A Dragon and Her Girl, ed. by Joe Monson & Jaleta Clegg

A Dragon and Her Girl

(An LTUE Benefit Anthology)

edited by 

Joe Monson and Jaleta Clegg

(Hemelein Publications with LTUE Press, Feb. 2020, 291 pp, pb)

“A Game of Stakes” by Max Florschutz

“Dragon Soap” by M. K. Hutchins (reprint, not reviewed)

“Li Na and the Dragon” by Scott R. Parkin (reprint, not reviewed)

“High Noon at the Oasis” by Jaleta Clegg (reprint, not reviewed)

“The Wild Ride” by Christopher Baxter

“Rising Star” by Michaelene Pendleton (reprint, not reviewed)

“The Diamond-Spitting Knight” by S. E. Page

“Amélie’s Guardian” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt (reprint, not reviewed)

“Aer’Vicus” by Jodi L. Milner

“Loyalties” by Josh Brown (reprint, not reviewed)

“Ash and Blood” by Hannah Marie

“Therapy for a Dragon” by Sam Knight

“Taking Wing” by Julia H. West (reprint, not reviewed)

“Lullaby” by John D. Payne (reprint, not reviewed)

“Rain Like Diamonds” by Wendy Nikel (reprint, not reviewed)

“Here by Choice” by Gerri Leen (reprint, not reviewed)

“Dragon’s Hand” by David Von Allmen (reprint, not reviewed)

“Take out the Trash” by Melva L. Gifford (reprint, not reviewed)

“Burying Treasure” by Alex Shvartsman (reprint, not reviewed)

“Dragon in Distress” by Mercedes Lackey and Elisabeth Waters (reprint, not reviewed)

Reviewed by Rick Cartwright

A Dragon and Her Girl does, in the words of the foreword, “feature (stories about) strong women and girls doing hard things, going on difficult adventures, making tough decisions, and interacting with dragons in various ways.” Stories about dragons have been around about as long as there have been storytellers. The collection contains reprints from a variety of venues such as magazines like Fantasy and Science Fiction, and The Leading Edge, along with earlier anthologies. The authors represent both up and comers and well-established names such as Mercedes Lackey, Elisabeth Waters, and Alex Shvartsman.

The new stories strike a variety of chords. Some are funny. Some tell stories that turn dragon tropes inside out. A couple are very dark. All in all a collection that any lover of dragon tales would want to read.

A Game of Stakes” by Max Florschutz answers the question, “What do dragons do when they no longer steal fair maidens?” Become matchmakers of course. However, Dostoy the Mighty certainly has his paws full with finding the match for the warrior princess Victoria. A fun read.

“The Wild Ride” by Christopher Baxter imagines a world of dragon rodeo circuits where a husband and wife compete for prize money. The story was interesting in some ways, but the rodeo analogy felt a little forced.

In “The Diamond-Spitting Knight” by S. E. Page the author twists the trope of the princess being rescued by dragons. It’s a pleasantly silly tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

“Aer’Vicus” by Jodi L. Milner is the story of the dragon guardian of Chalsis and the lengths she will go to protect her city and its peoples.

When does grief and the quest for revenge turn you into the very thing upon which you seek to wreck your vengeance? “Ash and Blood” by Hannah MarieIs addresses that question with the story of Eva and her mission to avenge the death of her family and village by killing the dragon that flamed it into ash. The ending is bittersweet at best.

“Therapy for a Dragon” by Sam Knight is a very short piece set as a confrontation between an interrogator and a prisoner who seeks to find the words to conjure a dragon.

“Taking Wing” by Julia H. West is a heartwarming tale about a beggar girl with withered limbs whose imaginary adventures with the stone dragon perched on top of the building she begs in front of become real through magic.