From the New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series comes a hilarious and high-octane adult novel about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who lives an isolated life in the bayous of Louisiana—and the raucous adventures that ensue when he crosses paths with a fifteen-year-old troublemaker on the run from a crooked sheriff.
In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs—now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However...he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they?
A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He’s finally decided to work for a shady smuggler—but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable.
Regence Hooke is not just a dirty cop, he’s a despicable human being—who happens to want Squib’s momma in the worst way. When Hooke goes after his hidden witness with a grenade launcher, Squib finds himself airlifted from certain death by…a dragon?
The swamp can make strange bedfellows, and rather than be fried alive so the dragon can keep his secret, Squib strikes a deal with the scaly apex predator. He can act as his go-between (aka familiar)—fetch his vodka, keep him company, etc.—in exchange for protection from Hooke. Soon the three of them are careening headlong toward a combustible confrontation. There’s about to be a fiery reckoning, in which either dragons finally go extinct—or Vern’s glory days are back.
A triumphant return to the genre-bending fantasy that Eoin Colfer is so well known for, Highfire is an effortlessly clever and relentlessly funny tour-de-force of comedy and action.
Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) was born in Wexford on the South-East coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four brothers were brought up by his father and mother, who were both educators.
He received his degree from Dublin University and began teaching primary school in Wexford. He has lived and worked all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. After the publication of the Artemis Fowl novels, Eoin retired from teaching and now writes full time. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
This was not at all what I expected. A lot more swearing, a lot more body humor, and a LOT more swamp-lifestyle dialect and bizarre POVs than I was prepared to read. It was good? But not for me?
Concept: super original Writing: really polarizing Overall impression: not for me, but probably a great book for its audience
Highfire is the first adult fantasy novel from the acclaimed author of the Artemis Fowl series. I read Artemis Fowl ages ago, and I vaguely remember liking it.
Don't get it twisted—this book feels like a completely different species.
Vern is the last dragon on Earth. Except he's not really the visual of a dragon that we're used to. He's a 7-foot-tall, tusk-y, scaly interpretation of a dragon that honestly feels like a gargoyle. But that's not the main point—the main point is that Vern is sentient, old as hell, and is wasting away his twilight years as the vodka-drinking king of the alligator swamps of rural Louisiana.
Everett "Squib" Moreau is a kid born out of the swamp, with a rough-and-tumble upbringing filled with swearing, hard times, and a bit too much dynamite for the average kid—he's now down to 9 fingers. He's struggling to avoid the attention of the local cop, and he's definitely not prepared to meet Vern.
Regence Hooke is the crooked law of Squib's small town, and he's not exactly a well-adjusted man. Alright, let's admit he's a full on clinical psychopath. He's got a plan to make the swamp his illegal kingdom, and he's got it in for Squib, not the least of which because Squib's mom is on Hooke's "to-do" list. (Yeah, there isn't a more pleasant way to say that. Hooke is nasty, and being in his head makes you want to shower afterwards.)
I can be honest and say that I've never, ever read a book like this. Highfire is so breathtakingly original that I think all fantasy fans should give the first chapter a try, just to see what the author has done with the writing style and concept.
I like my fantasy with more, well, fantasy? I'm also not a fan of body humor (pee jokes, bodily fluid jokes, etc.), and I'm definitely not a fan of Hooke's POV and rape-y overtones, so 1/3 of the story was an automatic fail. Without Hooke's POV, this story might have been 4 stars.
I'd say if you're a fan of extremely dialect-driven narration, body humor, and/or unique fantasies, try this out!
Eoin Colfer writes a comic adult fantasy in his usual trademark style, which readers will be familiar with if they have read his Artemis Fowl series and/or his other books. Here he takes us to Louisiana's bayous, and New Orleans in this tale of a lonely, depressed ancient dragon, Vern (Wyvern), who just may be the last dragon on earth, hates humans who have destroyed almost all his kind, and has taken to living below the radar on a swampy bayou. He has Netflix, is rather keen on Absolut Vodka, dresses in a Flashdance t-shirt, and is kept in supplies by Waxman, a rather old mogwai. 15 year old Everett Moreau is Squib, a Cajun with some Irish Texan in his blood, shaping up to be a young rascal with petty criminal tendencies, who tries to be good for his put upon, hard working, impoverished but beautiful single mother, Elodie, a nurse. However, he just doesn't have it in him to be the good boy, but he loves his mother and wants to protect her from the clutches of the evil and psychopathic Constable Regence Hooke.
