Highfire

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Member Reviews

Highfire is the first adult fantasy book by Eoin Colfer, and from the outset it defies the norms of the genre, giving us dragonlore like nothing I have ever encountered before.  Vern (short for wyvern) is the last dragon, and as the last of his kind he is living it up....in hiding, in the Louisiana bayou, watching Flashdance yet again while sipping on his favourite tipple, vodka. His existence comes as something of a surprise to Everett "Sqiub" Moreau, a canny Cajun swamp rat who is keen to find ways to make money to help out his single mother. Sometimes his entrepreneurial schemes are a little outside the law and this has brought him to the attention of psychopathic local constable Regence Hook. Hook is the definition of a bad guy, so it should come as no surprise to Squib when he witnesses him killing a local smuggler. and in fact the biggest surprise of the night is definitely the dragon that cant seem to decide if he wants to rescue him or barbeque him.
There is a lot of fun and humour in this book, the banter between Vern and Squib is a highlight, as are Vern's internal monologues. Hook is almost too much of a caricature of a villain, in most books it would not work, but it fits with the overall tone of this one. The pacing is definitely a little slower in the beginning as there are several moving parts that must be put into place , but it does gather steam as it goes along and the conclusion is a great blend of action and comedy. 
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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After reading the first chapter or two of Highfire i was unsure if this one was for me. I'm a big fan of EOin Colfer, so i checked a few reviews to see what others had initially thought. Turns out many said the same thing, but also urged that the reader stuck with it, as things get good. And my god did things get good.

Highfire is a marvellous book. Its short and snappy and sweet. A tight plot and setting, with a few (incredible) characters that are a genuine joy to read. I loved Vern, truly, and his blossoming relationship with Squib was brilliant. The book was funny, heartwarming, amusing and exciting.

So pick it up, get stuck in, and enjoy one hell of a read.
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It is with disappointment that I found the first half of this book to be hard work and could easily have put it down and walked away from it. Characterisation is good, but not strong. Written in the third-person with multiple points of view it should allow for a rich development, however, the difficulty is that none of the characters are particularly memorable or interesting. There is some historical and contextual information revealed as the story progresses, which allows the reader to develop a better understanding of their attitudes, but they are all quite negative. Perhaps the humour is lost on this reader, as apart from the odd witty line there is little to laugh about. Environment and context are explored in some detail, this seems quite dour and certainly in keeping with the dialogue.

The early part of the book has a very slow pace, it spends time building up the suspense with small episodes where the central characters are placed at risk only to have this resolved. It is clear that there is to be a denouement and the likely candidates are flagged from the start; it is unfortunate that the plot failed to grip, as there is a tendency to use the position in the book as an indicator of when this might be.

Once the action begins, it does hold the attention and there are twists and changes in location that keep the readers’ interest; similarly, the character dynamic changes. There is fighting, injury and death with the loss of characters both central and peripheral to the plot. The story has bad language, but it is not gratuitous and sex is only hinted at. If it weren’t for the maturity of most of the central characters and the slow start, this would be more of a young adult story.

As the story reaches its resolution it is clear that there has been growth and change. The author resolves plot lines to allow for a positive ending, but one where there is an opening for future stories.

3.5 Stars
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Squib is just trying to be a supportive son to his hard-working mother Elodie, but life keeps throwing the poor young man curve balls. So, what is a young man to do but bend the occasional rule. Unfortunately for him this has attracted the attention of one Constable Hooke - who also seems to have taken a shine to Elodie, and that is where the problems begin. Squib knows Constable Hooke is crooked, so decides to follow him one evening, which leads him into the patch of one reclusive dragon who just wants to have an easy life, namely, Highfire - or Vern to his friends (well, friend). I loved Squib as a character, and even though he is a bit of a crook, it is only for all the right reasons. He is brilliantly witty, and I was rooting for him from the start.

Our dragon is not very conventional. Vern's love of Absolut Vodka and Flashdance give a quick indication that we may be dealing with a different character to those portrayed in Game of Thrones (Vern was NOT a fan). Vern's humour is brilliant throughout, and while he starts off as a bit of a cranky so and so I couldn't help but love him.  As the story continues and the truth of his character is laid out it quickly becomes clear why he has decided to hide away.

