Book Review: Greenwing & Dart series by Victoria Goddard

So I have already squee’d about my love of Victoria Goddard with The Hands of the Emperor, and over about a week I voraciously read my way through the Greenwing & Dart series. There’s currently six:

So, they are: Stargazy PieBee Sting CakeWhiskey JackBlackcurrant FoolLove-in-a-Mist, and Plum Duff. A seventh is due…sometime! (I am very excited about this.)

Jemis Greenwing came home from university nursing a broken heart and a bad cold, both of which quickly turn out to have far more significance than he’d ever expected.

His hometown of Ragnor Bella is reputed to be the dullest town in the continent. That just means it’s very good at hiding its secrets. Or it was, until Jemis and his best friend Mr. Dart start blundering around unravelling what they think are very small mysteries.

Fortunately both of them learned a thing or two at university … even if it’s the more arcane parts of their degrees that prove the most useful. It’s one thing to illicitly attend extravagant dinner parties, and another to start answering riddles set by dragons…

The thing I love about this series (all right, one of the many things) is that it starts off small, and just gets more and more chaotic – in a wonderful way! Jemis needs to get a job, and then stumbles into a mystery when a random pie is left on the town fountain. Then an old friend (possibly? Maybe not a friend? Who knows, with the events at the end of his university career) turns up. And there’s a cult that might be up to no good – or could be covering for something else. And then the dragon turns up, alongside an ancient, grouchy relative…

And they have to win the local cake-baking competition too, of course.

Over the course of the series, the events build and intertwine, and everything links; it’s wonderful how the contacts and friends (and enemies) that Jemis makes all make his life wonderfully, brilliantly complicated. It’s a brilliantly ridiculous, fantastic, crazy series that highlights the friendships and relationships, and it’s absolutely fantastic fun. I love that some of the characters from the rest of the world turn up, too – and if you’ve read The Hands of the Emperor and then The Return of Fitzroy Angursell, you’ll recognise some of the people who turn up. It’s a wonderful glimpse into the wider world there, and I love the way the stories combine.

This series feels very derring-do, and it’s a fun romp – with some more intricate and serious undertones, but it’s definitely more on the “adventure” end of the scale. A lot of fun, and definitely worth a read.

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.