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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Kyra Green is a pest exterminator – well, not really. She is so soft-hearted that many of the weird and wonderful magical creatures that she captures end up in her apartment as friends. In Dragons Don’t Eat Meat (Valkyrie Bestiary Book 1), author Kim McDougall takes us on a way-out journey to the future, to an earth that was devastated by the Flood Wars in the early 21st century. The flood-wars re-awakened the natural magic of planet earth and the earth is now inhabited by all nature of magical and dangerous creatures. Humanity has been sidelined to small pockets where they are able to build defenses against the dangerous beings that inhabit the in-between lands. Kyra comes from a deeply magical lineage and possesses the power of the Valkyrie in her sword but she is a kind-hearted, loving woman who would never deliberately set out to harm another living creature, including human beings. When Kyra stumbles across a group of enslaved dragons, she is determined to free the poor magnificent beasts from the chains of bondage that are holding them but little does she realize just what powers and dangers her act of kindness may unleash.
Dragons Don’t Eat Meat is truly a magical romp through a fantastical world that is the earth of the future, perhaps. Author Kim McDougall has done an extraordinary job, reminiscent for me of Rowling, at bringing these marvelous creatures to life and making the reader believe in them. Her style is, at times, almost whimsical and it makes for a read that is interspersed with chuckles at her humor and her sarcasm. Despite Kyra’s peaceable nature, she is well aware of the immense power she holds within herself and is not afraid to use it, especially when one of her beloved creatures is threatened. When required, Kyra is the perfect kick-ass female lead character. I particularly loved the deep and meaningful relationships she developed with her creatures, especially the little blue dragon, which the author portrayed perfectly.
I also enjoyed the small asides where Kyra was posting her adventures on the “internet” of the day and the comments after each post. These just served to give the whole narrative the feel of authenticity that can be missing when writing within the fantasy genre. My favorite quote from the book was when Kyra said, “the earth has taken control back from humanity,” (paraphrased). Perhaps this is what is actually needed. This is clearly the first book of a planned series by this author and I, for one, am excited about the possibility. I want to know where the “will they/won’t they” nature of the relationship between Kyra and her gargoyle guardian will head. I am invested in these characters and that is the greatest praise I can give any author. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and can highly recommend it.