Overall this is a great fantasy story, filled with humour that had me laughing (almost) throughout. There are action sequences galore, as there should be in this type of book. The setting of modern-day Southern USA was a great idea, and I think the location added greatly to the story.

It did a take a little while for me to get into it, but not long. After I had gotten over the initial hiccup, I couldn't put it down, and it is certainly a worthwhile read. If I was to somehow attain a dragon friend, I would want him to be like Vern, I may have to lay off the vodka around him though. I can only hope this isn’t a one off story, I would love to read more adventures starring Squib and Vern.

Highly recommend.
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This was a pretty funny story, some of which worked for me and some of which didn't. It tells the story of Vern, last of the dragons, hiding out in the Louisiana swamps, drinking vodka and maintaining a keto diet. 

The Positives: I really liked the relationship between Squib, Vern and Waxman. The interplay between these characters was endearing and funny and lent some normality to what was a very strange tale. I thought that the plot was pretty compelling and that Regence made a fantastically over the top villain, which was lots of fun.

The Negatives: I felt like the tone of this was a little muddled. Colfer is known for his Artemis Fowl books, and the first part of this narrative seemed like it had been written in the same vein, with expletives thrown in gratuitously to make the content 'adult'. Until the plot really got going, I wasn't really feeling this book at all because it just felt like it was trying too hard to be edgy and quirky, which didn't quite hit the mark for me.

Overall, I felt that this was a book of two halves - I definitely preferred the second half of the novel when the plot took over.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Billed as his first adult fantasy, this is only the second of Colfer's titles I have read. A tale of Vern, a depressed and possibly last of kind dragon hiding from the world in his swamp, and of Squib, a well-meaning teen trying to make his way (mostly) within the law. Paths cross, adventures happen! 

I found this a well-paced yarn with good characters, progression and development. The end phase perhaps a little too frenetic but that suits the style and nature of the tale. Development in more areas would have improved the whole; we know Squib cares for his mother's wellbeing, but about whom we learn next to nothing except via references to males and their relationships with her. But taken for it is, an entertaining adventure.
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Highfire is the first adult fantasy book by Eoin Colfer. It follows the characters of Vern (short for "Wyvern"), Constable Regence Hooke and fifteen-year-old Squid Moreau, as they battle through drugs, murder and keeping dragon secrets.

PROS:
- new dragon lore. I love the idea! Vern is a really interesting and unique character. The lore that works alongside his presence, the history and the biology of such a character, is different from how dragons are usually portrayed in fiction.
- pacing. The events happen over a drawn-out period and then in really quite succession, but the story doesn't feel badly paced. The slower parts of the timeline build the tension and the lore whilst the fast pace of the ending ties up the ends of the plot in a decent way.
- characters. all three main characters, plus the prominent side characters, are really interesting to read. They are all distinct with different approaches and opinions and ideas. The relationships between these characters are really well written, well developed. I really liked the relationship between Squib and his mother, Elodie, and with Vern. 

CONS:
- dicks. so many dicks. maybe it's because the characters are all male, maybe its because that is what Colfer believes adult fantasy books need to have, but I have never read so many things about balls and dicks and pissing.
- everything happens at the end. Although, like I said, the pacing is pretty good and doesn't ever feel slow or unnecessary. However because of this so much happens in the end and after a while, it started to feel super overwhelming.
- Hooke. You're not really supposed to like him, but the characterisation just seems to be 'psychopath' and Hooke knows he is. He questions his crappy behaviour because he's aware its crappy, but decides he doesn't care. It means that he's not just a bad person but knows he is. He is incredibly violent and cruel, which is hard to read through his point of view, and just a lot rape-y. He is the antagonist, which I appreciate, but it would have been nice for him to be something more than evil for the sake of evil.

