The mythsterhood loves exploring all forms of mythology: literature, art, games, even song. What brought us together was the love of a good myth. So in addition to our own dragon content, we wanted to pass on some modern myths to our listeners. In our Dragon Tails blog series, you’ll find reviews of stories collected from a variety of media.
This week, Anike will take you through Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower, available on Drabblecast. Let’s get into it.
This is a strange but wonderful story, mainly focusing on the plights of the Viking raiders in an alternative history where there’s magic and fantastic creatures. While I would have liked more on the dragons alluded to—the ones that, effectively, drive the plot—I won’t hold it against Wells Tower because the execution of them as a looming threat was seamlessly done.
The story is slow, especially in getting into the fantastic, and reads more like historical fiction save for the delicate precision in which Tower dropped hints of a world with magic. But the atmosphere throughout is one coloured vividly by the main character. He yearns to settle down, for serenity in just being. Tower nailed the character’s development.
The flow of the storyline almost reminds me of The Lord of the Rings, just much much shorter and without the massive (sometimes tedious) descriptions of the world. A reluctant hero journeys far from home and returns to live a peaceful life.
And what of the dragons? Well, there isn’t much to go on. Practically nothing, really. They’re there, somewhere in the background, terrorizing the villages. A rather stereotypical European fantasy rendition in that regard. Except they’ve invaded Norway this time, which is different to the usual. What I found fascinating, and I do hope Tower delves into it further, maybe in a book, is that the dragons and scourge were sent to the Vikings as a curse. Which suggests that, for one, dragons can be controlled by those with the power to send curses (a monk in this case), or that they’re somehow summoned or conjured.
What I did find strikingly tantalising was how Tower wrote a subtext into the story that draws parallels between the dragons and the Vikings for the Anglo-Saxons they raid. The raiders burn the towns and loot them for treasures, leaving death and destruction in their wake. I find the metaphor rather intuitive and that Tower used it is amazing. It gives added depth to the story.
I especially loved that Tower included the feared Blood Eagle, and his description of how it was performed does not disappoint. Not dragon-related, mind you, but as a fan of gore, it tickled me pink.
And, of course, the story is narrated by Graeme Dunlop. An Aussie voice giving a read is well worth the time any day.
Find out more about Wells Tower here:
Anike lives in the dead centre of South africa, an area called the Bo-Karoo, where she looks for spiders for fun. She is a writer, illustrator, mother, wife, and nerd-geek hybrid. Anike enjoys all forms of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Well, almost all forms. Not romance. And loves stories from her home country. She is also one of the Mythster voices who may or may not go off the rails about something or another.