Book Review: Alexander the Good Dragon

Alexander the Good Dragon Alexander the Good Dragon by Fred Wolf My rating: 1 of 5 stars

“ALEXANDER THE GOOD DRAGON … a stirring tale of long ago battles between good and evil, men and dragons… Sean is tormented by guilt when his father is kidnapped by a malevolent dragon. Unable to simply sit still and wait for the king and his men to come to the rescue, Sean sets out on a long and perilous journey through the Cumbrian Mountains to seek the help of Alexander, a great and benevolent dragon who has proven to be a defender of men. But lately, Alexander is nowhere to be found. Can Sean find the reclusive Alexander?” -GoodReads Description

This book was only okay. I do love stories about dragons though! This book has the basics for a good dragon story, but just needs some better structure. The characters are one-dimensional and the story needs some further development. There’s almost no sub-plot at all, and it ends pretty quickly instead of having a third act climax and then denouement. The main character has almost no really difficult decisions to make, and there are few real obstacles for them to overcome, therefore there’s little to no suspense.

The writing often “tells” instead of “showing”, so that the friendships, character development, and changes in mood feel forced. Insta-friendship and insta-love both happen. sigh. I need some dialogue in there to SHOW me how they became friends, and joked together, and teased each other, and had deep conversations about things they have in common, and how their body language SHOWS their like or dislike for other people. All that was missing.

I’m really confused about the world-building. It seems to be mythical, medieval times, but then there are things that don’t belong in those olden times. There’s no running water in homes, but there ARE oil lamps. People are carrying swords, but also wearing spectacles. There are vicars instead of priests, which completely weirds me out. There are blueberry muffins but no ovens to bake them in. (Also, it’s set in England, so what kind of “muffins” are these?) Everything is cooked over a wood fire in a fireplace, so how did anyone make muffins? There is no mention of anyone having an oven.

A major plot point is that Lady Silver kidnaps workers to work in her massive coal mines, so that she has a monopoly on the coal industry. However, there is not one single instance of anyone using coal for any purpose. Who is buying all this coal? There’s no steam-powered engines, no coal-burning stoves or heating, no steel factories. Where is all that coal going? I don’t know.

There are some cliche bits like the horses being named Paladin and Prince. (Oh my. If I had a nickel for every horse named Prince…) Also a character actually imagines himself running through a field of wildflowers with the girl he loves. Ummm… yeah. That’s sad.

I was disappointed that the dragons don’t talk. They are intelligent, but they don’t talk. Why can’t you talk, dragons? I want to talk to you!

I wish there were more girls in prominent roles in this book. Why are all the girls at home knitting and mysteriously baking muffins and cherry pies without an oven? Why aren’t they out there kicking butt and fighting dragons? If it’s winter, how did Victoria make a cherry pie? Where did those cherries come from in the middle of winter? I don’t know what is happening.

Also, where did the main character, Sean, learn to use a sword? He’s a farm boy, so where did he suddenly get this great skill with a sword? Did his father teach him? Was he taught at the village school? I don’t know. I need some things explained here.

Why are British people calling their knit-top garments “sweaters” instead of “jumpers”? Are they suddenly Americanized? In medieval times, it might have been called a jersey, but I don’t know what this is here

. Why is Sean afraid of heights? Where did that come from? What is the backstory here?

I like the basics of this story, but it needs some macro-editing and some more development. Of course, to a kid, all these things that stick out to me might not be so noticeable. It could be a good story with a little help and some serious explanations.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher or author for review. The opinions stated here are my own, and are not influenced by the publisher or anyone else.

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One thought on “Book Review: Alexander the Good Dragon

  1. I hate it when the story lacks proper character development! This is a very thorough and solid review. thanks!

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