Timy reviews Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons, the first book in Quenby Olson‘s A Miss Percy’s Guide Fantasy series.
If you’d like to know what some of the bloggers have to say about the book, check out the encore of the book tour run by Storytellers On Tour.
|Series: A Miss Percy Guide #1||Genre: Fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: October 26, 2021||Trigger Warnings: –|
|Page count: 347||Publisher: Self-Published|
Miss Mildred Percy inherits a dragon.
Ah, but we’ve already got ahead of ourselves…
Miss Mildred Percy is a spinster. She does not dance, she has long stopped dreaming, and she certainly does not have adventures. That is, until her great uncle has the audacity to leave her an inheritance, one that includes a dragon’s egg.
The egg – as eggs are wont to do – decides to hatch, and Miss Mildred Percy is suddenly thrust out of the role of “spinster and general wallflower” and into the unprecedented position of “spinster and keeper of dragons.” But England has not seen a dragon since… well, ever. And now Mildred must contend with raising a dragon (that should not exist), kindling a romance (with a humble vicar), and embarking on an adventure she never thought could be hers for the taking.
“Mornings were never welcome. Mildred understood their place in the world; everything must have a beginning of some sort, and things like days and weeks and years and even time could not be exempt from that. But mornings weighed on her like a burden, like a trial to be endured before she could arrive at the legitimate part of the day, with the sun fully risen and the birds already digesting their ill-gotten worms.”
I picked Point of No Return by Sunrise Avenue because I think the lyrics go pretty well with how Mr. Wiggan and Miss Percy’s relationship slowly built up. Also because during the book Miss Percy has to make some decisions from which point there is no return to her normal and insignificant life. Plus, I love Sunrise Avenue and their playful, funny tone of music goes well with this Comedic Fantasy.
I’m going to go ahead and “blame” Bjørn Larssen and Quenby Olson for making me read this book – it’s not that I wasn’t interested in it for a while, but when someone (Bjørn) keeps telling you how good it is and then a certain other someone (Quenby) goes and drops the name Judi Dench in a tweet description, you just can’t pass it up. And so, after being so blatantly attacked repeatedly, I gave in and decided to jump Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons to the top of my TBR. And I’m happy to report I have no regrets whatsoever. It really was the nice cozy read I was hoping for.
Miss Percy leads a very, well, let’s face it, dull life living under the roof of her sister’s family, caring for the children, and being pretty much unnoticeable. Until, that is, their great-great uncle dies and leaves some of his possessions to Mildred (the aforementioned Miss Percy). Which kickstarts a series of events that changes not only her life but everyone elses’ too around her. Due to a baby dragon landing in her lap, Mildred finally has the chance to bloom into the woman she always dreamed of becoming. One with a life of wonder and adventure, new friendships, and newfound confidence in herself that propels her to take control of her own fate. Which is the most important message of this book: it’s never too late to reach for your dreams even if society says you are too old, or unworthy or whatever the fuck they say. Mildred is 37 years and is perfectly capable of whatever she sets her mind to do, thank you very much. What I’m trying to say is, she is a character that’s easy to identify yourself with. She is kind-hearted, brave, a bit nervous and shy but instantly likable. It’s impossible not to root for her.
And did I mention the baby dragon yet? It appears that I have a very soft spot for baby dragons. I fell in love with A.J. Norfield‘s Stone War Chronicles series because of one (although that’s an Epic Dark Fantasy series so maybe proceed with caution), and then Quenby Olson came and gave me another one to coo over. Damn you all! *shakes fists in old woman* Who knew all I need for my happiness is a baby dragon and cute crotch biting? And no, I’m not going to elaborate, you’ll have to read the book to get that reference. You can thank me later.
In all seriousness, Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons was a breath of fresh air I didn’t know I needed. I loved the characters – one way or another. Some I loved for themselves, some I would’ve loved to slap repeatedly. I’m looking at you, Belinda. I had mixed feelings about Reginald Hawthorne. On one hand, I could sympathize with him to an extent – having lost his father and having no prospects could be hard, but on the other hand, he gradually lost all of my sympathies as he sank lower into villainhood. Apart from Miss Percy, Mr. Wiggan and Mrs. Babbinton were an absolute delight and made this book come alive with their kindness, friendliness, and general amazingness. I would have liked to learn a bit more about their background story though. But I loved how Miss Percy and Mr. Wiggan’s relationship was budding and the way it was developed throughout the book just as Miss Percy bloomed.
Many before me compared Olson‘s writing to the likeness of Terry Pratchett or Jane Austen and I can see why. It definitely has a regency-vibe laced with some humor. Not necessarily my type of humor, but I was entertained so that works for me. What didn’t work for me, however, were the long run-on sentences, and excessive use of thoughts put in parenthesis. I felt that less would have been more as I was taken out of the flow quite a few times. And that’s why I knocked half a star off of my rating. But this is only a minor, and very taste-dependent thing.
Overall, Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons is the perfect read for a cold winter night, if you want to escape to a small British village and go on a journey of self-discovery along with Miss Percy and her adorable baby dragon, Fitz. You’ll find friends, budding relationships, and adventures at the end of which you’ll want more. As do I.