Patricia White

The Fiction Works / 70 pages / (July 20, 2012)



It’s not just a novel. It’s not just a pair of novellas. It’s more than an anthology. It’s novella + novella = novel! Take “The Seventy-Ninth Prince” and loosely attach “The Dragon of Summer.” A little bit different, but it isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last. What the heck — it works for me.

In our first installment, “The Seventy-Ninth Prince,” the kingdom of Dur has fallen on hard times. In fact, princes are now selected by lottery, their goddess’ daughter has been kidnapped, and their doom is only days away. What a time to be scraping the bottom of the prince barrel. How is Kendal, the last-cookie-in-the-jar, going to rescue the River Monster’s Daughter? With or without Molly, the wind witch, as backup?

When you wrap it up with the chronicles of Dur, “The Dragon of Summer” is ready to take you on another adventure. Tessa, the Princess of the Outer Isles, is about to be given in sacrifice to a dragon. Oh. And it’s her brother’s fault, seeing as he gambled away his kingdom. Not a good time to be royalty. But, if you’ve got to wear the crown, better you should be a fighter like Tessa. At least then you can use your brain for something other than swooning.

You may have guessed from the description that A Magic Dwells is not serious, adult literature. For the young adult audience, though, this should be an amusing pair. Both novellas have all the markings of fairy tales. Fairy tales before they’ve been turned into animated goofy-ness, that is. (Let’s have a moment of silence for a certain hunchback story. Thank you.)

What’s that? Your children aren’t all that excited about reading? Never fear. There’s another way they can experience A Magic Dwells; the audio version of “The Seventy-Ninth Prince” is on its way. Can “The Dragon of Summer” be far behind? Even the shortest attention span should be able to make it through a spoonfeeding like that.

It is a shame, though, that “The Dragon of Summer” is not being printed in an illustrated edition. The stories are so visual, an occasional glimpse of the dragon, demons, heroes, and heroines seems a natural addition. And then maybe I could get the image of Wendy the Good Witch out of my head that’s been there since reading “The Seventy-Ninth Prince.”

A Magic Dwells isn’t heavy material. No universal truths will be revealed. It’s a fairy tale, not a parable. And, maybe the dialogue has some inconsistencies. Nothing that’s going to stop you (or your children) in your tracks. But, it’s full of interesting characters and adventure and magical lands. The few instances of violence are not drawn out to dwell on the gore. And chastity is preserved throughout. That’s right — it’s safe. Just enjoy it for the pleasant diversion it is.