For 20,000 years, Tesser has slept beneath the earth. Now, he's awake, and walking around in human form. He is arrogant, of course, but he has the rig..Show More »ht to be: Everything that lives on Earth has Tesser to thank for it's existence, for he created them all. (There are also six other dragons, each with their own special gifts, and each is also necessary to the health and well being of the planet. And each, I suspect, will get their own book!)
One of the six is dear to Tesser, his sister, Kowula (sp?) the Dragon of Magic. He hasn't been able to communicate with her since his return, and he's worried. Because of her absence, magic has all but disappeared from the world, but when the magic comes back, creatures that were once thought to be only myth, begin to reappear, too -- causing chaos for the mundane humans, as they struggle to understand the new world order.
Pretty great, right? Ultimately, this story is fun, original, with a (very) little romance. And while the human characters are a bit cliche, and the humor can be crude and juvenile -- and the women talk about sex like especially sophomoric young men instead of women -- the dragons more than make up for it! There's a fair amount of violence, too, but it often made me laugh -- in that way dark humor with a side of horror often does.
The writing for the dragons is what I really loved. They are both innocent and ancient at the same time, and their views on what the humans have done to the world they created is really funny -- or at least, it would be -- if it wasn't also somewhat true.
BUT -- I will admit that I almost returned this book after the first few chapters, because of the crude male oriented humor. It made me think that this might be a book geared toward teenage boys of a certain age, and therefore not for me. Eventually I realized that the humor in Tesser is like a comic book -- which I think is exactly the point. The whole book has a comic book feel!
Philbrook does write that when Tesser came back, he learned the language and the modern cultural references from watching Jay and Silent Bob movies. That tells you all you need to know about the author, his point of view, his sense of humor, and what to expect from the characters he writes. If you don't like Jay and Silent Bob, you probably won't like this book, either. (I LOVE Kevin Smith, so there you have it.)
I found it very easy to ignore the flaws to get to the good stuff -- because there is some very good writing here, and a very good story to tell. (I'm already onto the 2nd book, and it's just as well done. It deals with the vampires taking over Las Vegas!
James Foster gives a brilliant performance, lending Tesser the gravitas and world weary pathos of an immortal creature seeing the state of his creations after a long absence. Also, the frequent inner dialogues of the characters must have been tricky for Foster to perform, but it was clear from the first line that they were inner dialogues. I also REALLY appreciate that Philbrook wrote them without all the 'he thought' or 'she thought' after each one, that a less experienced author might have included unnecessarily.
I loved this book, and hope to enjoy the whole series!
Highly Recommended to fantasy lovers, dragon lovers, Kevin Smith aficionados, and people who love their violence with a lot of dark humor. (But please note that the violence and crude language does make it inappropriate for younger kids.)