OVERALL:
I did enjoy the book. It's a quick read, well written and humorous like all Eoin Colfer books. I enjoyed reading about all but one (mentioned above) character and their relationships were well thought out. I kind of want to read a sequel about what happens to Squib as a dragon's assistant after these dramatic events. However, if you are someone who doesn't like gore or violent or crude chat, this book may be uncomfortable or a slog to get through. Lots of dicks, lots of pissing, lots of violent deaths.
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Ah this was brilliant, I had such a giggle going the whole way through this. You can tell Eoin had some craic writing it, I’ve witnessed this mans humour in real life and he’s a funny so and so for sure and that humour is shining through in his book. There’s even a Princess Bride reference thrown in “Inconceivable”!!
Squib the kid is just trying to make his way through life without getting into too much trouble but trouble always seems to find him and you can’t get much more trouble than a dirty cop and a talking dragon.. I mean that pretty much says it all. The cop has eyes on Squibs Momma and seems to like getting his own way but he’s a bad bad man and doesn’t seem to have any feelings about anyone but himself. Vern The Dragon just wants to be left alone with his cable and his vodka, that’s not asking for much now really but somehow these 3 characters collide and take us on a journey you never could have predicted!
Totally recommended reading it will give you a laugh, it’s the dragon tale I never knew I needed.
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Once upon a time in a Louisiana swamp there lived a depressed dragon named Vern, formerly Lord Wyvern Highfire. Vern has Netflix, a La-Z-Boy armchair and a regular supply of Absolut vodka but he is sad and lonely, and kind of angry too, spending his days remembering how humans betrayed and massacred his own kind, so much so that Vern believes he is probably the only dragon left in the whole world. So when Vern first encounters Squib, a delinquent teenage boy (though he is trying to be good for the sake of his long suffering momma) Vern's first instinct is to fry the kid before he tells all and sundry about him, spoiling the sweet set up Vern has managed to put together in the bayou.  But there is something about the boy and he and the dragon come to a 'business' agreement that should save Squib from being burned to a crisp by dragon fire and keep Vern supplied with vodka.  Things would be hunky-dory if it weren't for Hooker. The town Constable is a nasty piece of work, the dirtiest of dirty cops, and has it in for Squib, though he would like very much to get closer to the boy's mother.  And Hooker has ambitions way above his Constable status that threaten the blossoming friendship between boy and beast. 

This is most definitely a comedy, laugh out loud at times, but the story also has a lot of heart and there are some quite touching moments.  Though it is billed as an adult fantasy, in my opinion it is only the bad language, violence and occasional sexual references that really stop this being a young adult book.  But even adults need to read a little silly nonsense sometimes and I for one had a ball reading it.
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The last dragon in the world hiding out in a swamp being a bachelor. This book had a high possibility to be one of my favourite books of last year however, I was left feeling like something was missing. Although enjoyable, this book just didn't hit the right marks for me.
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**I was provided an electronic ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for honest review.**

Eoin Colfer's newest fantasy novel, Highfire, is fast-paced, guns-a-blazing, not-for-kids fun. Wyvern, Lord Highfire, is one of the last remaining dragons in the world. Possibly the last. He's all set with his cable TV and Flashdance on his abandoned island in the bayou of New Orleans. Enter one 15-year-old human, Everett "Squib" Moreau. Squib is often on the wrong side of the law, and crooked Constable Regence Hooke intends on solving his Squib problem permanently. Vern and Squib team up in a sequence of events that is part comedy, part action, and full of tastefully scattered obscenities.

Colfer writes Highfire in a way that comes across as generally conversational and down-home. People talk the way people talk, and that's the way Colfer writes them. Plus gratuitous physical humor, often by way of dragon junk.

The whole work is rather reminiscent of classic cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd or Road Runner and Wile E Coyote. It's fast paced, with a sometimes dark, sometimes slapstick, sometimes on-the-nose humor about it that makes it just generally fun antics.Colfer managed to strike funny without being overly cheesy, which made this read very enjoyable.

