The Dragon's Back

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
357 Pages
Reviewed on 05/06/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

E.S. Matthew is the author of The Dragon’s Back, the first novel in the fantasy series The War of Hope and Doom. Inspired by his years of teaching literature to high schoolers, he writes retro-fantasy to rehabilitate the classic genre for modern young readers and contemporary adults.

The stories he loved as a kid about fantasy worlds, awe-inspiring landscapes, foundling destinies, magical creatures, unlikely companions, and heroic journeys are ones he still enjoys sharing with his own children and students. But he realizes that these stories are often built with wrong-headed perspectives on many, many important things.

His love for this genre, and the exuberant imaginations that fuel it, are matched only by his passion for this generation of readers to find themselves within it. He was lucky to see himself in fantasy literature as a child, and he wants nothing less for his readers, his children, and his students.

But he also wants something for grown-up readers, like himself. He wants to re-capture some of the hope that fantasy once inspired in him. For adult readers in our modern, angry world, he seeks to offer such hope through refreshed landscapes—where nostalgia and progress can coexist, where our shared fright, tears, gasps, and joy can thrive.

When he’s not teaching or writing, he cooks elaborate meals inspired by his favorite movies and books or accompanies his daughter on guitar for improvised Broadway musical revues.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Nicholus Schroeder for Readers' Favorite

The Dragon's Back is a fantasy by E. S. Matthew. The tyrannical Witch Queen’s greed for power threatens to destroy all life, be it human or fae (non-humans, such as elves and the like), while her army slaughters all without hesitation. Cali, the last mage, seeks to end the tyranny and sets out on a quest to defeat the powerful witch. To overcome the forbidden magic wielded by Salma Morflava, however, Cali will need either a miracle or an equally frightening power. The legends of forgotten ages speak of an ancient and absolute power - the power of dragons! In her pursuit of the dragons of old, Cali will meet all sorts of interesting individuals. She will make new allies and more enemies on her travels. Should her quest be successful, then her victory will be assured, as even the heroes of old could not slay such a beast. If dragons are truly nothing but a myth, however, then all hope is lost…

The Dragon's Back had me ensnared in its claws during the prologue! The opening scene already had me convinced that this was going to be a wonderful book. The journey of Cali and her companions was a gripping tale that kept me interested till the last page. I loved the diversity of all the locations, people, and characters that the group discovered on their quest. E. S. Matthew struck a wonderful balance between introducing new locales and realizing when it was time to move on from that location or sub-quest. The side quests were well-written and complement the main story. They also gave me a better understanding of the characters and the world they inhabited. I don’t consider the side-quests to be filler content at all. Cali, our heroine of the masses, was an authentic and organic character. She was a strong female lead and had a likable personality. Most of the cast grew on me as I got to know them better. The book gave me the definitive fantasy experience, and readers that enjoy fantasy books with a grand journey are sure to love this one.