Welcome to my stop of the blog tour for Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel, Highfire, which comes out on January 28th!
A huge thanks to Milly Reid for my shiny copy of Highfire and to the publishers! I’m thrilled to be part of this blog tour!
From the internationally bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series: Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel is a hilarious, high-octane adventure about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who’s been hiding out from the world – and potential torch-carrying mobs – in a Louisiana bayou . . . until his peaceful world’s turned upside down by a well-intentioned but wild Cajun tearaway and the crooked (and heavily armed) law officer who wants him dead.
Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him…
An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke’s unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy’s reputation. Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou – and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp…
For Squib Moreau, Regence Hooke and Vern, aka Lord Highfire of Highfire Eyrie, life is never going to be the same again…
I’ve always been a fan of Eoin Colfer’s books, since I grew up with Artemis Fowl, so I was over the moon when Netgalley accepted my request for an earc and then when I was asked to be part of my first blog tour.
Told by three POVs (Vern’s, Squib’s and Hooke’s), Highfire is a very peculiar book, full of adventure, action and funny moments. Like in his other books, Colfer’s writing style is brilliant, full of sarcasm, jokes and foreshadowing.
“And as is so often the case, things would’ve turned out a whole lot better if the kid could’ve kept it in his pants.”
Highfire’s characters are brilliantly written and relatable. Squib is a fifteen years old, who finds himself involved in something bigger than he could have ever thought, running from a crooked cop, with a dragon as boss. His thoughts and inner monologue are hilarious and his character is multi-dimensional and realistic. Through his POV the reader can see how deeply he loves his mother, how loyal and stubborn he is. And unfortunate. He means well, even though he finds himself into trouble everytime.
His thoughts are consistent with his age, still able to believe in extraordinary things like a talking dragon and to accept this turn of events, without thinking himself crazy. Even though he’s in a difficult situation (his Momma works hard, he works three jobs, his Daddies left them in trouble), Squib is brilliant, sassy, sarcastic and able to see the world for what it is and act accordingly, but without losing his hopes and dreams.
Reading through Vern’s eyes, the reader is able to experience his loneliness, his depression. He remembers, melancholically, an Era when dragon were feared and he mourns his family, killed by humans, whom he distrusts and hates. Vern hides from them and their phones recording and weapons and from what would happen if they discover his existence. Convinced to be the last dragon alive, he would love to live peacefully watching TV cable and talking only with Waxman, his mogwai and oldest friend. But then Squib changes his entire existence.
Vern is funny, sarcastic and thoughtful. Even though he has fantasy characteristics, such as flying, hording riches, fire, Colfer created a new dragon, talking about his physical traits like his powerful sense of smell, the oil he needs to use his fire, his fat, his cells, the proprieties of his fluids and excrements, his penis and the importance and message of the balls if they are in or out. It was unbelievably funny ( and sometimes gross) reading about the physical characteristics of both dragon’s and mogwai’s anatomies.
Even though he is a dragon, a mystical creature, Vern is absolutely relatable and “humanized” with this thoughts and fears, his prejudices, his depression and blues and loneliness. I’ve never felt so close to a dragon before.
The third POV is Hooke’s, who is crooked, arrogant and psycothic. Sadist. From his background the reader learns he had a difficult childhood, with his parents, above all his father, but it’s impossible to feel sympathy for him, because Hooke is unrepentant. He’s cruel, greedy, patronizing, calling everyone “son”, feeling superior. In his thoughts and inner monologue it’s clear the influence of his father and the church. His lust for Elodie and hatred for Squib are very clear. It was interesting seeing his thoughts, because he’s the perfect villain in the story, ready to do anything to get what he wants. He represents, incarnates the cruel human Vern is hiding from, with his violence and plans to exploit or kill.
The relationship between Vern and Squib is one of the thing I loved the most in Highfire. Rocky and suspicious at first, slowly they get to know each other, until they are at ease with one other. Vern is cinical and bitter, but funny and Squib is sassy and brilliant, even though many didn’t know that. I really liked reading their banter. They would do (and do) anything for each other. It was fascinating reading how much they and their relationship grow throughout the book, until they become friends. Vern and Squib are captivating main characters, very intruing.
The side characters were brilliantly written, too. I liked a lot the relationship between Vern and Waxman, full of insults, witty and sarcastic banter and good-natured bickering. I liked how Squib listened to Waxman’s advices and thoughts, how he was an important friend in his life. Elodie Moreau and Bodi Irwin were amazing characters, both of them sassy and protective of Squib first and then of Vern, too. I’d loved to read more about them.
There are a lot of reference to music and TV shows in Highfire, from Flashdance (Vern really liked that movie, above all a particular scene), Game of Thrones (Vern DIDN’T like how the dragons were portayed), Lord of the Rings, Batman and so on.
I loved reading Highfire. I laughed so hard, I was moved by many moments and involved in the action. It was impossible not to love these characters, cheering for Squib and Vern, getting angry at Hooke, laughing at Vern bantering with Waxman, Squib and Bodi.
I really enjoyed reading Highfire, a very peculiar book, a mix between a comedy, a thriller, a noir with unforgettable characters, full of funny, moving and deep moments, able to captivate the reader since the first page into an emotional and brilliant rollercoaster.
Trigger warnings: suicide, attempted suicide, death, gore, mutilation, rape jokes, depression, kidnapping, drugs, weapons.
#Highfire @JoFletcherBOoks @EoinColfer