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Here, There Be Dragons

(The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  11,141 ratings  ·  1,103 reviews
The Imaginarium Geographica

"What is it?" John asked.
The little man blinked and arched an eyebrow.
"It is the world, my boy," he said. "All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose."

An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the fir
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Megan It depends on which edition you have. Is it hardcover, paperback, or an ebook? Because they all have slightly different page counts.

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  11,141 ratings  ·  1,103 reviews

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Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Can I give above a 5-star? Because if I could, I would. This book was fantastic! It has a twist at the end, and once you read it, you go "Omigosh, are you serious? How did I not pick up on that?!" and suddenly you love this book all the more. The idea of a sort of parallel universe has been done before, but Owen has done an excellent job with originality. Read it, you will love it, I'm positive! ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Library the head of the line it goes!

This book started out well and I was immediately interested. The characters are interesting and the story begins to roll along laying out the basic idea and the overriding theme. Unfortunately it's not long before the book bogs down...I suppose overwhelmed by it's own "wonder".

I know that some love this (these) books. I can even see why, I know there are readers who will be totally enamored by the very things that finally caused the book to fall
Jonathan Terrington
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Well I've decided: having read far too many reviews of this that simply pointed out the flat characterisation and the unoriginal nature of this book that it needs a bit of a lift from yours truly. So here is my attempt.

Now as I mentioned before (once upon a time) I love fairytales, mythology and legends. That is why I appreciated the magical sparkle of this book. Some might state that this book is unoriginal and flat however I personally found it to contain an original premise and interesting en
Two stars for awesome book design.

A rainy night in London, 1917 –

Three young strangers, who all happen to be Oxford men, meet in police custody. They were all rumored to be students of the ancient-languages professor who was found murdered in his study earlier that night.

Our POV character for most of the book goes by John. He is home from the War at the moment, but suffers debilitating flashbacks of the trenches. John was married recently, but thinks about his wife exactly once in the entire b
Jaq Greenspon
There's a quote by C.S. Lewis which says “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” I like this quote. I like this quote a lot. What it says to me is that just because you're writing for a child doesn't mean you have to "dumb" the story down or condescend to your readers.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what James A. Owen does here. Now, that isn't to say if you have a 12 year old who is interested in fantasy and you want to get them
Even before I begin to write this review, I know right away that no matter what I say, I'll never be able to do this book justice. I'll try, though.

First, a little background :

"An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica -- an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and
I am very disappointed in this audiobook. I loved the beginning – so much. James Langton was charming as a reader. No, really – charming. He read in a neutral, British-flavored voice, which perfectly set off the tones and accents he used for the characters, each distinctive and enjoyable. I didn't realize that the physical book is illustrated; perhaps the characterizations balance that loss. (I hate discovering that books I've gotten in audio are illustrated. It's such a cheat.)

I enjoyed the he
James A. Owen took the words "What If", and created a wonderful series and how! He said what if the some of the world's greatest authors and playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Jules Vern, James Barrie, H.G. Wells, J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams came up with their stories and plays not purely from imagination, but from very real events. Well he did just that in what is one of the hands-down best fantasy series out there. From the first page i was utterly captivated, John Jac ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
Took a wonderful premise, and made a complete mess of it by making shallow characters, shirking on detail, and leaving it as took much of four piece puzzle plot.

The only positive point, is Trummler, the badger, who had more character in his left footpaw than the entire rest of the cast. Otherwise, amazing disappointment, though the art is sorta good. Do Not Buy. Check from the library at the most...if even that.
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Here, There Be Dragons focuses on a group of travelers that start off in London and take a voyage to a place called the Archipelago of Dreams. A 'world' of different islands, races and people. There are three from out world as we know it. John, Jack and Charles. They are told by a man named Bert (another primary character) that they are to be Caretakers of a map called the Imaginarium Geographica.
Also in this story is Aven, Bert's daughter and ship captain, and Bug, a youth they meet at their f
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5/5 Stars
The Ending is what sold me! Golden!
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Third read for the O.W.Ls ✔️ - Dragon Seminar
Christine Norris
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Personally I think those that ranked this low just didn't 'get it'. Yes, he used a ton of source material, but he wove it together into such an original, rich tapestry of an entirely new world. I mean, the Arthur legend side-by-side with Captain Nemo? Who would have thought it?

The surprise ending is just the icing on the cake to his easy to read, well-written novel that flows across the imagination like the sea that surrounds the Archipelago of Dreams.

I have also read the sequel, which did NOT
Maja Ingrid
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, audiobooks, fantasy
A fun listen.

This is the first fantasy in English that I listened to without having a physical copy to help me through the listening, and I guess this was a trial to see how well it went. While the narration was indeed good and the story fun and entertaining, my issues to stay focused made themselves very clear. I'm sure I missed lots of stuff from zoning out, but at least I wasn't bored and I enjoyed the historical and literal references and characters/people.
Jul 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Bland, poorly-written, overwhelmingly stupid fan-fiction disguised as a novel that's clearly supposed to make fantasy nerds cream their pants from all the references but probably only made the author cream his pants while writing it. As a fantasy nerd, I was not impressed. Neat premise, sure, but terrible execution. I can't help but wonder who this is for. It is so poorly written, so pandering, so bland, so generic, so predictable, so stupid, so contrived, so utterly derivative that you'd need t ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was good.

God damn was this book good.

Do you like The Chronicles of Narnia? Do you like The Lord of the Rings? Do you like fantasy? Do you like classic literature? Do you like stories featuring good and evil?

Then you will love this book.

