Book Review – Dragons Away by K.D. Berry
It begins with a (usually) kindhearted half ogre in need of a job, and then the cast of comic characters expands to include rollerblading dwarves, an evil king and his eviler queen, a less than impressive magic user and his unreliable imp familiar, a host of crude and nasty goblins… and dragons. They have a dragon race.
The plot revolves around a conflict between two neighboring kingdoms, one ruled by an impressively oppressive king and queen, and the other by a short guy who likes games and seems, if not oblivious to the threat posed by his ambitious neighbors, at least not aware of how serious and imminent it is.
This book is a hoot. It reminds me of Piers Anthony’s Xanth books. If you read comic fantasy, you are probably familiar with those. Dragons Away is in the same vein, loaded with quirky characters, puns, and other bits of word play—but it’s better. It’s not as silly or clownish as the Xanth stories (as best as I can recall them), and the plot is more than just a way to string together a series of jokes.
The characters in this book are engaging and believable for the sake of the story, and the setting makes sense in a fairytale kind of way. As light fantasy, it works.
On the technical side, it’s well done. It’s written in third person with multiple points of view, which is quite common. The only issue I had is that there were instances in which the scene and POV character changed without a scene break (the blank line or scene break indicator like ### before the next paragraph). This can be disorienting to the reader.
It’s difficult to write comic fantasy without it coming off as juvenile or ridiculous. Actually, the only one I know of who can do it consistently is Terry Pratchett. This book does not have the underlying philosophical or cultural satire of Pratchett’s books, but I’d place it above the Xanth stories I’ve read. I recommend it to all who enjoy comic fantasy.