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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let Your Imagination Fly
Bill Allen's book is full of imagination and charm. How wonderful to leave the humdrum existence of everyday life and fly off with Greg Hart to the land of dragons and kings. From chapter to chapter I never knew what was going to happen and always I was surprised and excited. Allen's use of words and names was creative and often laughable. Oh, to be young again and make...
Published on February 17, 2011 by Edith Ann

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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Humorous and inventive
I love daydreaming about being something I thought I would or could never be: a rockstar, a famous actor, an astronaut, a circus performer, and a hero. We all have had that fantasy where we believe we know exactly how we would act if we were placed in a situation where our fantasies became reality. Greg Hart....poor, poor Greg Hart had no idea that he would not have to...
Published on March 18, 2011 by Dranea79


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let Your Imagination Fly, February 17, 2011
This review is from: How To Slay a Dragon: The Journals Of Myrth (Volume 1) (Paperback)
Bill Allen's book is full of imagination and charm. How wonderful to leave the humdrum existence of everyday life and fly off with Greg Hart to the land of dragons and kings. From chapter to chapter I never knew what was going to happen and always I was surprised and excited. Allen's use of words and names was creative and often laughable. Oh, to be young again and make friends with dragons. Delightful reading all the way through.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Humorous and inventive, March 18, 2011
This review is from: How To Slay a Dragon: The Journals Of Myrth (Volume 1) (Paperback)
I love daydreaming about being something I thought I would or could never be: a rockstar, a famous actor, an astronaut, a circus performer, and a hero. We all have had that fantasy where we believe we know exactly how we would act if we were placed in a situation where our fantasies became reality. Greg Hart....poor, poor Greg Hart had no idea that he would not have to just fantasize about what he would do, but he would have to face the most challenging of all the popular fantasies.

Greg Hart is a small, well, better say scrawny middle school kid who is always being picked last, beat up, and ignored. He spends his free time writing about exciting adventures in which he defeats trolls and rescues fair maidens in distress. Not only is he not able escape a bully who invades his tree house, but he is also unable to escape a spell that transports Greg into the land of Myrth.

Greg Hart soon learns that the people of Myrth have been waiting in anticipation for his arrival. He is a great hero to these people, everyone knows of Greg and his wonderful deeds and all of the wondrous things Greg has accomplished. The only problem is, Greg has not done any of these things yet. He is given a king's treatment and fanfare befitting a glorious hero, but only because a prophecy stated at Greghart from Earth would be slaying a dragon and saving the princess from a horrible fate.

Accompanied by Lucky, the luckiest person on Myrth, Greg is sent out on this mission that the entire already expects to be a success because the prophecy said so and prophecies are never wrong. Facing trolls, evil witches, 300 foot tall dragons should be a piece of cake right? With the prophecy on his side and the luckiest person alive, how could anything possibly go wrong? Well, add in the fact Greg doesn't believe in this prophecy any more than he can skin a monkeydog and prophecies don't seem quite as obtainable as one would think.

Oh yea, the prophecy was made by a man who appears to have lived longer than the mountains on Myrth and who can only be understood by his wife who is almost completely deaf.....one more thing, the scribe who copied the prophecy is a drunk with atrocious handwriting. I'm all for an adventure with me as the cookable hero...wouldn't you be??

How to Slay a Dragon has a ton of sarcasm in it, something I just happen to be very fond of. You do not go more than a couple of pages without Greg making some sort of remark or humor being thrown in at some point. The humor can be enjoyed by young and old(er) alike. There always seems to be a twist and turn thrown in there as well. The story line seemed to drag for me in several places and I had a hard time keeping from putting the book down and getting a few other things done before returning to the book. Many YA books have a story line that can be engrossing for younger audiences as well as adult readers. This book, I believe, was geared more towards younger readers only. The story is a cute one, but not complex enough to grip an older crowd.

The lessons that are taught in this book I believe are strong ones: never give up hope and only you are in charge of your own fate. Greg had an entire planet pushing him to be one thing and to go down a certain path. Greg knew that life and that path was not for him, and he went against the popular ideas and made his own way. Kudos to Greg for knowing who he was and being the best darn Greg he could be!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful quest fantasy, February 15, 2011
This review is from: How To Slay a Dragon: The Journals Of Myrth (Volume 1) (Paperback)
If one was betting on a fight between twelve-year-old Greg Hart and the smaller girls at school, the latter females would be the odds-on favorites. Don't even bother putting up odds for him against the bigger girls.

However, the desperate Myrth mages except for seemingly skeptical Mordred believe Greg is a prophesized warrior. They transport the seventh grader to their world. His mission is to rescue King Peter's daughter Princess Penelope from Ruuan the mightiest dragon. Greg tries to explain he has spent years running from bullies like Manny the Malice who is much smaller than the fiery dragon; but the magicians insist he is the exalted hero foretold in prophecy and everyone knows that prophecies always occur; that is everyone but the geek from earth who keeps saying he writes heroic epics not stars in heroic epics; of course he has experience with dragons like the algebra teacher.