After an unfortunate set of events on the bayou at night, Squib finds himself in danger, and ends up in the company of Vern. To cut a long story short, Squib finds he has no choice but to become Vern's familiar, keeping him in supplies now that Waxman is no longer in a position to do so and has every incentive to be reliable. Hooke has his eyes on Squib, pursuing him on the basis that he thinks he knows too much and a threat that needs to be eliminated. Hooke is a crook, facilitating crime and working for the agent of the Los Zetos cartel, run by Ivory Conti, but has his eye on challenging Conti and taking over his business and making it even more profitable. In a hilarious narrative of wise guys, a rising body count, collapsing hotels and brutal violence, Vern finds himself developing an unexpected fondness for Squib that has him coming to his rescue, only to find Hooke a formidable foe that just might mean the end of him and his kind.
Colfer's latest venture into the American South is a fun enterprise, there is little that is a surprise as I am so familiar with his trademark style, although I did find there is a occasional unevenness in the storytelling. The characters that he creates are winners, in the culturally aware, snarky Vern, a dragon who discovers that underneath it all, he does not hate every human being, and Squib is the perfect foil for him, as the two form a relationship that has to be strong to survive the challenges they face from a deranged villain. Those familiar with Colfer's previous books are likely to find this an appealing and entertaining read. Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.
Vern was a dragon, arguably, the last of his kind. "Once upon a time, he had been Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie...now...he spent his days in the bayou blending in with the locals, staying down wind of the swamp tours...". Seven foot tall Vern, watched Netflix and reality shows from the comfort of his La-Z-Boy recliner. His beverage of choice was Absolut Vodka. His wardrobe: "Flashdance" T-shirts.
Vern mistrusted humans, the exception being Waxman, a mogwai. "Mogwais [half human beings] and dragons often buddied up to avoid death by whatever elaborate method the crusading mob favored at the time." Waxman lived on a houseboat on the Pearl River. "Waxman had set up a supply line to the outside world for Vern." How else was a dragon to quench his thirst for Absolut Vodka?
Constable Regence Hooke was a "bent" cop. "There was hardly a crime he hadn't participated in or turned a blind eye to at one point or another." Regence had set his sights on Elodie Moreau, a nurse working at the Petit Bateau Clinic. "...he craved what he couldn't get his mitts on...".
Everett "Squib" Moreau, Elodie Moreau's son, was a fifteen year old swamp-wild, street smart Cajun. "He was doing his best to stay straight, but...straight didn't pay the bills...". Elodie owed massive amounts of money in gambling debts, those debts amassed by Squib's "fake daddy". Perhaps the debt level could be reduced if Squib spent his summer as a moonshine runner.He dreamed of moving to a mother/son dwelling far from Constable Hooke.
Vern, the ancient dragon was lonely, isolated and virtually friendless. A nighttime explosion from a grenade launcher might prove to be the catalyst for change. A life saving "grab" from an unlikely source could open new doors for Squib. Regence Hooke's malicious, cruel nature cannot be understated. Author Eoin Colfer masterfully fleshes out the "Highfire" protagonists with tongue-in-cheek humor, "colorful" descriptive passages and flights of fancy. Violence is included in this rip roaring magical romp through the Louisiana bayou. There was never a dull moment. What fun!
Thank you HarperCollins Publishers, Harper Perennial and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Highfire".
Have you ever read a book about a dragon? One who flashdances? And likes vodka and lives in Louisiana? Sounds fun, right? But even more fun ensues when he meets a teenage troublemaker on the lam.
Highfire is quite the different read for me, but I’m so grateful I picked it up! It would make the perfect movie, but who needs that when you have written imagery like this? I know you are thinking this is a fantasy book, and while it has a dragon and other fantasy elements, it’s so much more. Most of all, it’s entertaining, at times funny, and quite the adventure.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.
