Title: Henrietta the Dragon Slayer
Author: Beth Barany
Publisher: Firewolf Books
Pages: Paperback; 236
Release Date: June 17, 2011
Intended Reading Group:
4 Keys to My Heart
Henrietta, the legendary Dragon Slayer of the Kingdom of Bleuve, can't stomach the thought of one more kill. Yet, in order to save her dying mentor, she must go on one last quest. But will misfit companions, seasickness, and an ego maniacal king derail the quest for the healing stone? And will she be able to cut past her conscience and kill the dragon?
I need to start this review by saying that I absolutely adore Henrietta's character! Thank you to Beth Barany for writing such a spitfire and strong female character. Henrietta isn't the type to back down from a fight, but she also won't go looking for them either. She's strong enough to know who she is. On top of that, despite her renown as a dragon slayer, Henrietta can't stomach the thought of another kill. All she wants is peace and quiet. That is, until she is swept off on another epic adventure! Henrietta was a breath of fresh air in a sea of whiny female characters. I'm smitten with her.
Along with Henrietta, we meet her motley crew of adventurers. From a knight with an acidic attitude, to a court jester who just wants to tag along for the stories to tell, they are an amazing group of people. I enjoyed that Barany allowed them to each be so different. The interactions between them are fun to read, and they each bring a little bit of their expertise in various areas to the story. Best of all, each character is explained enough to feel as though you know them, without being overly done. Perfection.
There were only a few things that kept this book from being on my list of absolute favorites. The first being that there wasn't very much dragon slaying action. From the title, I assumed (which you should never do I know) that there would be epic battles in this story. In fact, most of the battling of dragons is done in the stories that are told about Henrietta's past. I kind of understood why this was. Henrietta wasn't eager to dive into the battle at the beginning of the story, and so it does make sense that she wouldn't want to get into any trouble if she could avoid it later on.
The other thing I really missed was world building. Although this doesn't really take away from the overall story, which is fantastic, there wasn't very much said about where Henrietta's story was actually taking place. References are made to forests, plains, etc., but you never know much more than that. As a lover of fantasy I'm a stickler for good world building. I'm hoping that since this is the first in the series I'll get to know a bit more about Henrietta's world later on!
Honestly, Henrietta the Dragon Slayer is an excellent read! As I said it is the first in a series, so there will be more of stoic Henrietta and her adventures. I cannot wait! I look forward to seeing where the story takes her, and applaud Beth Barany for writing such a strong character.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.