I must confess I entertained concerns as to the authenticity of this book when I learned it was written by an American author. Fortunately, it took no more than a few pages to relieve me of any such doubts.
Perhaps, to a native Briton of good education, there may be details that stand out as not entirely representative of British literature from the era, but if that were the case, any such details should be insignificant and unworthy of mention. To me, a decidedly non-British reader of passable literacy, this is nigh indistinguishable from Jeeves and Wooster (which, admittedly, it’s been some 30 years since I read (and in Swedish translation, not English)), and I should find it eminently fitting were the audiobook version to be narrated by Stephen Fry.
I should also confess that mimicking the style in which the book is written gives me no small measure of joy, and I hope you, dear reader, will forgive my indulgence.
Now, you might wonder, is this actually a book on the care and feeding of British dragons? I will skirt the question by saying that it is, and it isn’t. The book does describe both feeding of and caring for one particular British dragon (name of Fitz), but it’s just as much about how the dragon (as an egg, initially (I do not believe this information constitutes a spoiler capable of ruining anyone’s enjoyment of the story)) ends up in the care of Miss Percy, and her efforts at caring for the dragon in a respectable and responsible manner.
The book does include quotes from Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons, but said guide will have been written after the events described in this book. Perhaps, it would not be wrong to say that this book tells the story of how Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide eventually came to be.
What I’ll mumble grudgingly about
There are times when the book breaks the fourth wall, and while that in itself isn’t an issue, I found that some of the times it happened, the breaks were rather long (especially in the cases where the parentheses included parentheses of their own (in fairness, this happened less than a handful of times, but I need to complain about something in order to protect my credibility as a gentleman of thought (in the words of Neil Tennant: “Just for the sake of it, make sure you’re always frowning, it shows the world that you’ve got substance and depth.”))).
What I’ll wax lyrical about
The style. If it’s not obvious by now, I really like the style in which this book is written, and though it pains me to admit, the author does a far better job of it than my poor attempts at mimicry.
Wholesome, charming, and personable. I recently described an epic fantasy novel as delightful, and while it was apt, it didn’t feel quite right for that kind of story. This book, however, is the very definition of delightful, and I have no qualms whatsoever about using the word. Should you find yourself in spot of misery, weighed down by the burdens of present day reality (and who doesn’t in times like these), this book will provide an excellent and comfortable respite.
This is cozy, low-stakes fantasy, loaded with delightful charm – and a dragon.