Friday, November 20, 2020

The Part about the Dragon Was (Mostly) True by Sean Gibson: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

The Part about the Dragon Was (Mostly) True by Sean Gibson

The long title is pretty descriptive of the kind of book this is. The Part about the Dragon Was (Mostly) True, Heloise the Bard 1, by Sean Gibson is a comedic fantasy that relies heavily on verbal acrobatics. It’s told by Heloise the Bard (or was it Heloise the Beautiful, as she is very fond of reminding the readers), a half-elf bard (I don’t remember what the other half was) who sets out to give the reader a true account of what went down with the red dragon (the false account of which she is also responsible of.)

We follow an odd-ball team of would-be adventurers who want to make name for themselves by killing the dragon (though they probably should’ve been taking care of the mad wizard they accidentally unleashed), lured there by Heloise’s somewhat inflated promises of the dragon’s gold. There’s a half-dwarf, half-halfling street magician (I’m sorry, prestidigitator), an elf archer (though aren’t they all), a rock giant who’s both slow and sweet, and a wizard who belongs to a race that look like rats. Heloise joins them to be able to tell their story accurately (to the readers anyway; the tavern folk get the official version because it pays better). They’re not exactly a seamless and accomplished team, but they’re getting (mostly) there.

This was a fun book, but not quite laugh-out-loud funny; clever rather than comedic. It’s a bit slow read too. Heloise has a tendency to go off on a tangent (or a tangent’s tangent) in practically every paragraph and I had to read everything twice to remember what the actual sentence was about. Moreover, there are two stories going side by side, the official one and the truth, so the plot takes forever to get to the point. After a while, I began to skip the official accounts that were helpfully in italics. They weren’t as interesting as the truth anyway. But despite the slowness and the tangents (or maybe because of the tangents, as the cleverest bits tended to be there), this was a pleasurable read where the characters turned out to be something other than their stereotypes and the truth was stranger thanwell, I’ll let you find out yourselves.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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