This book does have blood, guts, and gore as well as foul language, mentions of suicidal ideation and mental health struggles, sexual innuendo, issues of moral turpitude, and corruption of authority. This book is firmly in the adult category, and readers should be aware of that going in.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have read this in advance, and to help participate in the Twitter tour as well. I look forward to any future works by Colfer.
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Squib Moreau is a bit of a handful, giving no small amount of grief to his hard-working mother, Elodie. When Squib’s “stepfather” deserted them, he did so leaving debts in his wake for responsible Elodie to clean up. Now Squib has an opportunity to get his act together and earn a bit of money. But Squib, being Squib, cannot keep his nose out of the type of business any sensible body should steer well clear of. His curiosity is about to get him into a whole pile of other worldly trouble.
I’m always interested when a young adult author whose work I have really enjoyed makes the transition to writing for adults. The author has a great deal of responsibility in helping the reader take onboard the shift in tone and focus.
I have to admit, when I began reading Highfire I felt as if Eoin Colfer was trying too hard to be grown up. The book reads very much like Dukes of Hazzard with an overly large helping of profanities. Highfire is definitely not a children’s book.
Except for the recognisable underpinning of Colfer’s worldbuilding and plot development, I was left a bit in shock and nearly gave up reading. Artemis Fowl it is not.
Maybe that is no bad thing. As I carried on reading I got into the rhythm of the thing and began to enjoy the florid characters who, although classic southern states bayou caricatures, sat well into the flamboyant plot.
It is the development of engaging characters and twisty turning adrenaline-filled plots that Colfer does best. Although the characters currently lack the depth of those in Artemis Fowl, this is the first in what I imagine will be a new series and there is time for them to develop.
Where I think the book could really take off is as an audiobook, given a highly skilled performer who can really let rip and immerse the listener into Highfire’s colourful world. As yet there is no audio extract available but Johnny Heller, billed as the book’s narrator, seems to be a good choice, as his voice potentially has the right timbre and pace to lend itself well to vocally fleshing out the characters and creating a very entertaining listening experience.
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It's interesting, I do feel that if you took out just a few elements of this book (swearing, drugs, violence and...lust?) the actual premise could read as a middle-grade novel. I mean, a young boy who is in a bit of trouble ends up running errands for the last dragon on the planet while trying to keep him a secret? I can see the adorable cartoon cover now. 

In some ways I think that's why this book works, it feels like an aged-up version of a story I might have read as a younger reader - and why shouldn't we still have stories like that just because we're older now? Of course, the villains are more overtly villainous and rather than simply cackling and twirling fabulous moustaches their crimes are more varied (and their personalities more horrifying) and we're all a bit more aware of how awful the world is in general, but also I want grumpy dragons sorting delinquent boys out and being huffy the entire time, I shouldn't have to lose that just because I'm 24 now and pay taxes. 

I wasn't sure if I would like Squib when I started reading this book, I tend to not get on with young male protagonists, and even less so when they're depicted as 'starting to dip their toes into a life of crime'. Too often they just reflect the worst qualities of young men and never get called out on it, I have to experience enough terrible youths in daily life I don't want to read about them and be expected to root for them in my fantasy books as well. Thankfully, Squib really grew on me as the book went on, I think it was the fact that as a reader you can get a good appreciation for his motivations and his circumstances, it doesn't excuse his behaviour under the 'it's ok because he loves his mum' trope, but it also acknowledges the effect that circumstances and lack of privilege play in situations such as Squib's.

This is one of those books where, at at least one point, I hated every single character - with the possible exception of Squib's Mum. I actually think that a book that can pull off so many unlikeable characters and still have me read to the end is quite impressive and indicative of the development of each character throughout the book. I would have perhaps liked a few more light moments for the 'good' characters but maybe that's my optimism shining through. 

One thing that I personally missed was some worldbuilding. You get some inklings as to Vern's life and the past presence of  dragons, but I didn't really feel like I had much of a picture - indeed this may have been intentional, to skim over those elements as they aren't essential to the story, but I really wanted them, probably because I'm desperate to believe that there were dragons (and that I can meet one). Just a little more worldbuilding would have made this book better for me. 

Overall this is a quick fun read that I think will appeal to readers who do enjoy darker humorous stories, it isn't 100% my cup of tea and I think a few changes in the plot and characters could have helped with the flow of the story - but if the concept interests you, I'd say go for it!

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, all opinions are my own. 

Highfire publishes January 28th!
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After reading The Fowl Twins before Christmas, Sophie picked up Highfire by Eoin Colfer – the author behind the multi-million selling series, Artemis Fowl. Although he has put out adult novels before, Highfire is Colfer’s first adult fantasy book and a children’s book this most definitely is not.

Vern is the last dragon. He is hiding out in a swamp in Louisana, whiling away his days on vodka, binge-watching streamed movies and TV series, and avoiding humankind who killed his brethren centuries ago. When his familiar, Waxman, has to take a leave of absence, Vern must put aside his distrust of humans and take on a new familiar – a local teenager called Squib.

