The Serpent’s Fury
The Serpent’s Fury
Dropbears and colocolos live in and near the mountains to our west. Something has them – and other monsters – migrating east. That’s a problem for the country that lies in the east: ours. Now something has the colocolos screaming loud enough to be heard a quarter mile away. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I ran in the other direction.
Immediately following the conclusion of the The Gryphon’s Lair, this third novel in the “A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying” series throws Princess Rowen into a new mystery-adventure. Rowen and her other trusted travel companions set out to deal with a cottage filled with dropbears and are nearly trampled by a stampede of panicked colocolos. The group soon witnesses a number of monsters who are not indigenous to the area, and they set out to find the root cause. Once again navigating the wilderness, Rowan and her friends are faced with new physical challenges but also new interpersonal ones. Rowan appears to have a flair for attracting trouble, but, with every setback, she develops new skills and knowledge about the world, herself, and her relationships with others.
Similar to her two previous works in this series, Armstrong focuses her narratives around friendship and wildlife stewardship. Armstrong has developed characters that value evidence-based decision making and an appreciation for science. Armstrong introduces readers to concepts like displaced populations and evolution within a fantasy narrative. Armstrong’s main characters continue to develop and become increasingly complex. Characters continue to be unrealistically mature for their age, and their conversations are a little too well-constructed to have a natural feel. Nevertheless, similar to the two preceding novels in this series, the story is entertaining, and the pace keeps the reader engaged.
Another fun read by Armstrong, The Serpent’s Fury can stand on its own. The central, ongoing theme of wildlife management and protection is relevant, and it continues to be framed within a fun story. Those who enjoyed the first two novels will enjoy this one as well.
Dr. Christina Neigel is an Associate Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC.