Sunday, April 11, 2010

Review: Dragonfly by Frederic S. Durbin

Never underestimate the value of being frugal. Don't worry, this isn't a review of a non-fiction, self-help type book about budgeting or how to op-shop – for one thing, the title would be weird. But I did stumble across this book in the $10 bin at Angus and Robertson in the city. I have discovered several gems ('diamonds in the rough', one could say if they didn't mind being cheesy) marked down quite heavily in various bookstores. This book definitely didn't deserve to be there, but I might not have seen it otherwise. Also if you haven't yet tried one of the Popular Penguin series (the ones with the bright orange covers) I recommend them.

Dragonfly is a little shorter than what I normally read, especially when it comes to fantasy and science fiction, a genre where people seem to be striving to keep up with such prolific authors such as Eddings, Tolkein, and Rowling. At 325 pages, Dragonfly still manages to be rife with rich scenery, complex characters and mythic undertones. For those who aren't into scifi and fantasy, a word – it's not all about monsters and rocket-ships (though those are cool). Because the created world in this story is tied in with the 'real' world, there's some great social commentary on the relationship between children and parents, as seen with the main characters and some of the minor ones as well.

The book is titled after its main character, a young girl living with her grandfather. Her real name is Bridget, but nobody calls her that except for her parents. They are the epitome of the busy modern couple – too career-oriented to be there for Dragonfly, which is why she lives with her grand-dad. The story is told from her point of view, but with observations from her older self – essentially she is reliving the experience with the reader. As the story begins, there are strange creatures living in their basement, and Dragonfly's grandfather calls a 'friend' to investigate. Overcome with curiosity about the creatures, Dragonfly follows this friend (named Mothkin) and they become trapped in the basement, which has been transformed into a cavernous Hallowe'en world. The book details their journey through this synthetic underworld and their encounters with its creators, who have nefarious plans for the world on the 'surface.'

Whilst the main character is a child, this is definitely not a children's book. It is undoubtedly more suited to older audiences. The author has a blog which is also a good read.

Until we meet again,

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