Review: The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen
I started reading this book last night and I've already finished it, and I have so much to say about it!!!! First of all: I LOVED IT! This has definitely been one of my favorite reads of the year. Absolutely loved it.
Let me begin by giving you a little history on the book itself. The Dragon of Ynys was first published in May, 2018 by Less Than Three Press (LT3). There were two problems in the first version of the book: firstly it contained some elements which were hurtful to the trans readers and secondly there were sentences in the first edition of the book which the author could've challenged but didn't then.
Because of the above mentioned reasons and the fact that the own voice author - who identifies as asexual and somewhere on the spectrum of aromantic - paid attention to the feedback, the author decided to make the necessary corrections and bring out a second version of the book. I appreciate an author who is willing to recognize the flaws in her story and even takes the time to correct those flaws. So kudos to her for that, it's honestly quite brave of her.
Coming to the book and the story - The Dragon Of Ynys is a wonderful tale! A short and fulfilling conquest of an aro/ace knight, a trans-woman/F baker family and a dragon! It's a perfect fit of a queer fantasy troupe (which I definitely would love to be a part of) - a dragon, giant spiders, a knight, a small town and bakers!
It all starts out with the knight - Sir Violet - discovering the compulsive thief in town - Snap, the dragon. The conversations between Violet and Snap are funny, witty and sarcastic, everything you'd expect when interacting with a dragon. The sarcastic humour gets even better when Sir Violet goes straight to the dragon when the town's best baker - Juniper - goes missing.
It's the event that marks the start of the main storyline: the reason for Juniper's sudden disappearance and the conquest to find her by her wife - Holly, accompanied by Sir Violet and the dragon. The story gets even more interesting once they do find Juniper and all four embark on their subsequent mission of meeting the spiders to help them with their final conquest.
I would say that this book was probably written for the age group of 6-12 year olds and would even require guidance from a parent at some points to understand some of the issues addressed here. But in my opinion, like any well-written children's book, it would make for a great read for all age groups. Like the author said, "After all, representation is not just about seeing yourself in a story. It also, more generally, opens our minds and explains the perspectives of other people around us."
I loved that the characters in the book are flawed and are accepting of themselves too. They acknowledge the problems and work on improving them, sending out a clear message that there's always a way around most of them. The character Violet identifies as aromantic and asexual which I felt was a bit underplayed but appreciate the character's acceptance of self.
What I loved most about the book was how tight the plotline was, from start to finish. Despite how short the book is, it's completely whole, the ending didn't feel incomplete and I would certainly read this book again! I would rate this book 5 out of 5 cinnamon roll shaped bookmarks and would highly recommend you all to give it a read!
The second version of the publication comes out on 15 September, 2020 so remember to keep an eye out for this. I hope I get to read more books like this because inclusion starting from children's fiction is an exceedingly important step. It is high time we start acknowledging own voice authors who have written stories where every individual whether an adult or a kid feels represented.
I'd like to thank NetGalley and Atthis Arts for providing me with an eARC of the book to review. I'd also like to congratulate the author Minerva Cerridwen on her efforts to bring to us a corrected second edition of the book.