Author(s): James A. OwenDownload
The Imaginarium Geographica”What is it?” John asked.The little man blinked and arched an eyebrow.”It is the world, my boy,” he said. “All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose.” An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds.An extraordinary journey of myth, magic, and mystery, Here, There Be Dragons introduces James A. Owen as a formidable new talent.
Some Reviews: 1096 in Goodreads.com
Can I give above a 5-star? Because if I could, I would. This book was fantastic! It has a twist at the end, and once you read it, you go “Omigosh, are you serious? How did I not pick up on that?!” and suddenly you love this book all the more. The idea of a sort of parallel universe has been done before, but Owen has done an excellent job with originality. Read it, you will love it, I’m positive!
James A. Owen took the words “What If”, and created a wonderful series and how! He said what if the some of the world’s greatest authors and playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Jules Vern, James Barrie, H.G. Wells, J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams came up with their stories and plays not purely from imagination, but from very real events. Well he did just that in what is one of the hands-down best fantasy series out there. From the first page i was utterly captivated, John Jack and Charles have been appointed as caretakers of “The Imaginarium Geographica” or in English the Imaginary Geography which is a map, with John being the “Caretaker Principa” or Principal Caretaker. The IG is no ordinary map, it as the name may imply is a geography of Imaginary worlds and the people or creatures that live in them, Never, Never Land, check, Captain Nemo yep, the Weird Sisters, you betcha. It’s all there……….and more, but only up to a certain point, this book is set in 1917, so anything after 1917 and this particular set of caretakers (I.E. the Harry Potter universe, and it’s author J.K. Rowling) it’s not there because it hasn’t been created yet. This is such an excellent series, the characters are fascinating and they are based on real men. Their full names are revealed at the end of the book and for fantasy lovers it’s quite a fun surprise. This book does not have a single bad point to it, nor does it have any failing points. In short this book is perfect. Additionally this book is further enhanced by Owen’s wonderful illustrations, the detail in them is nothing short of incredible, the man is seriously talented. Illustrations in books aimed at older/YA readers can come across as childish, but not here. If you’re a fantasy fan and even if you’re not, i urge you to read this. This book and the whole series are among some of the most sparkling gems of the entire fantasy genre.
Here, There Be Dragons focuses on a group of travelers that start off in London and take a voyage to a place called the Archipelago of Dreams. A ‘world’ of different islands, races and people. There are three from out world as we know it. John, Jack and Charles. They are told by a man named Bert (another primary character) that they are to be Caretakers of a map called the Imaginarium Geographica.
Also in this story is Aven, Bert’s daughter and ship captain, and Bug, a youth they meet at their first stop and who tags along as a stowaway and wants to be a knight. Together, these travelers set out to restore order to the Archipelago and to stop the Winter King (the evil tyrant of the story) from taking over and turning everything and everybody to shadow.
This story had me wavering. The story seems to copy a lot from other stories, books and characters (both fiction and non). Sometimes this bothered me, however, much of the reasoning for this is explained at the end and actually gave me a bit better an impression for the book. Plus James A Owen does mention and give credit to some of these after the story is over.
This turned out to be a fun adventure/fantasy story. Not a great novel but enjoyable nonetheless. I hope to be able to continue the series in the future.
Personally I think those that ranked this low just didn’t ‘get it’. Yes, he used a ton of source material, but he wove it together into such an original, rich tapestry of an entirely new world. I mean, the Arthur legend side-by-side with Captain Nemo? Who would have thought it?
The surprise ending is just the icing on the cake to his easy to read, well-written novel that flows across the imagination like the sea that surrounds the Archipelago of Dreams.
I have also read the sequel, which did NOT disappoint this classic fantasy and fairy tale enthusiast, and I anxiously await the third this fall.
A fun listen.
This is the first fantasy in English that I listened to without having a physical copy to help me through the listening, and I guess this was a trial to see how well it went. While the narration was indeed good and the story fun and entertaining, my issues to stay focused made themselves very clear. I’m sure I missed lots of stuff from zoning out, but at least I wasn’t bored and I enjoyed the historical and literal references and characters/people.
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