3 out of 4 stars
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As a child, Siobhan knew that the little green dragon statue in her grandmother’s garden was different from the others. When that dragon came to life and spoke to her, she was not surprised. Years of therapy, drugs, and counselors could not change Siobhan’s conviction that the dragon was real. As an adult, she returns to that garden after inheriting her grandparents’ home. Upon arriving, she sets off a series of events that place her squarely in the middle of a supernatural conflict that could spell doom for all of humanity.
Erika Gardner’s light tone in The Dragon in the Garden makes for an enjoyable read. Her sense of humor pops up regularly, reminding readers to enjoy the journey. She effortlessly weaves together elements from various myths and religions into an enjoyable tale. In many ways, her writing reminds me of the Supernatural television series. Even though the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, characters can still find reasons to laugh and enjoy life.
Many of my favorite books find a way to balance humor, suspense, romance, action, and drama. While Gardner does a largely good job of balancing these elements in her book, I think the romance element might have been the weakest of them. Romantic relationships had a tendency to simply appear instead of developing more organically in the book. Once that romantic involvement became clear, though, Gardner handled the emotions and concerns inherent in a relationship well. Conveying a romantic relationship through suspenseful action sequences can be difficult, and Gardner showed she could mix these elements with a dash of humor to create a delightful story.
I thoroughly enjoyed Gardner’s writing style, but the book could use another pass on the editing. After identifying a number of errors with misplaced commas and a few with missing words, I must deduct a star from the rating. This is truly a shame because her style, characters, and plot are so enjoyable that she would have received the full four stars had the editing been cleaner. In fact, her writing style had me so engaged that I had to keep reminding myself to look for errors. Fortunately, the errors I discovered are minor, so a casual reader may not even notice most of them.
Gardner’s novel earns a strong 3 out of 4 stars. With an engaging writing style, strong plot, and entertaining characters, she has crafted a thoroughly enjoyable novel. Cleaning up the grammatical issues could easily take this book to the 4-star territory. Fans of modern fantasy, especially the Supernatural series, are sure to enjoy this novel.
The Dragon In The Garden
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