Review: Named of the Dragon

Posted 21 January, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Named of the Dragon
By: Susanna Kearsley
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Although it goes against her workaholic nature, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw lets herself be whisked off to Wales for the Christmas holidays by her star client, flamboyant children’s author Bridget Cooper. She suspects Bridget has ulterior motives, but the lure of South Wales with its castles and myths is irresistible. Perhaps a change of scene will bring relief from the nightmares that have plagued her since the death of her child.

Lyn immerses herself in the peace and quiet of the charming Welsh village, but she soon meets an eccentric young widow who’s concerned her baby son is in dangerβ€”and inexplicably thinks Lyn is the child’s protector.

Lyn’s dreams become more and more disturbing as she forms a surprisingly warm friendship with a reclusive, brooding playwright, and is pulled into an ancient world of Arthurian legend and dangerous prophecies. Before she can escape her nightmares, she must uncover the secret of her dreams, which is somehow inextricably located in a time long ago and far away…

I clearly went through a lot of Susanna Kearsley’s backlist last year, lol. By the time I posed this question, I had about 3 of her books left that I hadn’t read. I decided to pick up this book next of the three because the setting was very different–Wales this time–and unlike the other book, this one had more favourable reviews.

I must say, this book was very different from most of her other novels in that there’s no time slip, no historical storyline unfolding parallel to this novel. There’s a mild paranormal element to this novel but it’s confined mainly to dreams that crop in here and there, prodding Lyn along in the story, but otherwise there’s nothing fantastical to the story aside from the Welsh tales of old that are exchanged here and there. I have to give a nod to the author in the way she does this in her novels, using historical and mythical elements differently (for the most part) in her novels. Keeps things interesting, not so formulaic.

Suffice to say I couldn’t put this book down once I started reading it. I loved the characters–most from the publishing community, some from about the Welsh town–and the banter and the different personalities. A lot of the conflict and contrast really comes from these characters, from Bridget’s flightful fancy and potential love triangles and suitors to the surly and reclusive (to put it mildly) playwright. Throw in the festiveness of the Christmas season and the various characters’ reactions to the season and I could just read all about these characters getting through the season with their heads intact, haha. But I really just loved the way Lyn interacted with these characters and exploring the town and all of its features–the castles, the coastlines–and especially her friction with playwright Gareth. I don’t blame her irritation towards him–he really is quite a surly guy (again, to put it mildly)–but I couldn’t help but feel intrigued by the strange pull their interactions had. It wasn’t very much in the forefront compared to everything else but it was still there and I wished they had more scenes together tbh πŸ˜›

Strangely enough the main storyline about the eccentric young widow, her baby son, and the strange dreams that Lyn was having didn’t feel so very forefront to the story either. It pops in here and there, pointing to something really strange going on with Elin, and we follow Lyn as she gradually comes to embrace her role as protector, but otherwise it didn’t quite remain in the forefront as I thought it would. Perhaps I was just too enamoured by all of the characters to notice its presence as much in the story, but the reveal was interesting, as was Lyn’s journey towards helping Elin and reconciling herself with her own past tragedy.

I really enjoyed reading Named of the Dragon, I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. I would say I enjoyed it so much it’s quite up there as one of my favourite novels by Susanna Kearsley. It is I would say a bit slower than her other novels, but I think if you really enjoy character-based drama then this is definitely a book to check out!

Rating: ★★★★☆

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4 Responses to “Review: Named of the Dragon”

    • I feel this was more of a character-driven novel than a plot-driven novel compared to Kearsley’s other books but it’s still fantastic! And the different setting is a plus πŸ˜€

  1. I do like the sound of this one πŸ™‚ I must admit, I don’t think I’ve heard of Susanna Kearsley before – and if I have, I wasn’t paying any attention!

    I seem to be going through a weird shift in my reading taste at the moment, and this sounds like it’ll fit nicely!

    • Shifts in reading tastes can be/are an exciting time! πŸ˜€ I mentioned in another comment how I love how Susanna Kearsley’s novels are really different from each other despite using familiar tropes/themes/elements (there’s almost always a touch of Scottish somewhere, I find, lol!) but anyway, I can’t recommend them enough. I hope you enjoy them should you pick a few of her titles up πŸ™‚

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