Book Review: Dragons and Wolves

The Bookworm | 27 February 2012 | Novel Reviews, The Book Den | , , | 0 Comments   

Dragons and Wolves (Dragon Tales & Stories #1) by Drew Henriksen
August 1, 2004 by ArcheBooks Publishing
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Reviewed By: Nicole Raines
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Plot: Humans are facing extinction 400 years into the future. Forced to live nomadic lifestyles, humans have formed two groups: The Raiders, who pillage on their fellow humans in order to survive and the peaceful Tribes, who live their life in fear and on the run. Legends say that something even more deadly than Raiders exist in the world: Werewolves and dragons, both hunting and preying on humans. Not knowing if these legends are true, a deadly chain of events take place on one fateful night and in a struggle to save humanity, unexpected alliances will be made.

My Thoughts: Dragons and Wolves is the first book in the Dragon Tales & Stories trilogy by author Drew Henriksen. I really didnt know what to expect when I started reading it. I had never heard of the trilogy or the author, so I was a bit apprehensive, not knowing if I would like it. So I’m very pleased to say that I found it to be an exciting and adventures read!

Dragons and Wolves first introduces us the the Tribe members, gathered around a campfire as the Captain tells a story about the dangerous dragons. After the campfire story is over, the Tribes settle in for the night. Randy, the newest member of the Tribe, is supposed to be standing watch for Raiders and wolves, but instead  he ends up having a night of passion with his soon to be wife, while two young boys, Kyle and Yukie, decide to sneak off and explore a deserted mansion on a dare. The Captain sees the young boys sneaking off and decides to follow. These decisions lead to some consequential events as a werewolf lurks in the shadows, watching and waiting to make his move.

Dragons and Wolves is divided into two parts and Part Two of the story takes places in a much different setting than what we are first introduced to in Part One. Part Two introduces us to the newest Tribe members that have settled in a town. We also get to know the Raiders for the first time. Without spoiling anything, I will say that I was thrown for a loop regarding the setting of The Town. I thought I had missed something so I backtracked a bit and the obvious clues were there and I just missed them. It made for a major mind blowing moment at 3am in the morning when I was reading though! We get to know the town members and their link to the past a bit before the final showdown between the Wolves, Dragon and Town members. The showdown proved to be a bittersweet moment and I still dont know if I should feel happy or sad over the ending.

Henriksen did a great job at keeping the pace of the story going! As the story unfolds, you get a bird eye’s view from all angles of the characters involved. I was actually pretty surprised by how fast I was drawn in to the story and the characters alike. Henriksen set a fast paced tone to his story that kept the pages turning and the mystery flowing. Just when you thought you had the story figured out, Henriksen would throw a surprise your way.

Henriksen didnt pull any punches when it came to killing off some of my favorite characters. Just when I thought someone were safe, their death would come out of nowhere and it was never pretty. I actually got a little upset over at least three deaths within the story. While Dragons and Wolves definitely isnt the most gore filled book I’ve ever read, it’s still visceral – but with just the right amount of raw detail that any adult fan of the fantasy/horror genre can appreciate it without getting offended.

One of the things I found the most interesting was the lore of the dragons. Admittedly, I have never read any books that involved dragon mythology, so I have no idea how much Henriksen might have deviated from actual myth, but I really love the concept of them being immortal and able to live in human form without other humans being able to tell the difference. This detail plays a key part in the story. As for the werewolves, Henriksen kept them pretty much old school, aside from the fact they are also immortal. Werewolves can only be killed by silver bullets and a bite from one will make you into one of them. The description of their appearance reminded me of the 1996 movie “Bad Moon.” I really liked that he stuck with the old werewolf look I grew up appreciating in movies instead of trying to modernize them into full fledged wolves like I see in movies today.

Another thing I really liked about the book was the illustrations included. Even though there was only about four or five illustrations throughout, they managed to bring the story more to life. The illustrations were done by Jon Naughtin and I think he deserves kudos for his interpretation of what was happening within the story.

I only have one complaint with Dragons and Wolves and that’s the few grammar mistakes and typographical errors I found throughout. Although, it doesnt take away from the heart of the story, I just find it a shame that so many existed in such a good book. To be fair though, I dont have the best grammar skills myself.

Overall, I enjoyed it a lot, but I am left with a few questions regarding how the humans got to the the point of near extinction. I also wish that the history of a particular book that played a key role in the showdown would have been revealed. And even though I have my suspicions, I’m still left wondering about the Professor’s identity. I would recommend it as a great late night read though and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy and hoping that some of my questions will be answered.

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