on 25 March 2011
The title of this book is mildly misleading. I expected a very humorous book, and it does have humour; but it also has a more serious & occasionally tense storyline. The book is constructed around three interwoven narratives. One is the story of Druid, a depressed water dragon left alone in the swamps without the company of any other dragons. The second is the story of a group of cats, principally Tara, destined to save the world - even though she is only a pint-sized kitten. The third is the human angle, following a feeling young woman and her artistic lover through the difficulties of a rather deranged, emotion-suppressing society.
The agenda of the story is clear: it makes some salient points about the destructiveness of human societies and the need to change our way of thinking. Some books could become leaden with such a heavy core message, and this one does come a little close to belabouring this point. However, it is written with a light, entertaining style and leavened with sufficient humour to avoid this.
The characters are engaging and largely loveable, and I liked the resolution to the story. I'd have liked to hear more about the final fate of characters such as Phileas - is he allowed to marry and have a normal life now? - and Serazina & Berto. However, perhaps this is coming up in a sequel!
This book also stands out from the crowd in the quality of the writing, editing and proofreading. I will recommend it to others & hope a sequel emerges fairly soon.
on 7 May 2011
Big Dragons Don't Cry is a deeply moving portrayal of man's destructive attitude towards animals and nature which challenges our established notions of dealing with such issues. The author's greatest feat is to deliver this hard-hitting message without ever `preaching' to her reader. Instead, the author creates wonderful characters such as the water dragon Druid and the cat Tara, who form bonds of companionship that override prejudices and illuminate this story.
The author succeeds in interweaving several threads of plot; her deft handling of these different plots allows the story to conclude with a terrific climax. The combination of an important moral message with a swashbuckling sense of adventure reminds me of Avatar.
One of the book's greatest strengths is that it constantly grounds its humour and adventure with an important overriding message - which is one heck of a feat for any author to pull off. This allows the book to pull off its key emotional moments with dexterity and depth.
Read this book - you won't regret doing so.