A friend of mine told me that she read these and was re-reading them again. I told her that I had never heard of them and she begged me to go out and grab a copy. Wouldn't you know that Barnes and Noble didn't carry it so I specially ordered it. It ca
jillian n.
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it

Let me explain this book for you. No, there is too much—let me sum up: Three young Oxford chaps who have never met before, John, Jack, and Charles, are brought together on a dark and stormy night by the death of Professor Sigurdsson—the Caretaker of the Imaginarium Geographica, the atlas of every mythological and legendary land. Then a mysterious man of diminutive stature and looking something like "what might result if you shredded an illustrated edition of the works of Jacob and Wilhelm Gr
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-5-star-books
Well I wasnt expecting to give this a 5 star rating when I was 1\3 or even 1\2 way through the book. I was thinking maybe a 4ish..
It does start out a little hard to feel engaged.
The characters are also a little hard to connect with.
But by the end I was very fascinated with the characters\plot\history\mythology and how the writer has built and intertwined all these elements into one world. how this one place could be the whole base of not only our various gods and mythical ledgends but the very p
I loved how this book began.....a murder, a mystery, strange creatures and a magical journey.

I was all set for a great read....but then....I became really disconcerted to discover that the story reminded me of two other very famous books!
Surely, I thought, no author would be that obvious.....then the penny began to drop, and what unfolded was a very clever and original story peopled by some memorable characters......and Dragons!

I knew there was something special going on, but the ending was stil
Elsa K
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I felt like this book had real potential, but didn't quite get there. I loved the rich literary world built on other characters and fantasy worlds. It was such a unique idea. I also really liked the art and was impressed to find out the author did it. It added to the feel of the story a lot. I found myself looking up characters and historical people I couldn't quite remember. I walked into the book already knowing the 'twist ending' so that wasn't a surprise to me. But I did like the twist!

I fou
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this about ten years ago and remember enjoying it, but especially the ending. I reread it now, and knowing the big "reveal" made the experience a little more tedious, but I'm still going to continue the series. It's a little confusing for me who the target audience is. On the one hand, I thought it was maybe a middle grade book, with literary references tucked in as nods to adult readers. But then, some of the references are like that-just fun little Easter eggs--and others are really imp ...more
Ryan Mishap
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Three Oxford men find themselves visiting a murdered professor in 1917 London. There, a strange little man compels them to run from the beasts what did the murder. they board a dragonship and sail to the waters where everything that exists in fable , myth, and legend has a real counterpart. They three must guard a book of maps and language that could be put to foul use by the Winter King.
I like fantasy books that base themselves on folklore and hint or flat out say (in this case) that folklore
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fantasy, 2015-read
For me, it was a really slow start (like really sllooooow) but it picked up later and wasn't horrible???

(god im so enthusiastic in this review, can't you tell???)
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I may not be the target audience for this book but I am young enough, at heart, to appreciate the story and the literary references and authors names mentioned as the story progresses.

I couldn't figure out what was going on at first, but as the three main characters became embroiled, literally got carried away, and performed in the adventure, I became more and more drawn into the story unfolding. Who can't suspend belief when there are dragons in a story?

Read by one of my favorite narrators, Ja
Sheila Beaumont
It was fun to revisit this imaginative fantasy via audiobook several years after first reading the print edition. I knew before my first read the real-world identities of the three main characters. I won't give them away here, but if you don't know, you'll find out at the end of the book.

Narrator James Langton does a fine job of reading the story and performing the various roles, making each character distinctive.

The advantage of reading the print edition is that you can see the intricate, beaut
Meira (readingbooksinisrael)
Maybe I'm dumb or maybe it's because I didn't grow up in a Christian-based society or maybe it's because I didn't read enough of Tolkien or Charles Williams but I just didn't get this. ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fiction lovers
It is so difficult to review a book which has already been reviewed many times on goodreads and other social sites but still let me try. I guess
I'll start with the editor's review.

"An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica -- an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fabl
Patty Cryan
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of literary fiction
Title/Author : Here, There Be Dragons - Volume One of the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, written and illustrated by James A. Owen

Publisher/Publication Date: Simon and Schuster, October 2006

ISBN: 1416912274

Price: $17.95

Core audience: ages 12 and up

Strengths: descriptive language, imaginative setting, strong characters, literary allusions

Review: This is THE book that I would have felt was personally written for me when I was a teenaged bookworm. The author is known for his work on
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
I admit that reading the reviews here after I read the book gave me a little more perspective on my own reaction. That the author came from a graphic novel background seems obvious to me now (as I kept wishing for more description) but if he's used to working with a visual medium, I'm not surprised that the description is lacking.

Unlike others, who seem to have hated the allusions to other fantasy works, I thought it was very cleverly done and that everything tied in together well at the end. I
Kristen Harvey
Here There Be Dragons is one of those books I should have not let sit on my bookshelf for so long. What surprised me most about the book is the lack of real age range group I could peg it for. I definitely could see some of my 4th and 5th graders enjoying it, but also adults. It doesn’t have a younger protagonist, all of them are adults, but the violence is tame and the adventure robust. I loved the characters and the world. The main character is supposed to step up to his destiny, but he does n ...more
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Cartographer of Lost places 9 132 Jun 24, 2017 11:07AM  
across the pond b...: here there be dragons 5 18 Jun 02, 2015 08:39AM  
What's the Name o...: Living ships, world being erased off map [s] 5 48 Feb 03, 2013 10:34PM  

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Other books in the series

The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica (8 books)
  • The Search for the Red Dragon (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #2)
  • The Indigo King (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #3)
  • The Shadow Dragons (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #4)
  • The Dragon's Apprentice (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #5)
  • The Dragons of Winter (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #6)
  • The First Dragon (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #7)
  • The Dragon Knight (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #8)

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