The Chronicles of The Imaginarium Geographica: Book One – Here There Be Dragons (2006) – James A. Owen

Following a Google search of fun and entertaining book series to read, I came across the intriguing title of The Chronicles of The Imaginarium Geographica, and was suitably intrigued as I read the blurb, how lands of imagination tied into our own world, and was a reflection of it at the same time.

Set during The Great War, three young writers, John, Jack, and Charles, all Oxford me, find themselves swept up in a dazzling adventure as they find themselves named caretakers of an incredible book, the Imaginarium Geographica, and are bestowed with the mission of keeping it safe from the villainous Winter King who wishes to claim, as well as the throne of the fabled Archipelago.

Steeped in literary references both numerable and not so subtle (though some are brilliantly so) this first installment in a young adult series is a quick and easy read, fantastically enjoyable, and reinterprets familiar characters, places and things in ways previously unimagined.

Our three friends find themselves on a quest that will challenge and change them, and also bring them into close proximity of some very familiar literary names, characters and events.


And none of it is derivative. It’s an enjoyable reimagining of themes and settings everyone will recognize, but will also now see in a new way. And while the characters may not have all the depth and layers you might want in an ‘adult’ book, by sinking into the narrative, you can project yourself into and relate to each of the main characters, and while you may not be in similar circumstances, you can recognize and relate to their actions and feelings.

I found myself smiling and nodding at a number of references that are made as well as the final payoff brought about by the book’s final chapter. I loved seeing/reading how Owen integrated so many creations from so many different sources and making them seem like a cohesive whole as opposed to a hodge podge of elements thrown together.

You can believe that all of these beings exist alongside one another, and that they can be reached, if you just travel far enough on the map, to the very edges, where it reminds us that here. there be dragons.

Knowing that there are seven volumes in the series gives me a bit of comfort, as I definitely want more adventures in this realm, and with these characters. That being said, despite the seeds it plants at the end of the book, Here, There Be Dragons can be read as a solo story, and doesn’t necessarily ask you tom commit to the seven volume adventure.

But how could you not want to?

I’ll be looking forward to my next trip.


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