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Dreamwalker: The Ballad Of Sir Benfro Book One – J. D. Oswald Review

Dreamwalker: The Ballad Of Sir Benfro Book One – J. D. Oswald Review

Released: August 2014

With the likes of Game of Thrones and How To Train Your Dragon making mythical creatures universally cool, J. D. Oswald’s Dreamwalker: The Ballad Of Sir Benfro couldn’t have come at a better time.

Hunted and persecuted for over two millennia, the dragons of Glwad are a dying species. Where once they were giants among men, they are shadows of the proud and fierce creatures of legend. No dragon kitlings have been born in a thousand years until Benfro, the kitling of a powerful mage called Morgwm the Green.

The story switches between Benfro’s perspective and that of Errol, a young boy living in the Twin Kingdoms. Benfro and Errol come into the world on the same day but have lived very different lives ever since. As the human boy and the dragon boy grow up amidst secrets put in motion to protect them, an ancient order threatens to shatter their safety and spark a war amongst dragons and men.

From the outset, Dreamwalker: The Ballad of Sir Benfro is a magical tale. In many ways the story feels like a children’s book, one of mythical lands, fantastical creatures and the type of Tolkien or C.S. Lewis adventures that ignite the imagination of fantasy-lovers. There is, however, a very adult threat in the form of the Warrior Priests of the High Ffrydd. Themes of religion and death swirl with the mythological aspects, giving the story a growing sense of darkness as it leads to the end.

There’s an art to finding the right balance when switching characters’ perspectives, but J. D. Oswald has handled it perfectly, never resting too long or too little with any one character. As well as seeing the story through Erroll and Benfro’s eyes, we also follow Inquisitor Melyn, one of the main villains of the tale. Like all great baddies, Melyn actually believes his actions are for the greater good and this makes his methods of asserting his power even more terrifying.

As the antidote to the villains of the tale, Erroll and Benfro are both very likeable characters, with intriguing stories and voices that make you want to keep reading. Their stories run parallel to each other and though their paths don’t cross in this book, I hope they will in book two.

As the novel nears the end and the pace quickens, there’s a real sense of urgency, and just like the characters in the book have, I wish I had the ability to magic things from one place to another, to reach into J. D. Oswald’s mind and pull out more pages.

The Rose Cord, the second book in Oswald’s trilogy, will be released November this year and I for one can’t wait to see where the next chapter of Benfro and Errol’s adventure takes them.


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