With a nod to the amusing How to Train Your Dragon, How to Slay a Dragon is a wonderful quest fantasy starring the last person one would expect to wear the mantle of prophesized hero saving the world from a powerful dragon. Fast-paced, middle school students will enjoy Greg the geeky tweener as he is sent forth as the reluctant hero to battle a bullying dragon.

Harriet Klausner
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, snarky read, May 21, 2012
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This review is from: How To Slay a Dragon: The Journals Of Myrth (Volume 1) (Paperback)
I happened onto this book during a free promo and approached it very cautiously. You see, about five percent of the books I find for free do I actually finish--or even get beyond page fifteen. This one looked cute, however, and I was impressed with the sample text, so I settled in for a longer read. It ended up being a wonderful surprise!

Within, Greg Hart is about to start seventh grade, and he's not really looking forward to it. True, he is the fastest kid in his class, but that's mainly because he's had so much practice fleeing dangers like Manny Malice. And he's got a great imagination. His journal is filled with the feats of daring he's accomplished in his own mind. That's why he thinks he's dreaming again when he's sucked into the land of Myrth.

In Myrth, the people live by prophecy. Seriously, it's almost law that prophecies MUST BE FULFILLED, and the people do everything in their power to see it done. So when Greg Hart finds out he's the fabled Greghart of prophecy, the Greghart destined to slay the dragon Ruuan and rescue the princess, he's notably alarmed. But he's forced into action, accompanied by a young man by the name of Lucky. ("Oh, and I'm Lucky," the boy in orange added quickly. Greg stared at him dumbly. "Good for you." "No, I mean my name is Lucky. Short for Luke." "Actually, it's longer," Greg said.)

On their journey, they meet a variety of quirky characters: Melvin, spiteful little brother to the legendary dragon-slayer, Marvin; feisty Princess Pricilla, who insists on being called Sasha and sets out to slay the dragon herself; and Bart the Bard, who has an annoying habit of singing ballads of death and destruction just before Greg heads into danger. Together they're attacked by a bollywomp, chased by falchions, and march to battle against a valley full of "razor teeth" --with Greg protesting all the way. Oddly enough, things do work out, just not at all in the way you'd expect it to.

My reaction? Sweet! (As in, I totally loved it!) This book has great characters and great action and adventure. I wasn't quite as impressed with the settings. (I felt a little bit like I was walking around on a map.) But this is truly one of the funniest books I've ever read. Not just turn-up-the-corner-of-your-smile funny, but big-toothy-grin funny, and sometimes even crack-up-out-loud funny. It's not the type of book you'd want to break open, say, in a crowd of strangers, or during a funeral, or when your teacher's lecturing. But it's great for most other times.

Here are a few more of my favorite quotes:

His name was Manny Malistino, only everyone called him Manny Malice, or better yet, Sir, if they thought he might be listening.

Better a live coward than a dead hero, he'd (Greg) always believed.

"Get some sleep." Yes, of course. Wouldn't want to be tired when I'm killed by the witch.

"Now, would you prefer to be roasted, mauled, or eaten?" If ever there was a question that deserved to be rhetorical... "Are there any other choices?"

The action, humor and word plays will appeal to the middle school crowd, though there's absolutely nothing to prevent younger ones from reading. Language and content are perfectly clean. I'd highly recommend it for ages 10+.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute and Clever, April 26, 2012
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First, a disclaimer- I am an adult who enjoys reading children's novel/young adult. I feel I need to say this because i have a feeling that if I had read this twenty years ago I would have enjoyed a lot more. Personally, I would have rated this more of a three star but I'm sure I am not the targeted audience so that didn't really seem fair. The author is talented, the characters are cute, and if I were in elementary school I'm sure I would have loved it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the middle-school crowd!, June 13, 2011
This review is from: How To Slay a Dragon: The Journals Of Myrth (Volume 1) (Paperback)
I thought this was a really great book. There are a lot of children's books out that are very predictable or that follow a certain mold, but this is not one. Although I thought the story would turn out a certain way, I was pleasantly surprised. This book is great for kids around the same age as the main character. Even though I'm a little bit (...a lot) older than 7th grade I found myself entertained and rooting for Greg. I also loved the humor and use of puns to work around the story. I look forward to more from the author!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dragonslayer-in-training, April 1, 2012
By 
Tracey (North Haven, CT, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a young adult novel I was granted access to by Netgalley - my thanks.

It's a classic idea: a much-bullied 12-year-old boy is whisked off from his down-trodden life to another world, where he can become a hero. Greg Hart is just that boy - and Myrrth is just that other world. He abruptly finds himself in the middle of a ring of wizards who have gone searching for him through the worlds. Well - searching for the mighty Greghart, prophesied to slay the dragon who will take the princess. Greg protests futilely that he would have trouble slaying a dragonfly, much less a dragon ("He'd be lucky to win a fight against one of the smaller girls at school") - particularly when he realizes there's a bona fide dragonslayer called Greatheart - but no one listens: they are certain that the prophecy clearly points to him, and prophecies guide everyone's lives on Myrrth, and therefore a-slaying he will go.

