Title: In the Realm of Dragons
Author: Esther M. Friesner
In: The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic (Mike Ashley)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Dragons, LGBTQI, Magic
Dates read: 9th March 2020
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Ryan sat at his father’s feet and looked up to see a taut jawline, a gaze fixed and fastened on Uncle Graham and Bill.
Ryan is trying to honour the memory of his estranged Uncle. Clutching a dragon figurine, he travels into the city to find the men who tore his life apart.
I actually really, really enjoyed this short story. Not only was it about the ostracization which can occur to an individual because of their LGBTQI+ status, the hatred towards minorities and the need for one person to make amends, it is also about dragons. Which I love. So the combination took me straight to my little happy place.
For starters, I loved that there was a blurring of lines between reality and imagination. Even at the end of this story, you’re not entirely sure if the dragons was there in reality, or whether it was all just hopeful imagination and revenge. There was great, powerful imagery with the use of dragons and figurines. The flicking back and forth between memory and present. Reality and dreams. I loved this mystic quality and the way it created an amazingly powerful storyline.
I also loved that this story featured a homosexual man. It was the cause of all of his tragedies, but it was nice to have a story that realistically and deeply investigated how ostracization due to your sexual orientation can destroy a life. Can rip and tear it apart in a way that is unexpected, powerful and potent. And, obviously, very tragically.