Unfortunately, Squib has drawn the unwanted attention of a psychotic local law enforcer, Constable Hooke, having witnessed Hooke committing a murder on the orders of a local drug lord. Hooke has designs on taking over the drug lord’s empire and soon Vern, Squib, and Hooke are locked into an imaginative, twisting plot that will not end well for some or all of these characters.

This is a good book but, for Sophie, it fell short of being great. Vern is curmudgeonly but not endearingly so (even if he does love Flashdance). Squib is delinquent but good-hearted though hardly original. Hooke is just a plain vicious sociopath who can gut and carve people up without the faintest glimmer of remorse.

The story takes time to set the scene and the characters before it really gets going and then it is a rollercoaster ride to the finish. Throughout there are blood and guts, significant quantities of profanity and vices, and lots of wit and humor. As creative as the plot is, it just lacks the usual Eoin Colfer charm. If the premise intrigues you then Sophie recommends giving the book a read. She just doubts she will read it again.
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Having not previously read one of Eoin Colfers books before I was unprepared for his writing style which, to put it lightly, is rather on the quirky side. There were a few moments when I had first started reading that I wondered whether this book was for me, but I powered through and boy am I glad I did.

Squib Moreau really does not have the best of luck. Out on the river one night he sees Constable Hooke, the literal worst person in the world and of course officer of his town, commit a gruesome and cold blooded murder. The constable see's someone scurrying through the bushes and, determined to leave no witnesses, lobs a grenade onto the island poor unsuspecting Squib is hiding on. Only Squibs not alone, Hooke can't seem to understand why the Grenade comes flying back towards his boat, and it takes Squib a while to realise why his being held upside-down by something that resembles a giant alligator. Squib manages to escape without being roasted alive, but neither him nor Vern, the last living Dragon (he thinks) are aware how their fates are now tied together... hopefully for the better.

If there's one thing Colfer knows how to write its intriguing characters. Squib is a smarter than he looks, and acts most of the time, boy simply trying to make a living and protect his lovely momma from the clutches of Constable Hooke. If that means doing shopping for a grumpy Dragon with a tendency to roast before question then that's what it takes. He has an innocent and almost naeve  charm about him that has you rooting for a happy ending, or as happy as he can get. Vern is a flash dance loving, beer drinking and oil guzzling Dragon, the last of his kind if you believe him. He credits his long life to staying in the shadows and remaining unknown to humans, so when one literally appears in his yard his tendency leans towards kill now, ask questions never. It's only when he finds out that Squib may come in useful he decides not to roast the poor boy, and I loved seeing their hesitant and sometimes testing friendship emerge through the book. Constable Hooke, I don't think there is a word for how much I disliked that man. I find it rare in books nowadays to have a character that I simply hate. Baddies normally have some childhood trauma, or redeem themselves towards the end of the book but Hooke creeped me the hell out. I rushed through his chapters, not wanting to delve too much into his mindscape and there were parts of the book that made the hairs on my arm stand on end. 

There was no romance in this book at all, unless you count the uber creepy Hooke's attempts to woo Squibs mum ( and you shouldn't because that s*** is toxic). The main relationship was shown through an unlikely and sometimes tested friendship. Can a Dragon who has lived through the centuries being persecuted by the human race learn to be friends with one. You could definitely feel Vern's inner turmoil, grudgingly admitting that Squib isn't like the other humans he knew, while at the same time being unwilling to let his walls down for fear of being betrayed. I really enjoyed seeing their friendship blossoming both though their interactions and inner thoughts. Their scenes together has me in stitches at certain points and on the edge of my seat at others.

The authors writing style is unique to say the least. As I stated I had never read one of his books before, and had read some so/so reviews so I had reasonably open expectations going in, which is probably why I enjoyed the book so much. The book is based in the New Orleans Bayou and the language plays on that. He uses local dialect termanology, which threw me at certain points, and he uses a lot of descriptive writing which can sometime put me off, but his humorous take on things and general writing style had my flying through the pages:

"Nevertheless, and to his credit, Squib did not hesitate but dived into that latch like there was a fantasy land on the other side where folks were just waiting to dub him a Prince."