It's a clever and fun twist on the idea. I had two problems with the writing: Greg was constantly "almost scream"ing or "nearly scream"ing or straight out screaming - and when it wasn't screaming it was shrieking. The other fingernails-on-a-blackboard thing was a misuse of language, an incorrect past tense used constantly. It's actually a sort of a spoiler to be more specific; the blunder is necessary. But really irritating.

If you find puns intolerable, this is not the book (or series) for you; from chapter headings on through puns abound. My favorites herein are the names of the dragons, Ruuan being the one Greg is expected to take out. It does wear a little thin after a while, but might be fun for its actual target audience.

I liked Greg (mostly) and the other characters (mostly - and especially Ruuan), and while I found it a little irritating that there were some mysteries left mysterious (who Nathan is, exactly, for example) it is understandable in light of plans for a series. It's a good foundation - and with one of my favorite covers of the year so far.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen, March 26, 2012
By 
Summary
"How to Slay a Dragon" by Bill Allen is a fun, action-packed fantasy you'll definitely love! Greg Hart, besides the fact that he's one of the scrawniest boys at his school, is a normal boy in a normal world with a normal life.

...Until now.

Greg is being taken to the fantasy world of Myrth, and if it isn't bad enough being on a medieval planet with ogres, trolls, and witches, he is named in a prophecy (as Greghart, though, not Greg Hart) and it is foretold that he is to slay a dragon to save the princess!

Can Greg make it through the crazy mix-up without being scorched to ashes?

About the Author
Bill Allen may be described as an unusual man who has accomplished an unusual many deeds. In fact, it has been said that if you total up all the things he claims to have done, he cannot possibly be less than seven hundred years old.

No one knows if this is true. All that is certain is that for much of that time he's been living in Melbourne, Florida with his wife, Nancy, writing software by day and, well, mostly sleeping by night. Every now and again he writes stories, too. [from his website]

My Opinion
The story was really fast-paced and exciting--I protested when I had to stop reading and go to bed! The story showed that you can do anything as long as you have the courage. Greg showed his courage in the end with the dragon. I was surprised in the ending, too--it had a surprising, unexpected twist to it--but was fascinated by Greg's way of fulfilling the prophecy! (Hint: You will NOT expect what's coming. :])

**I received a copy of this eBook for free from Bell Bridge Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I received no other compensation.**

Kristina Cardoza
Child Author
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charm & Humour Make This the Perfect Rainy Day Book for Children, March 26, 2012
This review is from: How To Slay a Dragon: The Journals Of Myrth (Volume 1) (Paperback)
Twelve-year-old Greg Hart is a great hero, able to defeat any and all monsters and all-round bad guys while still making it home for dinner - at least in the stories he writes. In real life, he is the constant target of bullies, beaten up on a daily basis. One day, as he is running from one such bully, Greg finds himself pulled into a different world called Myrth where he discovers that, according to prophesy, he will slay a dragon and save the princess.

Greg tries to convince everyone the prophecy is wrong or, at least, he's not the one it's about, especially as there is already a hero in Myrth named Greatheart - surely, he has to be The Guy of which the prophecy speaks. Unfortunately, almost everyone thinks he's just being modest (so heroic) and unless he fulfills the prophecy, he may never get home.

How to Slay a dragon is a fun and funny book aimed at a YA audience. It's chock full of puns and word play that I suspect children will find irresistible. It is the perfect rainy day book - it's charm and humour will keep children glued to the page from bginning to end - and adults will get more than the occasional chuckle out of poor Greg's attempt to prove he's not the hero of prophecy until - well, maybe he is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great adventure book for boys, January 23, 2012
By 
S. Power (Austin, Texas, United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
How to Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen tells the story of Greg Hart a small boy with an overactive imagination who is pulled into a real adventure in a different realm. Greg is told that he is Greghart the dragon slayer and that there is a prophecy that he is to slay the dragon and save the princess. Greg and his new friend Lucky go on an adventure after adventure until finally meeting the dragon in his lair.

This is a fantastic fantasy novel that is filled with adventure (and difficult vocabulary words!) and humor. There is plenty of action (but nothing excessively violent). I loved reading what adventure was going to happen next and how Greg and Lucky would get through them. The book moves quickly from one scene to another and at around 250 pages it would make for a fantastic read aloud.

Appropriateness: This is a book that boys will enjoy. There are multiple strong male characters and the only female character while strong and spunky is only around for a small part of the book. The book does have quite a bit of difficult vocabulary making it a great read for younger advanced readers. I would recommend this book to readers 9-14 who are fans of adventure and fantasy and as a read aloud for younger readers.
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How To Slay a Dragon: The Journals Of Myrth (Volume 1)
How To Slay a Dragon: The Journals Of Myrth (Volume 1) by Bill Allen (Paperback - January 1, 2011)
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