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Showing 1-3 of 24 reviews
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I won't bother going into the storyline of the novel. You can find that in the blurbs and other reviews. The book's strong points for me were atmospheric. Jill has a gothic sensibility and writes as one familiar with the voice of the classics and unashamed to thumb her nose at contemporary conventions. Don't mistake this as antiquation or stylistic aloofness. The story is quite easy to follow, and Domschot's characters are witty, cynical, and relatable. The author's descriptions of the lush, dreary, Oregon Coast are rich and moody. I love the feel of "place" in a story and despite moving between time periods (this is, in part, a time travel novel), "Anna and the Dragon" very much manages to capture an atmosphere.
While the novel is largely a romance, this isn't the drippy rubbish of so much contemporary romances. Anna is a rather brooding figure. At times, her glumness gets tiresome and I found myself wanting her to chill out and have a good laugh. But overall, the lead character has a cerebral hipness, never quite lost in nostalgia, appearing competent with a foot in two very different worlds. In several spots, the book reminded me of George McDonald's adult fairy stories, like Phantastes and Lilith. While not overtly fantasy, magic realism always hovers on the periphery of the tale, seeking, like that ethereal dragon, to pounce upon the reader and upend reality.
"Anna and the Dragon" is a wonderful first novel, a story that is both intelligent and dreamy, one whose atmosphere, much like the drizzly fog that cloaks the Oregon coastline, will cling to the reader well after The End.
So when my friend Jill (see how I'm just sticking this "full disclosure" in here like this? But yes, full disclosure: I'm friends with this author) asked me to beta read her book about dragons and time travel and romance I was in, despite the fact that "time travel romance" is something I'm normally allergic to nearly as much as I'm compelled by the dragons.
This is not your ordinary fantasy, and I'm pretty much going to say that if you're looking for another juvenile Eragon or a repeat of the sexually abusive Outlander, you can just keep looking.
This is an Urban Fantasy for the person who loves dragons and enjoys hanging out with smart people.
Anna is a shy, diligent woman who keeps to herself and lives a rigid life ruled by routine and filled with a comfortable blandness. When an eccentric free spirited world traveler called Franklin hires Anna as his research assistant the safe places begin to melt like sugar in the Portland rain. He disappears frequently. Is he insane or is he truly menaced by a dragon who has cursed his family with a spell designed to last fourteen generations? And if that curse is real, what does that mean for Anna? Will she lose her heart to a man whose love will cost her life?
I absolutely loved this book the first time I read it. I loved it even more the second time I read it. When it was finally released for Kindle I actually PAID for my copy-a book I'd already read twice.
That should tell you just how wonderful a story this truly is.
Is it time travel, is it memory loss? Is the dragon real or a myth? Where does Franklin go when he's not with Anna? These mysteries kept me hooked to the end.
This book is moody, but understated. So subtly surreal. I'm not a reader of romance or literary fiction, I like speculative fiction. This story confounds me. So much of the story is set in "the real world" and yet the Other is a constant presence throughout.
It's very hard to describe, actually. But very easy to read. And the mood of the book still lingers in my mind, months later. I found Jill Domschot online and we interacted on social media before I read her book. She has a unique voice and I hope she writes more!