Hello Humans! Now those who’ve been with me for a while, or those who follow me on Twitter will know that I have two loves, Dogs, and Dragons. While there are no dogs in Dragon Heart I was drawn in by the title and the cover, both of which promised me some draconic elements to this story. I wasn’t sure what else to expect going in, having never read anything by Peter Higgins before, but I was ready for a bit of fantasy.
As they fight their way across a dying land, Shay and Cass will do anything to keep their daughter, Hope, alive. The family faces unimaginable dangers as they try to stay together, and stay alive, long enough to reach safety. But when the heart of a dragon starts to beat in Hope’s chest, they fear they’ll lose her to a battle they can’t possibly help her win . . .
Critically acclaimed author Peter Higgins has written a richly evocative post-apocalyptic fantasy novel about how, even in the darkest of times, we have so much to lose.
Overall I gave this book three stars, which translates in my rating system somewhere along the lines of ‘I liked this but it was nothing to write home about’. There were some elements of the story that I enjoyed but there were some things that held me back from fully appreciating the story.
The Characters. This book is, for the most part, dual POV between Shay and Cass, both of whom were, on paper, quite interesting characters. Cass is a Hedgewitch and starts the book pregnant, not something I personally have read often in fantasy – getting pregnant? yes, starting pregnant? Less so – and Shay had some interesting characteristics too such as his knack for building and his protective nature that managed to not be creepy. But, at least for the first two thirds of this book, I didn’t feel as though I really got to know these characters, their motivations are clear in that they want to protect their unborn child and they want to get away from the unknown force that is chasing them, but they still managed to feel quite aimless at times. I’m wondering if having a map, so that you could see where they were planning on going and how everything fit together, would have been beneficial? It may be that there is a map, my review copy was digital and did not have one. I will say that towards the end of the book I warmed to both these characters and their daughter Hope a lot more, what they wanted felt a lot more obvious and logical and by the end, I was absolutely sold on their story. But if you aren’t entirely set on two characters and the entire book is mostly just the two of them and the occasional interlude from another character it does make for somewhat difficult reading.
Dragons. Those hoping for scores of winged beasts will alas be dissapointed by this book. There is only one dragon that ever appears on the page and you don’t really get to encounter it fully (I’d explain why but…spoilers). What I will say is that I thought that this concept of dragons was truly inspired. I loved how the author handled the idea of a dragon and the shaping of a dragon. It’s terrible that I can’t explain it to you without spoilers, but if you read this book for one reason, read it for how it tackles ‘dragonhood’.
Writing style. This was the biggest issue for me. This is an entirely personal thing, and I don’t want to say that no-one will enjoy this book because I didn’t, but I just couldn’t get on board with the writing style. It felt simultaneously overwritten and also too simplistic? It felt dense, but it wasn’t a long book to read so in hindsight it can’t have been? It just felt like each sentence had one too many words in it, at least to me. I will add that I’m not opposed to wordy or flowery books per se, but something about this didn’t quite sit right with me.
If you’re at all interested in this kind of apocalyptic fantasy that tackles themes of parenthood and has a very sweet, very real romance threaded through it (is it a romance if they are already in love at the start of the book?) then I would certainly suggest you give this book a go. I would argue that it has quite a slow beginning, but give yourself time to get to the end and I think there’s something special.
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Will you be reading Dragon Heart when it comes out on January 24th? Let me know in the comments below!