Saturday, April 05, 2003


by Frederic S. Durbin, illustrated by Jason Van Hollander

I'm told that the author is going to be reading this review, so it will have to be a positive one. Fortunately, I don't have to lie. Dragonfly is a great read. The premise is nothing new--a  child has adventures in a mystical realm. But unlike Dorothy, Meg Murry or the Pevensie children, Bridget Anne (also known by the nickname Dragonfly) heads down to a dark realm--the essence of Hallowe'en. Not quite hell, but much closer than any other "faerieland" of which I've read. But it's not all blackness, either. There is love and hope and faith amidst the suffering and death. Mr. Durbin does a very good job of bringing the story to life, weaving together the plot and characters. Nothing is wasted--details that I just thought of as embellishment suddenly turn out to be important to the plot. One of the folks who reviewed Dragonfly at said that the book reminded him of Ray Bradbury. Me, I was reminded of C.S. Lewis, partly because of the basic premise, partly because of the underlying Christianity of the heroes. (And partly because the only Bradbury I can recall reading is Farenheit 451.) But despite Mr. Lewis' skill in portraying good and evil characters, his fiction comes across as a weekend gardener--a tad dirty, but still very prim and proper. Dragonfly, to continue the metaphor, is more like a real farmer, for whom sweat and dust are a part of daily life. I really enjoyed reading this and I'm going to put it on my shelf so I can read it again. I suspect it will only get better the second time around.

LibraryThing link

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