Highfire – Eoin Colfer

“Vern did not trust humans was the long and short of it.”

Vern might live in the Louisiana swamps, but he’s not short on luxury: vodka, cable tv, his beloved Flashdance t-shirts. The ‘gators bother him from time to time, sure, but any people who do likewise tend not to make it back out of the swamp. Which might be because Vern is short for Wyvern, Lord Highfire, last of the breed of dragon lords.

Still, even Vern might not be a match for 15-year-old ‘Squib’ Moreau, troublemaker and entrepreneur, constantly on the run from Louisiana’s most bent cop – who happens to be sweet on Squib’s mother. When these three combine, it might just get explosive…

Eoin Colfer is probably best known for the Artemis Fowl books. This isn’t his first book for adults, but it is for grown ups: yes, the main character is a talking dragon, but his language isn’t always clean and the violence is often spectacularly gory.

Still, if neither of those things put you off, then this book is huge amounts of fun. Well, there’s a sarcastic dragon with a passion for pop culture, for a start! Squib is also a great character, a bit surprising given he’s a teenager, and their developing friendship is done very well. Ooh, and I loathed the psychopathic Constable Hooke just as I’m sure I was supposed to – he’s a nasty one, but never pantomime-baddy.

Big shout out, too, for the descriptions of the setting. They plunge you completely into the mosquito-heavy atmosphere of the bayou, even if New Orleans seen from a dragon’s point of view isn’t exactly vacation-appealing!

Recommended – a full Squib-fingered score from me! 😉

NetGalley eARC: 384 pages / 21 chapters
First published: 2020
Series: none
Read from 22nd-28th January 2020

My rating: 9/10

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