Named of the Dragon
Likable characters in a wonderfully imagined setting in Wales with a lavish mix of Arthurian legend thrown in. Kearsley's writing flows as she develops the romantic suspense.
What I liked: the setting, a small coastal village in Wales, frequent references to myth, legend, and poetry connected to Merlin. The prose makes much of the narrative very visual.
On the other hand, the book felt too short--as if the author had compelling ideas and was in a hurry to include everything and finish up.
Much of the mystery's supernatural aspect felt like an aside by the time I finished, sort of incomplete. The characters, some of whom offered such potential, never quite became real people. I liked and disliked them accordingly, but they all had intriguing elements that were left sketchy; they needed more depth and complexity.
Most elements were predictable, but isn't that what we sometimes want in this kind of fantasy? The familiar fairy tale with a romantic element and enough suspense to keep an edge? The kind of books that Mary Stewart, Barbara Michael's, and Victoria Holt wrote -- books that were more about romance than sex, full of atmospheric mystery and tension.
So...a book that was entertaining and visual. A bon-bon of subtle romance, myth, and mystery. The very fact that I wanted more from the Named of the Dragon is revealing. I wanted to be more fully immersed, wanted it to be denser and lengthier. Nevertheless, I enjoyed spending a rainy afternoon in Wales.
Read in June; blog post scheduled for Oct. 6
Mystery/Supernatural. First published 1998; Oct. 6, 2015. Print length: 295 pages