Icy Sedgwick's Reviews > Must Love Dragons

Must Love Dragons by Monica Marier
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May 10, 11

Read in May, 2011

If you say "elves" and "dragons" in the same breath as "fantasy", most people will think Tolkien, or something along those lines. Well who says fantasy has to be so po-faced and formulaic? Why can't it be...fun? Thankfully Monica Marier must have been thinking the same thing when she wrote Must Love Dragons.

Must Love Dragons tells the story of Linus Weedwhacker, a half-elf Ranger married to a shapeshifting dragon. He's gived up his job to look after the kids while his wife runs a successful jewellery store - already very progressive for a genre in which most women are relegated to damsels, scheming queens or evil witches. When his wife falls pregnant again, she goes off to stay with her bad-tempered reptilian mother, and Linus goes back to work as a Ranger. Is it easy? No! There again, there would be no fun in it if it was.

Linus must team up with an enthusiastic young elf named Morfindel, and elven siblings Wendria and Bart to rid a village of a nearby infestation. Wendria is an academic but useless in the field, Bart has issues with authority, and Morfindel is...well, he's Morfindel, and absolutely lovable despite being utterly clueless. Linus is forced to play Dad while keeping them, and himself, out of trouble. Clearly the job of a Ranger is fraught with peril, involving a spot of bother with frost dragons, food poisoning and even political shenanigans.

Must Love Dragons is no kiddie quest story, with Linus appearing more as a 'John McClane in Middle Earth' character. In fact, the one thing missing from the book is a "Yippee-kai-ay!" Anyone who has ever encountered even a smidgen of bureaucratic nonsense in the workplace will surely sympathise with the various predicaments in which he finds himself, and the fact that he is so curmudgeonly just makes him so much more appealing as a hero. In fact, he's more like Snake Plisskin. He just wants to do the job and go home, and can everyone just leave him alone when he's finished?

The dialogue is sparky, and more than one passage had me chuckling. The action scenes crack along at an impressive rate, and the pacing makes this a real page-turner. Linus is a likeable protagonist, although he's occasionally upstaged by the earnest Morfindel. Must Love Dragons scores in that it is so heavily rooted in fantasy mores (musty village shops, elves, magic, dragons etc.) yet happily up-ends the whole lot to bring a touch of humour and humanity to an occasionally staid genre. Anyone for a spot of comedy-fantasy?
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