If you are a fan of parallel worlds, dragons and mythical creatures, then Penny White and the Temptation of Dragons by Chrys Cymri is the book for you!
Penny White is an everyday kinda vicar in rural England whose life changes soon after she finds herself giving a dragon the last rites. She proceeds to become a part-time vicar in Lloegyr, a parallel world populated by many fantastical creatures who also share the Christian faith.
When I was asked to review this book, I was at first expecting the story to be a lot darker. But, as soon as Lloegyr and its wonderful creatures were introduced, I was immediately reminded of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and I knew Penny White was going to be a winner.
Cymri grips the reader from the beginning as the first few pages tell the death of a dragon on an English motorway. From there, we are brought on Penny’s journey in discovering Lloegyr. It was nice to discover this new world and its creatures at the same time as Penny; I felt her bewilderment and excitement at the same time. Nothing is presumed of the reader by the author so I didn’t feel left behind when it came to information.
Penny was a great character and very likeable, which I guess one wouldn’t often expect from a character who is a vicar. The book showed aspects of Penny’s faith and her commitment to it and I liked the theme of religion binding our world and that of Lloegyr together. It gave the message that we are all the same when it come down to it. But Penny also liked to drink whisky, was an avid Dr Who fan and grumbled about some of the tasks she had to perform as part of her daily duties and this makes her down to earth and relatable to the reader. I actually think that the character of Penny is based on Cymri herself and that made Penny all the more real to me.
I also enjoyed the theme of friendship in this book, especially between Penny and Morey, a gryphon who is Penny’s associate. Although Morey’s sarcasm and his tendency to be judgemental had Penny believing that they would not get along, they eventually become good friends, loyal to each other through tough times. We also see an unlikely bond form between Morey and snail shark Clyde, again showcasing the message of us all being equal and not judging a book by its cover (like I did before reading this. Oops).
I can’t really do anything but recommend this book, especially if you are the kind who loves getting lost in an alternate reality. And, if you feel cold turkey after finishing the last page, be comforted in the fact that there is more to come in this series.
I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.