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ALC Review: I'm Afraid You've Got Dragons by Peter S. Beagle

Release date:  14 May 2024

Rating:  5/5

Narrators:  Shaun Taylor-Corbett

Synopsis:  From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Unicorn comes a new novel with equal amounts of power and whimsy in which a loveable cast of characters trapped within their roles of dragon hunter, princess, and more must come together to take their fates into their own hands.


Dragons are common in the backwater kingdom of Bellemontagne, coming in sizes from mouse-like vermin all the way up to castle-smashing monsters. Gaius Aurelius Constantine Heliogabalus Thrax (who would much rather people call him Robert) has recently inherited his deceased dad’s job as a dragon catcher/exterminator, a career he detests with all his heart in part because he likes dragons, feeling a kinship with them, but mainly because his dream has always been the impossible one of transcending his humble origin to someday become a prince’s valet. Needless to say, fate has something rather different in mind…

 

Review 


Reminiscent of Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux with its synchronous whimsical storytelling and bleak themes with happyish endings, Beagle’s new novel charmed my socks off and revitalized me a bit during my current, seemingly year-long reading slump.  Just about everything in this book fit well together, and the characters served to enhance the narrative as well.  Pair that with amazing narration, and I can’t not give it all the stars.  


Robert the dragon exterminator does not like his job.  At all.  He actually loves dragons and can’t stand the thought of killing them.  But, he was born into a dragon exterminating family, and that’s what he must do with his life.  Until he arrives at the castle to clear it out of dragons for the princess to prepare to host the suitor she hopes to attract, a crown prince of a neighboring kingdom, Robert feels dreary with the lot in life that has been cast for him.  


Once the three main characters come together, and go on a dragon-killing quest, strange things begin to happen.  Robert decides he wants to be a prince’s valet.  The prince finds out he has more courage than he thinks he does.  The princess discovers she doesn’t really want to marry the crown prince of the powerful neighboring kingdom.  While these characters figure out what they want in life, as they’re all venturing out on a dangerous quest, readers get a wonderful dose of humor, encouraging examples of found family and unwavering commitment to helping others, and a great ending that wraps it up and ties it nicely with a bow. 


I can’t recommend this short, witty read enough.  Corbett’s narration absolutely nails the tone of the book.  I’m not sure what else I can assert other than I loved listening to this one.  I don’t think Saga Press could have chosen a more perfect voice to tell this story.


5 stars for both the story and the narration.  Despite the fact that I have owned a Beagle book, The Last Unicorn:  The Lost Journey, for years; I haven’t cracked it open and actually read it.  I also haven’t seen the movie for The Last Unicorn.  I am aware that Beagle books are part of Fantasy 101.  I am aware of my fantasy backlist failings.  I’m trying to play catch up while simultaneously reading front list books.  Story of my never-ending TBR life.  


My thanks to Libro.fm and Simon & Schuster Audio for the ALC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.


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