David Freer’s Dragon’s Ring is one of those books that makes me thankful for the internet. Otherwise I never would have heard of it. One day I was looking around for dragon centric books and saw it deep in the list. I’d never heard of the author and never seen the book at any stores. It took several before I managed to find it once I actually looked. Books a Million had it. I hope they don’t pull a Borders on me.

I admit I’m a sucker for cool cover art, and Dragon’s Ring has it.

This makes Chuck Norris feel like a pansy.

And a note to authors: If your book has a cool cover, I’m probably going to buy it. I’m also proud to say that after reading, the spine is still in mint condition. Other than the cover, I was intrigued by the plot synopsis. Fionn, a black dragon, tries to destroy the world and manipulates the only magic using human, who conveniently doesn’t know she has any powers, to do so.  What results is a quest to find (i.e. steal) these magic artifacts that’ll give him the power he needs to do so. The girl, Meb, whom Fionn he calls “Scrap,” is taken along for the ride on an adventure that is full of Alice in Wonderland logic, where strange things happen and all of the characters around her treat it so matter-of-factly that it’s both bizarre and comical; there were ample chuckle worthy lines, often as a result of Meb’s fish out of water situation.  Fionn is a naughty little ruffian too, unafraid to do what he needs to get his way, even smack around the other dragons. You never feel he’s going to fail easily, and that’s fun.

But if he’s trying to destroy the world, how could we ever root for him? you ask. Oh, he has a reason, but I won’t spoil it.

The story and its characters develop well. Watching how Fionn and Meb begin to grow together is rewarding. It’s always good to see a character who can kick so much tail end up being vulnerable in other ways. There’s a point where Fionn almost has to admit he likes Meb, but fears ruining everything if he tells her what’s really going on. She doesn’t even know he’s a dragon, much less what he’s trying to do. Fionn switches in and out of a human form, and ordinarily this would have ruined the book for me, but it’s handled well here. We still get him as a dragon often and the scene when Meb finally sees him like this has great impact.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is original, the characters are memorable, and it’s just a load of fun, not to mention funny without feeling forced. It does end without ending (you’ll see what I mean) but that left a smile on my face because that means there will likely be more. Unfortunately there’s no sequel yet since this book is quite new–the paperback came out this year–but I’m keeping my eyes open for it if it ever happens.

Not bad for a sci-fi author.