Well, one grumpy and lonely dragon called Vern (short for Wyvern), hiding out in the Louisiana swamp, filling his time watching netflix and drinking Absolut vodka. He is probably the last of his kind and has seen his friends and relatives murdered by angry hordes through the ages. Now he has one friend, a half human called Waxman who lives in a shack on the swamp and looks after supplying Vern with his vodka, favourite Flashdance T-shirts and other essentials (from a horde of confederate gold that Vern has stashed away).
Also living in the swamp is a 15 year old troublemaker called Squib who tries to help out his single mother by working odd jobs, a psychopathic Rambo-style cop, called Regence Hooke, who has his own private arsenal and wants to control the drug cartel route through Louisiana no matter how many bodies mount up. He also intends to sort Squib out once and for all, while also paying court to Squib's attractive mother. One fateful night on the bayou, when Hooke and Squib are both up to no good, will result in both their worlds colliding with Vern's.
I'm a big fan of Colfer's Artemis Fowl fantasy series for children and love his quirky sense of humour, which also infuses this adult tale. Vern and Squib are great characters, forming an unusual friendship. Vern is like no dragon I've ever come across before, but he is no less majestic when called upon to take to the sky and breath some fire to help his friend and Squib really does has a good heart inside his larrikin self. If you feel like a fun romp in the swamp and don't mind a few explosions and bodies along the way, this one could be for you!
With many thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books for a digital ARC to read
With a narrative voice somewhere between Huckleberry Finn and the Dukes of Hazzard, and a keen sense of pop-culture awareness, Highfire is certainly something different.
It's a charming, funny, but sometimes brutal look at poor Cajun life and crime in the Louisiana bayou. Is it really fantasy, though? Well yes, on the surface, on account of having an actual dragon in it, but that's all.
Honestly, the author could have made Vern a Rambo-style retired super-soldier instead and told almost the same story, but that would have been a shame. The idea of a depressed, hard-drinking, Flashdance-obsessed ancient dragon living in the Louisiana swamp gives this book a comedic edge and a sense of whimsy that offsets the ultraviolence and lifts this out of action movie territory into something, if not exactly wholesome, certainly much more enjoyable.
But then there's Regence Hooke. Oh yes, there is definitely Hooke. He's like The Punisher if The Punisher was portrayed as the psychopathic asshole he is instead of some sort of twisted superhero. Hooke is one of the most psychotic villains I can remember reading, and I don't think I'll forget him for a very long time.
This is a story with many layers, and a lot more than initially meets the eye. It's a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it a great deal. Colfer has come up with something new here, a real genre-blending treat, and I applaud him for it.
”Vern. What kind of name is that for an apex predator.”
Why for the life of me can I not learn to DNF a book? I torture myself through things I obviously don’t like and then wonder why I don’t feel like reading.
One of my resolutions for 2020 is to read more New to me Authors. But if I would like to hold to this resolution I really need to use the DNF option.
This book and I; we just didn't jell. Firstly; the revolting langue was just plain appalling to me. The over use of cursing and rude ways to say simple things got on my nerves big time. Secondly; this reads like a YA (withholding the bad langue and sometimes unnecessary violence.) But I was not in the mood to read YA, that’s why I chose an Adult read in the first place.
That being said, the premise of this book is quite unique. I mean a Dragon living in the 21ste century is something different; and I can’t say I’ve read anything like it before. So if you keep in mind that this is a YA with a lot of bad langue; you might just like it.
“Squib was marked and he knew it. I gotta sort this out, he thought. I gotta get out from under that dragon. Which is not a problem most people have to solve in their lifetimes. In general, most folks who get to meet a dragon only get to think about it that one time for about five seconds.”
The teenaged boy Squib becomes the familiar of Vern, who is perhaps the last surviving dragon. Vern is sort of like a 7-foot, winged alligator, who walks upright, wears cargo shorts and lives in a Louisiana swamp. I liked the relationship between Vern and Squib, which evolved over the course of the book. It had a sweet YA vibe by the end of the book. However, nothing else about the book is YA. It is coarse, vulgar and profane. I’m ok with that in moderation but my problem with the book was that nothing about the book was as clever or humorous as the author believes. It’s probably just a case of my not sharing his sense of humor. He seems to believe that referring to “balls”, “piss” and “ass” is the height of humor. I disagree.
