CHASING EMBERS It’s not easy being Red
released OUt NOW! 420 pages | paperback/ebook Author James bennett Publisher Orbit
It’s quite unusual for a novel to have a dragon as a hero. Luckily for “Red Ben” Garston, he’s able to shift into the shape of a human, making it rather easier to romance “damsels”, which is helpful as he’s the last of his kind – the last awake, that is. James Bennett has created a world in which under a medieval agreement, almost all the supernatural creatures on Earth have been put into a long sleep, leaving only one of each awake. These “remnants” are to be left in peace. So when someone does wake another dragon, Ben needs to work out who, and why, before his enemies decide to be done with him once and for all.
The plot of Chasing Embers feels thin, with a lot of chasing and fighting across three continents, from New York to London, Germany to Egypt, but not masses of complexity. Likewise some of the side characters feel undeveloped and stereotypical. However, Bennett has done an extremely good job of creating some detailed and believable characters, from Ben himself – who, even in human form, can’t escape thinking like a dragon – to Rose, who refuses to play the damsel, to Khadra, the Somali child who takes desperate steps in a tough situation. They all deserve a stronger plot. Miriam McDonald
Bennett says the book took about a year and a half to write, with another six months of editing and rewriting.