Tessa's Reviews > Dragonfly

Dragonfly by Frederic S. Durbin
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Aug 05, 08

it was ok
bookshelves: fictive
Read in August, 2008

I picked this up while stickering the science fiction/fantasy section; the cover is very appealing. And although the elements of the plot and the environment are well-done, I spent most of my reading time imagining how much better the book could be if the narration was first person present and if the author had been edited.

The book is narrated by the protagonist, but from the future. So, while the events are happening to a ten/eleven year old girl, they are filtered through the mind of an adult. It takes the reader out of the story and sucks immediacy from the reading experience.

Along with this: the narrator can't stop explaining things that are already obvious. The reader isn't trusted to figure things out. Some examples:

p. 233, describing a river: "Where we stood had once been underwater, I guessed, for it was a bed of stones as smooth and flat as faceless doubloons, their dates the pictures of the kings who minted them long ago washed away and forgotten. Kings came and went--rives and stones, I mused, would outlast them all." Stop musing already!

p. 308, the second paragraph describing two men in a shadow duel: "[The opponent] brandished his knife, pressing [the defender] backward. When the A.P.K.'s shadow hit a rough patch of ceiling, the outline wavered; taking the advantage, both [opponent] and his shadow aimed daggers. Ducking [the opponent's] arm, [the defender] parried the shadow's knife on his own.

Such a duel, you see was really two against two: [the defender] and his shadow circling the lantern, trying to outmaneuver [the opponent] and his."

Why is the last paragraph necessary? So, I felt talked down to, or overtalked to, the whole time. And all the good guys assumed everyone else shared their religion. I'd like that to be a little more subtle, or if not subtle, just allegorical, like Narnia.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Michael Walser I appreciate your review on this. With complete respect for the author, I constructively agree. A good edit would have done wonders for this story. I agree with the over explanations of needless detail that the reader is capable to figure out. Currently I am beginning the book and within the first 3 chapters, I have come to the conclusion that the author may be trying to write a movie script with a reflective narration. The point of view is hard to read and it definitely takes away the childlikeness of the main character, in my opinion. I am intrigued with the story line and love the idea. Overall, I think change in perspective and some word restructure would increase the quality of this story. Thank you for the constructive review.


Tessa thank you for your thoughtful comment on my review.


Miriam About the retrospective narration -- did I miss something, or did Dragonfly not mention til like 100 pages in that she was telling this while thinking back as an adult?

And yeah, who muses on the scenery while fleeing horrible evil danger that is about to torture and kill her?


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