The Search for the Red Dragon: Quick and enjoyable

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

The previous Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica book, Here There Be Dragons, had a clean ending, but The Search for the Red Dragon introduces a new conflict that’s tied to the original adventure.

The strengths — and weaknesses — of the first book continue in The Search for the Red Dragon. The illustrations preceding each chapter are gorgeous, and James A. Owen‘s writing is plain, simple, and easy to get into. The mystery and dilemma are quickly established and the book has a “young adult” feel in terms of pacing and narrative technique. For example, I expected death to be uncommon in the novel, or at least that death would seldom be directly shown, and that prediction was pretty much on the dot.

My complaint is that Owen is sparse when it comes to the physical descriptions of his characters. When it comes to our various protagonists, there’s really not a lot of detail. Whether Owen is relying on familiarity with the previous book or the included illustrations, or if his goal is to get straight to the action, is best left for the reader to decide. As for the new characters and villains introduced, they’re given ample description lines — perhaps more so than the established characters. The author also mentions and draws upon many myths, legends, and existing books, and I don’t know how effective these references will be for unfamiliar readers. Personally though, it all worked for me, and the tension is high when Owen reveals who this or that character is supposed to be.

Overall, The Search for the Red Dragon is quick and enjoyable, and adult readers will find Owen’s various references a treat as he manages to tie real world history with myth. As far as characterization goes, Owen relies more on the personality and dialogue of his characters, which for me works and helps the narrative focus on the action.

FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.

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CHARLES TAN, one of our guest reviewers, is the owner of the blogs Bibliophile Stalker and Comic Quest. He also edits Philippine Speculative Fiction. You can read his fiction in that publication and in The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories. Charles has conducted interviews for The Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Awards, as well as for online magazines such as SF Crowsnest and SFScope. He is a regular contributor to sites like SFF Audio and Comics Village.

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