Book Review: Here There Be Dragons

Book Review: Here There Be DragonsHere There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
Series: The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on 2006
Pages: 326
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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.


Here There Be Dragons is one of those books I should have not let sit on my bookshelf for so long. What surprised me most about the book is the lack of real age range group I could peg it for. I definitely could see some of my 4th and 5th graders enjoying it, but also adults. It doesn’t have a younger protagonist, all of them are adults, but the violence is tame and the adventure robust. I loved the characters and the world. The main character is supposed to step up to his destiny, but he does not believe he can until he is given a bit of a push by his old mentor.

I love the quest and the different lands they travel to, the various storybook characters that appear such as Captain Nemo. There’s so much heretherebedragonsdepth and intrigue built into the book that I kept diving back into it. And beyond it all it the fact that it is one gorgeous book. The illustrations that pop throughout the book really paint a beautiful picture and are done in pencil or ink. The detailing at the beginning of each chapter makes you feel like you are reading a novel of great purpose.

To go off a bit, I had the pleasure of meeting James A. Owen and his story brought me to tears. He’s not only an author but an illustrator and a terrible accident lead him to believe he could never draw again, but he overcame it and now publishes these wonderful and gorgeous books. I love the dragon he drew for me on the inside of my signed book.


A must read for lovers of fantasy, dragons and adventure.


3 responses to “Book Review: Here There Be Dragons

  1. Absolutely love this series – so powerful all the way through. I think this one is definitely for older students, just because there is so much going on behind the scenes that a literary background makes a huge difference. Loved the twist at the end and hate that later editions blow it right from the flaps! Why do publishers do that?

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