Title: How to Slay a Dragon
*Series: The Journals of Myrth #1
Author: Bill Allen
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Pages: Paperback; 228
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Nothing of note
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy good witty humor and word play in their reading.
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Ruuan is a very large dragon. Twelve-year-old Greg Hart can't slay a dragon. He'd be lucky to win a fight against one of the smaller girls at school.
Now the magicians of Myrth have mistaken him for a legendary warrior, so they've yanked Greg into their world of sorcery and danger. Nothing will stop the people of Myrth from believing Greg will rescue King Peter's daughter from Ruuan the dragon. After all, Greg has been named in a prophecy, and no prophecy has ever been wrong before.
For Greg Hart, fantasies are a part of life. His journal is a place to share the person that he wishes he was. A hero. A strong, quick and brave character who slays vicious baddies with one hand tied behind his back (and of course always gets the girl in the end). Little does poor Greg know that he is destined to set off on a actual dangerous quest! In this story Greg really is the hero, and one false move will land him on the dragon's lunch menu.
I honestly loved Greg as a character, and I know that the reading group this book is aimed at will as well. He is funny, honest, and downright noble at times. Beneath the scrawny boy that everyone sees on the outside beats the heart of a hero. Greg has a quick wit that made me laugh out loud more than once. I adored how the author allowed his character to have doubts and fears. Greg isn't certain the prophecy is about him, and he's willing to (loudly) voice that to anyone who will listen. Still, he knows that a princess' life is at stake. Despite his fears, off he goes on an epic adventure.
Bill Allen weaves a story that will have you glued to your seat, with your eyes in the book, from page one. Trolls, dragons, witches, you name it and you'll probably find it in this fast moving story. The trials that Greg faces are too much fun! (Well maybe not for him, but definitely for the reader.) You get to follow him as he grows and changes, and by the time the end of the story comes it is almost heartbreaking. I know I'm definitely looking forward to more of Greg's adventures.
The last thing I want to mention, because it amused me so greatly, is the word play that is present in this book! How to Slay a Dragon is peppered with puns, jokes, and just plain silliness. I am not afraid to admit that I giggled. A lot. There are some parts of this story that are just so absurd that you have to! Fans of fantasy stories will love this. I'd absolutely recommend this to upper middle grade readers as well. They might not get all the puns, but I guarantee they'll fall in love with Greg.
Long story short? Get a copy. How to Slay a Dragon is a great addition to any adventure lover's shelf.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated in any way.