With a story like this there was pretty much a no holds barred on how weird it could be, which is good because I feel this book isn't going to be an instant hit.  People may be put off by the premise, or by the first few chapters like I nearly was. All I can say is trust in that the author knows exactly what he is doing. It is weird? Hell yes! Is there a dismemberment of an unknown species? Yes. Does someone use a Pizza slice to cover their nether regions? Yes. Do you learn more about Dragons nether regions that you felt you needed too? Also yes. Yet this bizarre and wholly unique tale wormed its way into my heart. I think some people may be expecting this to be as light as his YA books were, and though there are definitely light and humorous parts, there were some dark and disturbing parts as well as characters. I will talk more about trigger warnings at the end of my review but I feel strongly that there should be some put out there for people wanting to read the book. This is an Adult book, and with that comes significantly less barriers than there would be in YA, however at parts I found myself curling around myself almost protectively, and can see some parts causing serious damage to readers if they are not warned.

 Despite the dark side to this book I'm glad this was my first read of the year, starting it off on a  mainly humorous and positive note. An easy 4/5 for me. There were some parts/people I found problematic (Hooke)  and the book should definitely come with some trigger warnings: Animal/being abuse, dismemberment and general harm written in detail, a character with serious psychopathic tendencies & I would also warn anybody who has suffered abuse to be wary before reading this book. Though there was no abuse on page, Hooke's character often had thoughts about it including one point where he thought 'put one hand round her throat and walk her backwards into the house. Wasn't no one around to see.' His parts of the book were in parts extremely disturbing and people should definitely be wary before reading.
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“Some souls are assholes and some ain’t.” - Waxman. (My favourite quote.)

I chose this book because the blurb (as confusing and not very well-written as it was) sounded highly interesting and I’d never read a book set on the bayou. And the book was still interesting. Unfortunately, I came out of the experience with more cons than pros. 

Pros:

1. Although a lot of useless backstory was presented, the inner dialogue extended from it provided a great shaping for the characters, namely Hooke (who I believed got everything he deserved; hated him with a passion which means his character was developed just the way he needed to be). I LIKED that I felt such a strong hate towards this crooked man, especially every time he spoke about Squib’s momma. 

2. The genre falls into Adult, but I also think this may be appropriate for late young adult reader’s and could be studied as text for senior high schoolers. 

3. Waxman! I wish his character was fleshed out more because he was a very enticing and engaging character!


Side Note: this is nor good nor bad, but I feel like this story would be much better suited to a screenplay. The book felt very slow, and dragged so much and often I felt like I was reading an actual movie!

Cons: 

1. Writing style, 3rd person omniscient provided so much telling that I didn’t feel anything for the characters or the plot. As all the information was provided to me, even much irrelevant backstory, I became very bored very quickly around the 55% mark. 80% of the information felt pretty useless to the plot. It would have been interesting if the story was in 3rd person from Vern’s perspective. Backstory I would have liked to read about would be more about Vern’s life as Lord Highfire in medieval England, considering he was a character so hell bent on remembering and grudging the past, he didn’t touch on it a lot.

2. It aided to the setting of the story, but the Louisiana jargon was highly difficult to understand a lot of the time. I didn’t like that I had to continuously stop reading to research words. However, I LOVED the setting on the bayou! I’ve never read anything like it and it is also a well-known setting (kept thinking about Disney’s Princess and the Frog!).

3. This story is marketed as a fantasy-comedy (also just because 1 character is a dragon, does not mean that the genre is fantasy by any means, especially when the plot is set in modern day Louisiana), and admittedly there were some soft chuckle moments, but mostly I just heard myself saying “what the hell am I reading”, which may have been the reaction the author wanted from his readers, but the comedic moments didn’t hit home for me.

Overall, it was okay but not great. Highfire was a unique and interesting story to read, however I don’t believe it should have been as long as it was. Great potential for a movie adaptation and would definitely go see. If you’re an avid YA reader and thinking about picking this up, I don’t think it’ll be your bottle of Absolut. However, if you like picking up stories with bizarre plots and characters with some shock value, then you might wanna got it a try.
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I read the entire Artemis Fowl series one after the other a few years ago, back in 2016, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. So I was really intrigued to see that Eoin Colfer had a new book coming out, especially an adult fantasy.

