is never going to be the same again.

I think it’s fair to say when it comes to dragons Vern is in his own league. Vodka swigging, shorts wearing, cigarette smoking dragon who likes to get comfy in his La-Z-Boy. He is hiding in a bayou, because humans are his mortal enemy, so it’s death to anyone who discovers his existence.

Squib Moreau runs moonshine in the very same bayou, planning a way to keep the local cop Hooke away from his mother and his future success at the same time. He inadvertently sees something he shouldn’t, which is the beginning of a bayou full of trouble.

It’s more than fantasy it is a new sub-genre of dragon lore. Rural swamp inhabitant takes on the criminal underworld. Not because Vern is interested in saving the humans who are plagued by the insidious nature of the criminal world, but rather because they did something that irritated him. Whatever you do don’t irritate him or he will rain hellfire on you or is that highfire?

There is no mistaking Colfer’s trademark snarky humour and excellent talent for telling a story. It has a gritty urban crime feel mixed with the doubtful charm of a rural area. An area where dragon and alligators vye for equal space.

I do hope this isn’t the last time we hear from Vern. He has made his very distinctive mark on the world of fantasy and dragons. 

Buy Highfire at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books  pub date 28 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

Follow @eoincolfer on Twitter, on Goodreads,on Amazon, Visit eoincolfer.com and worldofhighfire.com

Th Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly


The Jurassic World of China, but with a lot more casualties, and dragons instead of dinosaurs.

The introduction is spot on when it comes to stereotypical preconceptions about China and its people. Which things automatically come to mind when you think of certain countries, and I can wager one of those things will be a black and white bamboo noshing bear.

C.J. is a herpetologist, and no that doesn’t mean what you think it means, and has been called in for her expertise on reptiles (told ya). Talking about reptiles, I had no idea crocodiles had great memories and are intelligent enough to set traps days in advance.

China is quite adept at keeping the lid on any kind of negative press, especially inside their own country. They have a a firewall on the internet and exclude information to change the historical narrative of their own country.

If I were to look up Tiananmen Square China from inside China I would find information on the most enjoyable tourist spot and not information on the site of a massacre. Luckily for everyone outside of the dark abyss, they can’t change our memory of historical events, however it is an example of how easy it is for governments and countries to do exactly that. Change and form past events for future minds.

Reilly has combined fact with fiction in a way that may just make you wonder how probable the scenario is. I liked the way he has worked various cultural myths and literary quotes into the story.
Personally I think the dragons act like flying raptors, hunting in groups and communicating intelligently with each other, all with the end goal of eating tasty humans.

I think the real star of the book is Lucky, her fighting spirit and get go attitude are a bright light in this otherwise quite gruesome feast for the winged beasts.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

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Seraphina is half human and half dragon, not exactly accepted by society or by either side of the coin.

To win the war Seraphina is following up on an idea and seeking the rest of the half-dragons, especially the ones in her mind-garden.There is a possibility of connecting them all to create a powerful trap that can be used to take down the enemy.
Unfortunately her nemesis Jannoula has similar plans or rather intends to use the same half-dragons for her own nefarious plot.

It is a tale of power, mind control and kinship. Intermingled with the complex relationships between mixed races and differences between humans and dragons.

My youngest daughter is an avid reader of fantasy, so I can see this series appealing to able readers age 10+. It is easy enough to follow, but has the complexity fantasy readers enjoy.

Not exactly sure where Hartman is going to take the ménage à trois of Seraphina,Glisselda and Lucian. How is Seraphina going to deal with the forthcoming events? Isn’t it time for a new man in her life? No matter where I am sure it will be interesting.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Talon by Julie Kagawa

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This is the first in Julie Kagawa’s dragon-shifter Urban Fantasy. Ember and Dante are dragons, who can assume a human form, which they need to do to stay hidden within the human society, The two of them come from the same nest, which is highly unusual in dragon society.

Note that although the assumption is that they are considered by all and themselves to be twins, the phrasing Kagawa uses may indicate a second origin for either Dante or Ember. Just speculation on my part, mainly due to the way their egg nesting or hatching is described.

The two teens couldn’t be more different. Ember is outgoing, free-spirited, rebellious and Dante is determined to abide by the rules, regimented and happy to stay within the boundaries laid out for him.

Ember is torn between her two souls. Her human soul and body wants Garret the human, and her dragon body and soul really want Riley. Ember and Riley’s dragons speak to each other on such an intimate level it is as if they were destined to find each other.

Little does Ember know that both her hunky heartthrobs have hidden agendas, one of them is planning to kill her and the other save her from Talon. Apparently Talon isn’t exactly what they are pretending to be. Are they really protecting the hatchlings?

Kagawa has once again created an exciting venture into Urban Fantasy. I can see this story appealing to younger readers, especially those in the midst of the their first experiences with love.

Is it as intricate as Kagawa’s Iron Fey series,? No. Or as dark and mesmerizing as her dystopian Blood of Eden series? No. It is a little more mellow when it comes to complexity and focuses a lot more on matters of the heart and gut emotions.

Perhaps time will tell if this romantic ménage à trois will develop into a series with more grit. At the moment it does tick all the boxes for a compelling Urban Fantasy read, but knowing Kagawa this is only the beginning and there is much more to come.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK & Harlequin Teen.

A Legacy of Light by Daniel Arenson


It is very dark, even in the more lighter moments.
Almost as if the author wanted to keep a tight-fisted hold on that cruel element in his fictitious world. At every turn despair, murder, rape, violence and degradation. No sunshine allowed through the darkened clouds or the shadows cast by majestic dragons.
However one could argue that it is the nature of the beast and that nature mirrors itself in the society built within the books. Often shapeshifters are portrayed with a more human than animal side. Arenson has chosen to do the opposite in my opinion. He lets the animal side rule instead but all whilst in human form.
That being said the characters weren’t given enough time to develop because of the focus on the dark side.
This is part of Myth, Magic and Majesty a box-set of Fantasy books.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.