i knew that i was in for a treat when i picked up handbook for dragon slayers. when we’re introduced to the heroine we quickly find out that she has a deformity that stamps her an outcast making the people around her sign against the evil eye. mathilda is the princess of alder brook and a half orphan. when the story begins her protective mother is currently abroad. standing or walking for too long shows its effect on her lame foot and she needs to rest and massage it.
this is why she likes to read books and has high aspirations to go down in history as a famous writer if nothing else than to prove the people wrong about being a living curse roaming the earth. tilda is tired of her endless, repetitive duties and responsibilites that comes with being a princess and just wants to leave everything behind and start somewhere afresh.
as chance would have it her handmaiden judith and friend parz decide to slay a dragon. tilda plans to do something no has done before: write a handbook for dragon slayers. of course, things don’t exactly go as planned an she accidentally thwarts the wild hunt by freeing their silver and copper horses, befriending dragons, getting imprisoned by a bluebeard-like character who has his own hidden agenda … all the while saving alder brook from her greedy relatives.
what can i say? i liked tilda well enough, though i have to admit that i probably would not have picked this up if it weren’t for merrie haskell’s wonderful debut the princess curse which won me over with a wonderful heroine. tilda is a bit dull when compared to the princess curse‘s shining heroine reveka. but i have to admit that i am a sucker for dark fairy tales with hades-persephone touch and a dash of twelve dancing princesses. also, the villain in handbook for dragon slayers was not as multilayered as in princess curse and i like my characters grey not black and white.
as it is, the handbook for dragon slayers is a book that does its job by being adventurous and i should think appealing to both genders.