Review: The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True by Sean Gibson

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Sean Gibson's The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True will be published by The Parliament House in December 2020.

Sean Gibson
Sean Gibson

Sean Gibson is not a professional mini biography writer (if he were, this would be much more compelling). Instead, he’s a marketing professional by day, hangs out with his amazing wife, son, and daughter by night, and writes somewhere in between. He holds a BA in English Literature from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, but he really wishes he had been able to matriculate at Hogwarts (he would have been in Hufflepuff for sure). Sean is a fan of sports teams from Detroit, a distressingly large number of bands that rose to prominence in the 1980s, and writing in the third person. He currently resides in Northern Virginia, and, given how much he hates moving, and given that his house has an awesome library, is likely to remain there for some time.

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The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True (Heloise the Bard #1) by Sean Gibson
The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True
Heloise the Bard #1
by Sean Gibson

Sure, you think you know the story of the fearsome red dragon, Dragonia. How it terrorized the village of Skendrick until a brave band of heroes answered the noble villagers' call for aid. How nothing could stop those courageous souls from facing down the dragon. How they emerged victorious and laden with treasure.

But, even in a world filled with epic adventures and tales of derring-do, where dragons, goblins, and unlicensed prestidigitators run amok, legendary heroes don't always know what they're doing. Sometimes they're clueless. Sometimes beleaguered townsfolk are more hapless than helpless. And orcs? They're not always assholes, and sometimes they don't actually want to eat your children.

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Sean Gibson's The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True is one of my favourite fantasy books of the year. It's a delightfully humorous and highly enjoyable story about a dragon attack and its aftermath.

The events of this novel take place in a world called Erithea. The story begins with a classic version of what happened with the dragon in the village/town of Skendrick. This beginning is both dramatic and entertaining, but as you may have already guessed by the title of this book, it is not the whole truth, but rather an embellished and altered version of it.

The story tells of half-elven Heloise, who is a bard. She knows the truth about the fateful day in Skendrick when the dragon attacked and the shocking events that followed the attack. Because recent developments have released her from keeping the truth a secret, she has decided to speak her mind and set things straight, because - in her opinion - the classic tavern version isn't half as entertaining as the truth.

As Heloise begins to tell her story, the reader is introduced to the wondrous world of Erithea and the various races that inhabit it. The worldbuilding works well within the constraints of the story, because bits and pieces about the world are revealed to the reader as the amazing and unbelievable events begin to unfold before the reader's eyes.

The cast of characters is diverse and intriguingly quirky. It was fun to read about Heloise and the group of adventurers, because the author fleshes out their differences in an amusing way. The dialogues between the characters are satisfyingly funny, sharp and poignant.

I found Heloise to be a fascinating protagonist, because she's beautiful, clever and talented. She has a big ego and she knows how to tell stories. Her eager, opinionated and somewhat sarcastic way of telling the truth sizzles with humour and surprises.

I also enjoyed reading about the other characters, because they're charmingly quirky and have their own striking personalities that occasionally clash with each other. Here are a few words about them:

- Rumscrabble Tooltinker (Rummy) is a half-dwarf half-halfling and a street magician.

- Borgunder Gunderbor (Borg) is a rock giant.

- Nadinta Ghettinwood (Nadi) is an elven woman.

- Whiska Tailiesen is a Ratarian (Ratarians are one of the races that inhabit Erithea) and a wizard.

I'll also mention that High Chieftain Gnurk of the orcs is an interesting character. I won't go into details about him, but I can mention that it was fun to read about him.

I'm happy to say that this book is one of the funniest fantasy books I've ever read. I loved the author's sense of humour and was impressed by how fluently he wrote about the events and what truly happened. Once I began to read this book, I couldn't stop reading it, because the story pulled me in from the start and I had to find out what had really happened in Skendrick.

This is one of those rare books, in which humour, excitement, magic and action are in balance. The author's mischievous and playful approach to storytelling works like a charm and his way of delivering clever puns makes you chuckle and laugh out loud. In addition to having plenty of humour, the story also has elements of politics and prejudice, which spice up the story.

I think that this book will of great interest to those who love humorous fantasy fiction. If you've read anything by Terry Pratchett and enjoyed what you read, you should read this book, because it's very entertaining and worth reading. The author's writing style is a bit different from Pratchett's style, but has similar kind of charm and cleverness to it.

I greatly enjoyed Sean Gibson's The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True and found it highly enjoyable. I recommend it to everybody who loves humorous fantasy stories, because the story is gripping and filled with humour and surprises. I sincerely hope that the author will write more stories about the same fantasy world, because this book gave me a thirst for more adventures featuring Heloise the Bard.