The description of this book made it sound like something I would like, but I just couldn’t get into the writing style. None of this was funny to me: neither “A tiny species of hydrophytic buttercup, indigenous to the swamp, was blasted into extinction. No one ever saw it and no one would ever miss it — apart from the bullfrogs that ate it for its hallucinogenic properties. Cue thousands of cold-turkey bullfrogs croaking their sacs off for what was left of the summer.” nor “Vern’s response to this apparition was to unleash his junk and take an arcing piss.”
I haven’t read anything else by this author, but I know he’s very popular. I’m sure this book will appeal to others but it just wasn’t for me. The end of the book leaves room for a sequel. I think I’ll pass.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
I won this in a GoodReads giveaway. Thanks to GR and Harper Perennial for the book.
Despite what I had read in the blurb, I was not expecting Vern, LOL. This book was just plain fun to read. There were a lot of hi-jinks in a Louisiana swamp with a crooked cop, a juvenile delinquent and his momma (though Squib is still a good kid in the wanna-be-a-bad-guy stage), a mogwai and a dragon named Vern. And yes, it's just exactly as hilarious as it sounds.
And though I had quite a few literal laugh out loud moments, it wasn't all fun and games. There's some dark history and sad circumstances, and the bad guy is truly loathsome. For once, the justice served up satisfied even me.
Charming characters, lots of action and ridiculous conversations made this a hugely enjoyable read. If you can suspend your disbelief and take this world for what it is, this is fabulous entertainment!
Highfire is being marketed as Eoin Colfer's first adult fantasy book but to be honest, apart from the swearing, excessive violence and chapters in the bad guy's point of view, the actual story felt pretty juvenile. I remember really enjoying the Artemis Fowl series when I read it years ago so I was really excited to see what this author would come up with for an adult audience, especially when I found out there would be dragons, but as much as I hate to say this I ended up feeling disappointed.
It took me a looooong time to read this book, I actually came very close to quitting and to be honest it probably would have been better to do that than force myself to get to the end. I found it impossible to connect with any of the characters, Squib was young and irritating, Vern (the dragon!) wasn't fleshed out enough (I still can't picture what he looked like, is he a giant dragon or is his shape more humanoid since he apparently likes wearing Flashdance t-shirts?) and the sections from the point of view of the crooked cop were just vomit inducing. Seriously, we have to be inside his head while he's thinking about raping Squib's mother or planning to kill her son because it will leave her vulnerable and he'll be able to take advantage of her. That's not all of the disgusting things he plans but it was far more than I needed to see first hand.
The humour completely missed the mark for me, it was all the kind of potty humour about bodily functions that you hear teenage boys giggling about. I'm sure others will appreciate it too but it just wasn't what I was hoping for when I picked up this story. I'm really struggling to think of anything I particularly liked about this book, it only really gets 2 stars because I finished reading it but that was a close run thing and I'd struggle to recommend it to anyone.
Highfire A Novel By: Eoin Colfer Narrated by: Johnny Heller Oh my gosh! Colfer wrote a hilarious adult book that is just right! It has a snarky, booze, dragon, named Vern, hiding out in the swamps of Louisiana enjoying a boar now and then. He lives a good life with his gator minions and, other than being lonely for a dragon girl, he does ok. He avoids people until he gets himself into trouble by saving a teen from a crooked cop. Sure, he should've ate the kid but decided to let him live and the antics are on! It is funny, heartwarming, and just downright silly but I loved every minute! Unpredictable, great characters, and I hope this will be a series! I got the Audible version because Heller I knew would make the book POP and he did! He made it even better! Great pair - Colfer and Heller!
I’ve grown up with the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer, and they’re a staple in our house for my children (my son is called Eoin too), so I went into this with some trepidation. Could Colfer’s wit carry itself in an adult novel? Especially one that sounds as bizarre as this one, with a grumpy vodka drinking dragon and a boy called Squib with major daddy issues and criminal tendencies. As it happens, yes it could, and this ended up being one hell of a ride.