If I'm being honest, I struggled a bit with the beginning of Highfire. I loved the opening scenes, but then I felt it slowed down quite a lot. Once I got into the swing of the story though, it picked up again.

Something I did really love about this book was the setting and the atmosphere. It was really evocative and immersive. I could feel the oppressive heat and humidity of Louisiana and smell the water of the bayou.

The characters -- especially Vern, Squib and Elodie (Squib's hard-working, long-suffering mother) -- are charming and likeable. I was really drawn to them and invested in their coming out on top. I was less keen on the villain, Hooke, who just didn't appeal to me in the same was as the others. But in a way, that was a good thing, because I really, really wanted him to get his comeuppance.

Once you're invested in the characters, the action really kicks off and it's exactly the kind of high-octane, fast-paced adventure you'd expect from Colfer.

Nicely for an adult fantasy novel, Highfire's a standalone. It has potential for a sequel too, but you get all the resolution you need by the end.
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I’ve grown up with the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer, and they’re a staple in our house for my children (my son is called Eoin too), so I went into this with some trepidation. Could Colfer’s wit carry itself in an adult novel? Especially one that sounds as bizarre as this one, with a grumpy vodka drinking dragon and a boy called Squib with major daddy issues and criminal tendencies. As it happens, yes it could, and this ended up being one hell of a ride. 

Vern, our depressed dragon, is the last of his kind and casually hanging out in the Louisiana swaps watching Netflix. He wants to be left alone, but somehow finds himself attached to Squib, a troubled kid with the law hot on his heels. Their relationship is really the highlight of the novel, as the pair bounce off each other so well. I find that Eoin Colfer does tend to craft his protagonists well, pairing them up with individuals who at once compliment or oppose their personalities. They’re always well fleshed out, and often morally grey but loveable - and this is certainly true here too. Vern is a firm favourite, with his endless snarky comments and morose attitude that just lends itself well to the overall feel of the book. 

I also liked that the plot itself doesn’t take itself too seriously, with our heroes becoming embroiled with murder, drugs and villains with humour sprinkled throughout. It’s a joyous romp filled with the outrageous and lots of swearing. However, it also tackles some more serious topics too, especially around Squib and his mother, and this was handled well. 

At times I did wish the pacing was a bit faster as the plot does drag in some places (particularly in the middle section), however overall this didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story.
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Highfire is the first adult book from Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series. Right off the bat, Vern is an ancient dragon equipped with sarcasm and alcohol which makes a fun combo through out the story who is content with living in his southern swamp despite being an ex Lord Highfire. However it seems the punishment never ends for debonair dragon when he hires on Squib as his new assistant. Squib's daily duties involve refilling his employer's cup and internet shopping cart.

I had a blast reading this as Artemis Fowl is one of my favorite book series from my child hood and if Highfire is any indication of more books to come in the adult themes from Eoin, then I can't wait to read what comes next!
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Beware there be dragons! 

Well, one grumpy and lonely dragon called Vern (short for Wyvern), hiding out in the Louisiana swamp, filling his time watching netflix and drinking Absolut vodka. He is probably the last of his kind and has seen his friends and relatives murdered by angry hordes through the ages. Now he has one friend, a half human called Waxman who lives in a shack on the swamp and looks after supplying Vern with his vodka, favourite Flashdance T-shirts and other essentials (from a horde of confederate gold that Vern has stashed away). 

Also living in the swamp is a 15 year old troublemaker called Squib who tries to help out his single mother by working odd jobs, a psychopathic Rambo-style cop, called Regence Hooke, who has his own private arsenal and wants to control the drug cartel route through Louisiana no matter how many bodies mount up. He also intends to sort Squib out once and for all, while also paying court to Squib's attractive mother. One fateful night on the bayou, when Hooke and Squib are both up to no good, will result in both their worlds colliding with Vern's.

I'm a big fan of Colfer's Artemis Fowl fantasy series for children and love his quirky sense of humour, which also infuses this adult tale. Vern and Squib are great characters, forming an unusual friendship. Vern is like no dragon I've ever come across before, but he is no less majestic when called upon to take to the sky and breath some fire to help his friend and Squib really does has a good heart inside his larrikin self. If you feel like a fun romp in the swamp and don't mind a few explosions and bodies along the way, this one could be for you!
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