The Dragon’s Apprentice: Solid YA historical fantasy

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review James A Owen Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica 2. The Search for the Red DragonThe Dragon’s Apprentice by James A. Owen

The Dragon’s Apprentice is a delightful blend of historical fiction and urban fantasy. Written specifically for the young adult audience, James A. Owen’s latest installment in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica is really quite fun. For someone starting the series here, it is easy to adapt to the storyline and enjoy this novel.

The principle characters in The Dragon’s Apprentice are a group of English intellectuals, adult men who live in the 1940s, who have found a way to travel between our world and a parallel world at a time when fantastic creatures and magic abound. The process that leads to this traveling discovery is discussed in an earlier book, but it’s not necessary to have read that — there’s more than enough going on in The Dragon’s Apprentice.

James A. Owen is a good writer and does an admirable job of pulling together many of the great literary figures of earlier ages as characters in The Dragon’s Apprentice. I am not sufficiently versed in their histories to know exactly how much liberty he’s taking in his depiction of them, but it didn’t matter because they all made sense and their many quirks and individual strengths and weaknesses really add to fun of the story.

The Dragon’s Apprentice also follows a very special young woman, Rose, who has been chosen to play a pivotal role in saving the world. Rose is very charming and her insecurity in her role as heroine is touching. Sometimes I find female characters written by male authors to be overdone and annoying, but I didn’t have that problem with Rose.

On the whole, The Dragon’s Apprentice is pretty good and is a solid young adult offering. Owen doesn’t shy away from sad topics and dark themes, but he doesn’t dwell on them either, making the positive side of the story really come through. This is a solid series for kids between 8 and 14.

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JOHN HULET (on FanLit's staff July 2007 -- March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years.

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