Vern, our depressed dragon, is the last of his kind and casually hanging out in the Louisiana swaps watching Netflix. He wants to be left alone, but somehow finds himself attached to Squib, a troubled kid with the law hot on his heels. Their relationship is really the highlight of the novel, as the pair bounce off each other so well. I find that Eoin Colfer does tend to craft his protagonists well, pairing them up with individuals who at once compliment or oppose their personalities. They’re always well fleshed out, and often morally grey but loveable - and this is certainly true here too. Vern is a firm favourite, with his endless snarky comments and morose attitude that just lends itself well to the overall feel of the book.
I also liked that the plot itself doesn’t take itself too seriously, with our heroes becoming embroiled with murder, drugs and villains with humour sprinkled throughout. It’s a joyous romp filled with the outrageous and lots of swearing. However, it also tackles some more serious topics too, especially around Squib and his mother, and this was handled well.
At times I did wish the pacing was a bit faster as the plot does drag in some places (particularly in the middle section), however overall this didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story.
For those who like their fantasy stories filled with humor, here is the start of a new adult fantasy series from the author of Artemis Fowl. Set in the bayous of Louisiana, a young fatherless teen named Everett 'Squib' Moreau tries to stay out of trouble and earn some money to help out his mama while protecting her virtue from a psychopathic constable named Regence Hooke who is hot for her body.
That story would be interesting enough, right? But Eoin Colfer has thrown in a 7-foot tall dragon named Lord Highfire, better known as Vern, the last of his species, who hiding in the swamps. There is another creature living there too--a mogwai named Waxman who is the result of interbreeding between humans and dragons at some point centuries ago. What will happen when humans meet creatures? Lots of adventure, danger, horror and excitement mixed with a great deal of humor.
I have to admit that I didn't think this was a book for me at first--I was put off by a lot of gratuitous swearing, for one thing. But I hung in there and found that became less of an issue as I came to appreciate the wit and humor with which Colfer writes his novel. I was in fact quite entertained by these two unlikely friends--Vern and Squib. I'll look forward to more in this series to come.
I received an arc of this new fantasy novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinions expressed in this review. Many thanks!
Ahoy there me mateys! This book was so not for me. The humor was juvenile and too filled with poop, vomit, and stupid. The characters felt like caricatures of Bayou life and none of them were redeemable. The plot was dumb and uninteresting but I kept reading because I wanted the dragon to be cool. Sadly, at 46% the dragon pissed on the arm of the main character and that was enough.
HOWEVER, the book included a bizarre spelling of the French word for mosquito which led me down an awesome rabbit hole about language. I have a love of words and much like the foray into mispronounced words I recently took, this journey involved hours of reading about etymology of the French language. Turns out the spelling of mosquito in the book came from Missouri French also known as Paw Paw French. This language is not to be confused with Louisiana French, Canadian French, or Traditional French. It is also NOT French Creole. I didn't even know that Missouri or Louisiana French was an official thing.
Now my French language usage has declined a ton since me schooling days. Today I can order food and ask directions. But I still have enough basics to love the differences between French variants.
After reading about the loveliness that is Paw Paw French, the First Mate and I looked into the Oïl languages of which one is Walloon. Walloon is spoken in Wallonia in Belgium and its formation began in 980. It is not quite a dead language yet but is cool. Example: French - Salut! = Walloon - A. Then there was an adventure into the differences between creole and pidgin. But I will stop here. Though dorks like me can click all the links above to fall down that same rabbit hole if it suits ye.
So while I am trying to get the actual book out of me noggin, I am grateful to it just the same. Arrr!
Side note: If ye really want to be a dork with me then get me started on the OED.
Highfire is bestselling children’s author Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel, and I guess this is one of those situations whereby the old adage ”better late than never” seems particularly apt. So, in the end, was it actually worth waiting for? The short answer is yes, absolutely. The apparent lack of the dreaded hype machine to latch onto this as an upcoming early 2020 publication at the back end of last year when it was announced has worked every bit in its favour. I must admit it's been quite a while since I indulged in one of Colfer’s children's masterpieces but few would have the gall to propose / proffer that they are lacking in any kind of fashion. For children's fantasy Colfer was, and still is, one of the finest working (in the genre) today. However, with this, he proves overwhelmingly, with more of a nuanced plot and exploration of a diverse and intriguing range of adult themes, that he indeed can write exquisite fantasy epic for the bigger kids!
