CHAS­ING EMBERS It’s not easy be­ing Red

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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