Greg Hart is a very small boy with a large imagination. He spends most of his time writing in his journal about fake adventures starring a much stronger, braver version of himself. But when he is brought face to face with the school bully, he is suddenly pulled into a different world by a group of wizards who declare him to be Greghart, a foretold slayer of dragons and the only person capable of defeating the great dragon Ruuan and rescuing the princess. Too bad Greg can’t even stand up to a bully, much less a dragon.
How to Slay a Dragon
By Bill Allen
Bell Bridge Books
Most readers probably won’t be too surprised by how the story unfolds. The very concept of a boy ripped off to an imaginary world has been done so many times that it’s become a cliché. But ignoring the predictable storyline, there are still some issues with the book that I just couldn’t let slide.
To begin, the stories Greg writes in his journal are not only awful, but also completely out of sync with his character. Anyone who casts themselves as an invincible hero in all their own stories is going to have a bit of an ego. But the only thing Greg honestly believes he does well is run away.
The next problem is the populace of Myrth who unwaveringly believe that Greg is the hero foretold to slay Ruuan. Even when it becomes obvious that a mistake of some kind has been made, pretty much every single person sticks to the explanation that the prophecy says it, so it must be true.
It is also widely accepted that when something unseen rustles in the bushes it is a creature called a monkeydog, which no person alive has every actually seen but everyone agrees exists.
I honestly developed a headache from reading some of the conversations.
The final piece that just doesn’t work is the book’s rather infrequent use of puns. Early on, we’re introduced to a witch named Hazel and a prophet whose name is shortened to Simon Sez. And while these little bits of humor are cute on their own, they’re never really fleshed out or expanded on in the story.
In fact there’s quite a bit in the story that doesn’t make sense at best and is frustrating at worst.
So while younger readers may be able to forgive some of the obvious plot holes, older readers might want to steer clear in favor of avoiding migraines.
Matthew Scott is just another average reader who enjoys sharing his opinion on various books, authors, and whatever else may cross his path.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.