His masterful storytelling speaks for itself and alongside the mix of wit and humour, impressive characterization, intricate worldbuilding and completely immersive experience, Colfer throws his hat squarely in the ring for adult fantasy of 2020 and we haven't yet departed the opening month! It also retains some of the quirky fun and playfulness featured in many, if not all, of his children literature/works and it WORKS incredibly well. It's an exquisite, escapist dream and a book I know I will reread before the year is out. Highfire is the literary equivalent of Disneyland but more fun, outlandish and appealing more to adults. It's safe to say that Colfer's first foray into the adult fantasy genre has been a resounding success. Unforgettable. Unputdownable. A must-read for every type of fantasy fan. Many thanks to Jo Fletcher Books for an ARC.
I kid you not that it took 30 minutes to find a book on my to-read list of 950+ books that could be described as humorous! Why was I looking, well I asked my husband for his input when making the choice of what book to listen to together next and he asked for humor.
We have fond memories of listening to Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series on car journeys with our children many moons ago. They kept both adults and children alike spellbound and kept the journey interesting.
How fun to discover that Colfer has written a fantasy novel for adults starring a dragon! We loved the snarky humor and the setting was perfect. Johnny Heller does a fantastic job with all the accents and tones of voice. This truly was a fun read!
I'd just like to say that I absolutely loved Vern. He was an incredibly well written character and, in my opinion, made this book.
I'm a little on the fence on Highfire. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it but I felt there was not a lot of anything going on for most of the book and then all the action was crammed in to a few chapters.
I also felt that this was kind of like a children's story adapted for adults using a whole lot of graphic gore. If that makes any sense? I don't know if it's because I've not read anything like Highfire before or if it's this authors way (I've never read anything by Eoin Colfer).
So of course I’ve heard of this author but I’ve never read anything written by him because he usually writes children’s books and sadly my childhood is far behind. Yet when I spotted this being marketed as an adult story I was beyond curious and happily can state that this was absolutely fabulous ! This was a riveting read that meandered along and just gradually built up the pace. We meet Vern who believes he is sadly the last Dragon around but he’s far from what you would expect a Dragon to be. Vern is grumpy, snarky and obsessed with vodka, keto and Flashdance ! His only friend is Waxman but even he is anything but ordinary although sadly my lips are sealed. Into Verns quiet , hard drinking, cable watching life comes crashing a young boy known as Squib . Squib adores his mama, is wily enough not to get caught too often when not exactly being an upstanding young man oh and has just landed himself in a really precarious position ! Why ? Well that’s all because of a vile, murdering cop who is pretty certain that if anyone has evidence on him then they definitely need to leave the land of the living ! This started so quietly really and felt character driven as the author introduced his characters and all their idiosyncrasies . We learn that Vern is still caught up in his past and cantankerous as only a lonely thousands of years old Dragon can be. We understand that Squib is bright yet not focused but most of all it’s obvious that he’s still looking for a father figure. Plus there are passages that get inside Hookes head that really help make him feel both real and yet psychotic at the same time. Then boom the pace slowly increases and it begins hurtling along until it truly is an edge of the seat read that was impossible to put down. This book with its Godzilla looking hero ( just don’t call him a Gargoyle ! ) is poignant, exciting, funny and is a huge recommendation from me. This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
Vern is the last dragon, thousands of years old, and obsessed with flashdance? Squib is a swamp kid trying to get by. Hooke, our villain, is a crooked cop. And Highfire follows the story of how their three lives become intertwined.
Highfire started out well , but in the end just wasn't my cup of tea.
I didn’t get that attached to the characters. It felt as if not all that much really happens, and it was less fantastical than I thought it would be.
However, I appreciate the originality of the plot, and the writing itself wasrather entertaining.
