Ben is just your typical teenager – loud, obnoxious and always getting himself into hot water. Coming from a troubled household, it’s no wonder Ben’s been on the wrong side of the tracks lately. Ben thinks that his troubles can’t possibly get any worse. How wrong he is…
Mysteriously teleported to the world of Draconica, the homeland of the Dragons, Ben gets caught up in a invasion by the Baalarian Empire – who are hell-bent on capturing him. But what did Ben ever do to upset them?
With no idea how he got here – and with intentions only on getting home, Ben embarks on a fantastical journey. Joining forces with the Dragonkin sisters Daniar and Erowin, Ben must help them take down the Empire before their dark grasp tightens across the land.
Little does Ben realise that his role in this battle is far more vital than he realises – and that his coming here was no accident. So he embarks on a journey that will change his life forever.
My ebook copy of the book had 436 pages in it, so it’s a pretty hefty book and is by no means tiny. Despite the number of pages, the pace was fast and the next thing I knew, I was halfway through it!
I must admit: When I first learned that Dan was an otaku (avid anime fan) and had written a novel based on his love of all things anime/manga and fantasy, I immediately put it in my to-be-read pile. And I’m happy to say that in terms of having an anime tone, it definitely delivered. I especially loved the chocobo references and Ben’s pop culture references in a fantasy world. The only bad thing with putting in so many pop culture references, to me, is that the work can be dated, but luckily Dan Wright put in things that will probably be known and remembered and still used for years to come (like YouTube). There was plenty of humor intertwined with side quests and the main plot that was done as well as some of the more memorable adventure/questing anime like InuYasha.
Ben, the main character, is thrust from the real world to the fantasy world of Draconica where he teams up with two princesses that have dragon-like powers. The only major flaw I saw was that the characters from Draconica were so much more bigger and interesting characters, they often stole the spotlight from Ben and made him feel like a secondary character rather than the main character. There’s even a rather funny bonus comic included that touches upon this. Despite this, Ben really grows by leaps and bounds during his time in Draconica and becomes a better person because of it.
It’s not uncommon for Japanese novels to be accompanied with illustrations, especially those that are based on anime/manga or have the potential to be turned into anime/manga. And following in the footsteps of such novels like Haruhi Suzumiya, Trapped in Draconica has beautiful illustrations to accompany the text by artist Alexis M. Centeno.
With plenty of fun antics abound and filled to the brim with interesting characters, otakus everywhere should enjoy this spirited novel set on a fantasy land. It had me turning the pages to see what sort of fun-filled adventure would happen next!
I think teen boys would also enjoy this book because the tone and language is very much like a teen boy. And if that teen boy so happens to be into geek-culture (there’s a rather fun Star Wars moment, too) then he’ll definitely enjoy this novel.
Although I did enjoy the novel, I did notice a few typos and errors littered throughout the text here and there. They shouldn’t ruin the experience and I know that the errors certainly didn’t ruin mine. The language can, at times, seem very simple and just a bit rushed just to move on to the next adventure. I think with a little tightening, this novel could go from good to great.