Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Answering Review Request: "Dragonfly"

Resa Nelson asked me to read her novel "Dragonfly". It is the first book of her "Dragonfly" series. It is also a historical fantasy involving Vikings and native Americans. I will examine Plot, Characters, and Polish, and then assign a grade.


The book has a good starting place. It quickly and skillfully establishes Greeta's outsider status, dream of her own family, and feelings of inadequacy, and then transitions into the introduction of The Herald who will start the adventure proper. Then there's this long tangent whose payoff is to confirm what has already been established, including lines being recapped. After that is another scene like the second which can be boiled down to Greeta insisting on being told a secret regarding herself and everyone in her family saying "No" over and over again. It's dull.

 The Call to Adventure is drawn out. In the PDF I was reading from, there are 332 pages total and Greeta does not agree to go with Shadow the Shaman until page 79. In other words, a little less than 1/4 of the total length 
After this delay, there is a fumble. Shadow the Shaman has a single scene for introducing "dreamtime" and then disappears. Greeta is alone again and a new narrative plot, separate and different from it, takes over.  The "extinguishing darkness" stuff doesn't turn up again.  Much of this feels like a waste.
From there the plot goes off on an angle 50% unrecognizable from the premise given on the amazon page. I say "50%" because it is halfway recognizable. It is good. It is solid. It connects with the feelings of isolation and children desperation that Greeta is introduced with. It also gets around to introducing Greeta's gift in a surprising manner. It just takes a while to get there.
The ending, in my opinion, is confused and unsatisfying. It's like Mis.Nelson wanted to slip in a few more poofs of conflict to startle the readers. Finally, that secret that Greeta wanted to know about at the start of the book? She asks again and that's the end. I don't even know if her family consented to answer this time. It is the most annoying and jagged of Unreveals I have ever read in a review book.

Greeta is the protagonist. She has feelings of outsider isolation because she looks different from the rest of her village (outside of her father and aunt). She has the makings of a Guile Heroine but is otherwise immature and slow on the uptake. I'm not sure on her age. She acts like a child because of this immaturity but she talks of herself as being "a grown woman". Given the setting, I'm assuming that she's a teenager (15 give or take) because girls were generally considered women once they had their first period.
Red Feather. Now this is a boy that I believe is old enough to be considered a man. He is brave, compassionate, and wise enough to be a teacher for two of his younger brothers. In this way he is a foil for Greeta because his confidence and maturity underscore her insecurity and he also reflects her love problem; he is rejected by her just as she is by his third brother.
Finehurst is the Big Bad. He is responsible for the plot's immediate conflict and physical danger while also providing a tantalizing temptation to resolving Greeta's personal conflict.
As for himself, he's arrogant and makes himself out to be a bigger deal than he really is. For instance, he goes into a dragon fight full of bravado but is quickly subdued. Greeta herself notices the disparity. 
His intelligence and charm flip like a light switch. It's so sudden and blatant that I consider it a Villain Ball. Immediately after he has successfully charmed Greeta into staying with him and possibly becoming his wife, he does a 180 and starts acting like a chauvinist pig, which colors his earlier charm into manipulation.


One or two typos; nothing bad.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "Dragonfly book 1" a C-

This has been a free review request. I received nothing in exchange except for a free copy of the book.

Click here for the next review request: Hooded Destiny
Click here for the previous review request: Tiny House Living


  1. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another. See the link below for more info.


    1. Are you disagreeing with something in my review?