I received a complimentary copy of this e-book ARC from the author, publisher and netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Everett Squib Moreau is a young teenager trying to survive in the Louisiana swamps. He loves his mama very much and despises Constable Regence Hooke who wants to place a hook into his mom. When Squib sees something he isn't suppossed to see, he is stalked by Hooke and an angry dragon named Vern. Will he survive? Read on and find out for yourself.
This was a pretty good YA action adventure fantasy. If you enjoy stories about dragons and more, then be sure to check this book out when it officially releases to bookstores and wherever books are sold online on January 28, 2020.
4.5★s “Every time he met someone, Hooke was figuring how to murder them and get away with it, in case the need arose.”
Highfire is a stand-alone novel by Irish author, Eoin Colfer. The Louisiana bayou: about the last place you'd expect to find a dragon. But here, just upstream from Petit Bateau on a trib of the West Peace River, is Vern (formerly Wyvern Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie and possibly the very last dragon in the world), drinking Absolut, watching Netflix, wearing Flashdance T-shirts and staying under the (human) radar.
Fifteen-year-old Cajun-blood tearaway, Everett (Squib) Moreau is about to meet with a local small-time crook for some work when he witnesses the murder of said crook by (the totally corrupt Constable) Regence Hooke who, incidentally, is displaying what Squib considers an unhealthy interest in his mother, Elodie. Heard, but not seen, he tries to escape, and when Hooke begins tossing concussion grenades at him, and Squib believes he’s about to die.
Blacked out from the unexpected G force lift, Squib comes to, stunned to find himself in the cabin of what claims to be a dragon: a talking dragon who begins interrogating him. Fast forward some hours, and he has a job that includes acting as gofer for the (human-hating) dragon and shovelling dragon excrement over a mogwai called Waxman. As you do.
Regence Hooke has mighty plans concerning the takeover of a New Orleans mob boss’s operation, and observes Squib’s diligent industry with not a little interest: there might just be something here he can make use of… From there, heaps of action and gunplay, lots of high-power weapons and therefore a substantial body count. Colfer gives his characters plenty of clever, funny dialogue and it all makes for a very entertaining read! This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Hachette Australia.
When your favorite author announces he's writing his first adult fantasy book you pre-order it it months in advance and eagerly await its release, which is just what I did. The story was funny as hell, unique and action-packed. Also, it has a a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon. What more could I want?
First of all, how does Colfer keep coming up with the best character names? It's one of my favorite things about his books. In this one we have Squib Moreau, Vern (which stands for Wyvern) and Constable Regence Hooke as it main characters.
Squib is a 15 year-old boy from Louisiana who lives with his single Mother Elodie and somehow ends up working for Vern and Vern just happens to be a dragon living in the Louisiana swamps where he spends his days watching Netflix, loving Flashdance and drinking vodka. Regence Hooke is the well-named bad guy. It's no secret that I always love Colfer's villains. First of all, the bad guys' names are always on point and they're always pretty bad people so it's not hard to hate them. Hooke definitely was a hateful guy so I wasn't disappointed in that aspect for sure.
Is this book for everyone? Probably not. First of all, this definitely isn't Artemis Fowl. It's adult fantasy, for one thing so it has lots of cussing and what not. Did I love it? Hell yeah! I can only imagine how much fun Colfer had writing this book. And I absolutely had fun reading it.
Overall, Highfire was a great read. It was often laugh-out-loud funny and it has Colfer's trademark snarky characters. If you're looking for an original fantasy featuring a unconventional dragon and lots of other hilarious and unique characters you need to pick this one up.
I always feel guilty DNFing books, especially when they're advanced copies, but it has to be done. This is by no means a bad book, and I can see why people will enjoy this—it's funny, has charming characters—it's just not doing anything for me. Someone please drag me out of this reading slump!!
