A Review of Ochre Dragon by V. E. Patton
A small preamble to this review. I put the call out for books to review on the Etherea Magazine Twitter account. Authors could list their books in the comments and one would be chosen at random to be reviewed.
It was only after the call out was run and done that it occurred to me – what if the book chosen at random was terrible? Do I still do a review? It was a sobering thought.
Thankfully, Ochre Dragon by V. E. Patton is not terrible. It wasn’t even average. In fact, I really enjoyed it!
Ochre Dragon follows three women, Ali, Merindah, and Dee. The characters each inhabit different worlds, with each world differing significantly from one another
Some of the worlds are dictated by science (think our own, but a post-apocalyptic version), whilst others are pure fantasy. I was concerned at the start as to how Patton would handle multiple “narrative laws”, but I needn’t have been. Patton kept the rules for each world consistent, so the science/magic crossovers felt logical and I didn’t notice the genre shifts. I did find that, even though there are multiple planets and planes of existence visited in this book, I was able to keep track fairly easily.
Patton managed to craft each world into a living, breathing planet. Little touches like the “WATCH OUT FOR YOUR NEIGHBOUR” signs scattered around Earth by the tyrannical Federation add so much. Initially I was in two minds as to whether it was typical soulless corporate nonsense (We Appreciate Every Employee, etc.), or something more sinister. Obviously, it is more a “1984” situation.
Ali, Merindah, and Dee were entertaining and realistic. My favourite by a country mile was Ali, who felt the most fleshed out to me. Her interactions with Jiemba (her dragon – who is hilarious by the way) were fun, and kept the pages turning (digitally), even past the hour when bed was calling.
I also loved the little Australian touches in the book, with billabongs, dingoes (well, only mentioned to be fair), and a really great “Pre-Crack” first nations proverb.
I will say this, I found the prologue of the story required a touch of effort to get through. The language is rather grand (Shakespearean springs to mind – but that doesn’t quite fit as a descriptor), and for me the dialogue felt like a series of proclamations. But the story really starts to flow once we get into the first chapter. There is a significant shift in tone, and the writing becomes far more casual and easy to read.
In summation, I enjoyed the book. Ochre Dragon is a ripping read, and I will be getting the second in the series.