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{August 17, 2011}   Henrietta the Dragon Slayer, by Beth Barany

From Goodreads: Henrietta, the legendary Dragon Slayer of the Kingdom of Bleuve, can’t stomach the thought of one more kill. Yet, in order to save her dying mentor, she must go on one last quest. But will misfit companions, seasickness, and an egomaniacal king derail the quest for the healing stone? And will she be able to cut past her conscience and kill the dragon?

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This is a really cute coming-of-age novel.  Barany has created a wonderful cast of characters, including Henrietta, the haughty, kick-butt heroine, Franc, the heroic, chauvinistic knight, Jaxster, the storytelling jester, and Paulette, the quiet, mischievous witch.  Through fate, these four characters are cast together on a quest to save Henrietta’s mentor by bringing back the healing stone after killing a dragon.  Perhaps my favorite portion of this novel, on the whole, is Barany’s portrayal of Henrietta.  While confused and running from her own personal dragons (no pun intended), Henrietta is a tough female lead, standing up for what she believes in and, behind her hard exterior, possess a caring heart.  She is unlike any other heroine I’ve read about, and watching her work out her own issues, while dealing with choices of right and wrong, was extremely enjoyable. 

This often humorous tale brings together the unlikeliest of foes, forcing them to learn to either work together or face failure.  Barany has created a captivating tale for all ages, complete with sword fights, witchcraft, and friendship. Three and a half stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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