Eoin Colfer, the writer of the much-loved Artemis Fowl children’s series has written the adult novel Highfire about a dragon hanging down low in the swamps of Louisiana. Highfire is a comedic novel full of eccentric characters acting in odd ways peppered with violence, adult language, and fantasy elements. Comedic novels are tough. They are all about the jokes. And let’s be honest, jokes are not exactly known for their plots, conflicts, characters, and all the other elements that make up a riveting novel. You could look at it like comedic novels are the sausages of stories. The jokes are the filling—all the good stuff like pork, salt, spices, hoofs, snouts, and disappeared mob informants, while the story is the intestinal casing that holds it all together. Yes, the casing is important, but what we really want are those delicious ground-up hoofs and knuckles. Highfire wants you to believe it is a 16 inch kielbasa all rigid and succulent, the kind of thing if you are lucky enough to pack you would want to brag about and show off to all your friends. In reality, Highfire is more like a McDonald’s breakfast sausage jammed into a foot-long casing. Sure the filing is there, some of the jokes hit, but there is not enough. Way too much time is spent on that casing. And well, the casing just isn’t that tasty. So there is a lot of story going on here. Vern the dragon is hiding from people, he is the last of his kind. There is Squib a young delinquent who has a heart of gold and is on the run from the crooked Sheriff’s constable who is a cross between Friday the 13th’s Jason and the Terminator. This nefarious policeman’s durability is only eclipsed by his quirkiness. There is a lot of casing going on here (much of it not that interesting) and not a lot of hoofs to eat. I was expecting more laughs. Highfire is serviceable if you enjoy reading the light fantasy/light joke offerings of Christopher Moore, but it is not particularly exceptional.
I was excited to be approved for this title. I did request it on a whim because the synopsis was just out of this world weird. I really didn’t know what to expect when picking this up to start. Although it sounded good, I had a hard time enjoying it. Not because there was anything wrong with it but because I just don’t think it was suited for me.
This book has multiple point-of-views that aren’t always separated by chapters. It wasn’t hard to follow along as it was all in third person. It made it easy to distinguish the views. Even with this, it was still hard to feel a connection to the characters. Maybe part of it was not finding most of the things they said funny. I also didn’t care for all the language that was used. I know this won’t bother others and that’s fine. I can deal with a word every now and again but each page had more than a few. I guess I should have known and it would have made me less inclined to request it.
Although the plot is unique in the way it portrays a dragon, I didn’t find myself enjoying reading about him. For the most part, he acted more human. The plot twists weren’t surprising and the action was just okay. It’s not that there wasn’t a lot of action but it did take a bit to get to. The book is definitely slower paced.
If it wasn’t for the fact it was an arc, I definitely would have dnfed this one. Again, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the book per say, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
The last line of this book is just "Balls out." and I feel like that summarizes its tone incredibly well.
(Seriously, though, testes are a frequent topic of conversation.)
Still mulling over how I feel about it and working to disentangle the nostalgia I associate with Colfer from the book itself so that I can properly evaluate it. It doesn't help that his writing style is so singular, even when the dialect/voice is completely different - something about that wry, metatextual third person just brings Artemis Fowl to mind despite it all.
Well I be doggone. I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. It came up from the swamps and got me.
Alright, so I go into this novel with the premise that this is about a Louisiana living, Flashdance loving, and vodka drinking dragon named Vern. It really was so much more. Heartfelt. Suspenseful. With that lovely touch of magical realism.
Let’s talk about what I loved.
Vern. One of the most delightful characters I’ve met this year. Mind you...he will tell you himself, he is a pain in the buttocks....but my goodness. All the heart eyes. He reminds me of the crotchety neighbor down the street who is yelling at kids to get off his lawn, all the while, hiding a heart of gold.
The writing. I did not one time. Not one single time question the fact that there was a mystical creature living in a shack....watching Netflix....drinking vodka...while loving Flashdance. Sincerely, the writing was flawless.
Squib. At the end of the day, Squib just wants to do well, help his mama get back on her feet and have a little fun while doing it. Sqib’s character was really Dennis to Verns Mr. Wilson (if you don’t get that reference. Go google Dennis The Menace...go on, I’ll wait 😂).
The atmosphere. Louisiana in the summertime. Lord knows it was 70 degrees in North Carolina, (at the end of December but whatever) when I was reading this. It brought to mind a completely authentic Bayou experience.
I could go on and on y’all. I’m going to end with one more thing. If you want a light, heartfelt, novel with magical realism and fun scrappy characters...pick this up. Sincerely. It was easily a five 🌟 read for me!