Henrietta The Dragon Slayer
by Beth Barany
Henrietta, the legendary Dragon Slayer of the Kingdom of Bleuve, can't stomach the thought of one more kill. Yet, in order to save her dying mentor, she must go on one last quest. But will misfit companions, seasickness, and an ego maniacal king derail the quest for the healing stone? And will she be able to cut past her conscience and kill the dragon?
Synopsis from Goodreads
This book was fun. No doubt about it. And I can definitely get behind a strong female lead, which Henrietta is. I'm just not sure if I like her much. Actually, none of the characters were overly likeable. Their mood swings were confusing, and so were their actions. They did begin to grow on me, but it took a long time to get there.
The book, to me, felt like it was half formed. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful vision. It just needed to go a little further. For example, I wanted to know more about why Henrietta was no longer slaying dragons. How did she get to this point?? Some terrible thing is hinted at a few times, but never developed. I NEED TO KNOW!
I may be nit picking a little (or a lot), but Henrietta's stomach bothered me. She was constantly having indigestion, to the point that I wondered if someone was poisoning her. Was this an abandoned plot point or just a limited way of saying that she was anxious?
Now, on to the plus side. The action scenes were great! Fight scenes are hard to write well, but Barany has done just that. I can easily visualize Henrietta's slicing and dicing. Love it.
Also, I feel the need to give kudos to the editing. I have, in the past, had a hard time reading indie books when the copy editing has been skipped. I am pleased to announce that the typos in the book probably numbered less than 20. No, I wasn't counting. But it was an obvious difference that it made to the overall flow.
Just out of curiosity, will there be another book, do you think? It is subtitled The Five Kingdoms #1, which hints that there will be other books, possibly about the other kingdoms. But since this was published a year and a half ago, with no #2 in sight, I tend to be a little skeptical about seeing the rest of the series. I do hope that Barany gets to it. Otherwise, I will have to go to my grave wondering what ended Henrietta's long and healthy career of dragon slaying.
Overall, I would recommend this book. It should have been longer, to allow the characters the time they needed to develop, and the plot the time it needed to fill out. But in the end, it was a good teen read, and I can imagine many a young girl wishing they were Henrietta, the Dragon Slayer.