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19 September 2021

Publisher: Melange Books

Written By: Arrendle

RRP: £14.94 / $22.91 (Paperback) | £4.74 / $6.51 (Kindle)

Reviewed by: Nathan Jones

Arrendle's debut novel, The Dragon Within: The Threat of Crowns, is an incredibly engaging fantasy adventure story with a refreshing take on the standard tropes of the fantasy genre. I truly loved every moment of this read, and even skipped a meal to continue reading.

The Dragon Within is set on a world of five distinct and isolated realms: Ahan, home of the sparkling star people; Mazati Iskus, where the vibrational sound people live; Badari, home to animal-headed humans (with a clear nod to Ancient Egypt); Wazari Eren, the realm of humans; and Indu, home of the shadow people. Each realm also has its associated type of Dragon, but at the point the book begins, dragons are believed to be merely mythical creatures.

Arrendle provides us with a comprehensive historic set-up to the story, but I’m not going to spoil it by revealing it here. I’ll just say that rather than giving the history as inactive exposition, it’s told through wonderfully immersive real-time events.

Once we’ve been grounded, the story begins. We get to follow the cocky, arrogant antagonist, Samil, as he attempts to unleash a terrible power upon the world, and his mysterious “co-conspirator”. Aubra, a powerful, ancient wizard, sets off to re-form the Magnus Concilium (magic council) in order to stop Samil, and is aided by his adopted daughter, Eshney, and an old friend, Char. Eshney must make a brave journey into learning the skills of magic as Char struggles with the complex, confusing assault of emotions that spur from his recent transformation into human form. And, of course, there’s a charming story of blossoming love woven throughout the main plot.

The descriptions as we travel through the fantastical realms are nothing short of beautiful. Arrendle’s use of language to conjure up such intricately woven societies and breathe life into peoples who look, operate, move, speak, and even think differently is stunning. In fact, Arrendle’s descriptions are delightful throughout; I believe a forty-two word sentence to describe laughter may be a record breaker!

The second big highlight is the novel’s comprehensive, very real journey through the thoughts and emotions of the main characters. They’re some of the best painted characters I’ve encountered. It’s a real pity this is a stand-alone novel, as it would have made an excellent series of books.

I could wax lyrical about this book for some time, but I’ll conclude by saying the epic ending, expertly bringing together all the elements and diverse characters encountered throughout the book, is one of the most satisfying and rewarding endings I’ve ever read.


+  The Dragon Within: The Threat Of Crowns is Out Now!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk!
+  Buy this book from Amazon.com!
+  Follow @Arrendle on Twitter.
+  Follow @NathanJonesBook (Nathan Jones) on Twitter.
+  Follow @DrWhoOnline (Doctor Who Online) on Twitter.  

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