Review: The Fool and the Dragonox – by Jacob Gowans

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Cover image and summary from Goodreads.com.

Title: The Fool and the Dragonox: A Prequel to A Tale of Light and Shadow

Author: Jacob Gowans

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Fantasy / 43

Summary: Enter Atolas, a world where swords and daggers both extend life and end it, where magic is feared by all but a few, and where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships. In The Fool and the Dragonox, a prequel to A Tale of Light and Shadow, we meet Henry Vestin, his best friend Ruther, his sister, Maggie, and the love of his young life, Isabelle Oslan, as they begin an adventure that will help define their ongoing friendship.

Cover Art Expectations: I really like this cover. The artwork is fantastic and accurately represents the book’s contents. My expectations gathered from judging a book by it’s cover:

  • Fantasy (yes!)
  • Epic magical creatures (yes!)
  • Young Adult novel (yes!)

Cover art rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

My Review: I have a policy of only reading prequels after having read at least the first book in the series. Like what you read here? Check out my review of book 1, A Tale of Light and Shadow right HERE. I decided not to do a full section by section review, since the prequel itself was more of a novella than a novel, so there’s not a whole lot of content to review.

I’ve read a lot of prequels over the years, but most of them have fallen prey to the Prequel Syndrome, one of the most deadly illnesses known to books (shortly behind Second Book Syndrome and Love Triangle Flu), they just kinda… fall flat, you know? However, The Fool and the Dragonox deftly avoided contracting Prequel Syndrome, and was an incredible novella! In fact, I liked it even more than I liked the first book in the series! I can’t remember the last time I read a prequel that surpassed the series itself in quality.

The characters were engaging, relatable, and fun. The dialogue was witty and realistic, and the plot was masterfully crafted. This novella will have you laughing at every page! To what lengths will a teenage boy go in an attempt to impress his crush? How can he achieve his goal of becoming the youngest Master carpenter? And what about that best friend of whom his parents disapprove? The world was fantastical and magical, and yet the characters remained real, believable, and enjoyable. Did I mention that I LOVED this book? Because I did love it. A lot.

Content Advisory: Sequences of peril and intensity. Teenage drunkenness. 

To Sum It Up: Even if you haven’t read A Tale of Light and Shadow, you will love this novella. It works great as a stand alone story, or as an introduction into the world of Tale. This story was absolutely phenomenal! Everybody needs a little more adventure in their lives – and you won’t regret the 30 minutes or so that you’ll spend reading this novella! I highly recommend this book to lovers of adventure 10 and up.

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