Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Posted On 27 January 2020

Filed under Book Reviews
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Comments Dropped 22 responses

Highfire2I have slightly mixed feelings about Highfire.  On the one hand, I really enjoyed certain aspects of the story and would no doubt read more if the author intended to revisit. But, at the same time I did struggle a little to get into this and I’m not entirely sure why, other than my reading seemed to ebb a little last week so maybe I was just not in the right frame of mind.

This is fantasy of a very different kind.  To an extent, without Vern (who was actually more akin to a Wyvern than a dragon) and his mysterious friend, the fantasy aspect of the story is very low key.  This is a story that plays out in the bayous of Louisiana and I have to say upfront that I loved the setting.

Deep in the bayou lives a dragon, the last of his kind maybe.  He’s all about keeping a low profile and keeping the howling mobs at bay.  In the modern era your likeness and a full on video can be recorded so easily that Vern has taken to hiding out, he’s a bit depressed, he lacks companionship, he has something of an alcohol problem and I suppose he lacks purpose.  Until Squib enters his life.

Basically this is a story that focuses very much on the characters.  Everett Moreau, aka Squib, is a teenage boy who is one step away from crossing the line.  He’s not had the easiest childhood and although at heart he’s basically a good lad he’s struggling to help his mother with a debt that she didn’t run up whilst at the same time trying to keep the attention of the local law from focusing too hard on either himself or his mother.  Everett is quite easy to like, especially his enthusiasm for Vern the dragon.

Vern has lived a long life.  He doesn’t like humans, mainly due to the fact that they turned on his kind many centuries ago and killed them off, leaving Vern alone and bitter.  I suppose you could say that Squib really shakes Vern’s life up, a lot and I did enjoy their interactions, especially the slow way that Vern comes round to this new human in his life.

Regence Hooke is the local law and a bigger lowlife you are unlikely to ever meet.  Being privy to his internal thoughts is positively hideous.  He’s a murderer and a nasty piece of work.  Your basic psychopath really, and he has the big hots for Squib’s mum and would very much like to take Squib out of the picture entirely so that he can move his agenda forward.  He really is quite despicable.

The story revolves around these three characters, starting fairly low key until their lives become inextricably entangled and go down the route of no return – things then reach an explosive climax.

I think what held me back from a little with Highfire is that it has a fairly young feel – yet, it’s undoubtedly an adult read.  There is violence, people getting their faces ripped off and their guts spilled but in spite of the adult content, for me, this felt almost like Pete and his dragon.  I haven’t got a problem with that in some respects but I think I was expecting a darker tone somehow.  Vern is definitely an impressive beast and you wouldn’t want to get on his wrong side, but at the same time the comic feel to the story prevents him from having any real menace and I confess it took me a while to form any real attachments to the characters.

Okay, I was aware that this was going to be full of humour when I picked this up so the comic elements weren’t really a surprise but not all the humour quite hit the spot for me personally.

I don’t really mean to come across as overly negative.  On finishing this book I would say that I enjoyed it.  The ending was satisfying and refreshingly creative and I immediately felt that if more books were planned with Vern as the central character then I would be keen to pick them up, but, I’m not totally in love with the characters just yet, they still have a little more work for me to be totally on board.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the author, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating 3.5 of 5 stars



22 Responses to “Highfire by Eoin Colfer”

  1. Tammy

    I got the impression this was on the funny, young side too, and I haven’t read it yet. I may not simply because I’m not in the mood to read overly young books at the moment.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is definitely an adult story, but it just felt young which surprised me a little.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Greg

    I’ve never read Eoi Colfer and this one sounds different. The young feel even though it’s kind of an adult story too has me a little conflicted. 🙂 It’s good to know though- I’ve been curious about this author before!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was a good book but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and I’m not sure I was totally in the right mood.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Paul's Picks

    I really wondered how this one would come across. Thanks for the review:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, I would read more, but I’d have to be in the right mood because comedy style books can be a bit hit or miss for me.
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Humor is such a subjective experience that not all humorous stories work for everyone: this seems to be the case, and I’m sorry this detail spoiled somewhat your enjoyment of a story that nonetheless looks promising.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is a promising book in many ways, and I didn’t dislike, definitely I’d pick up more, but at the same time it didn’t blow me away.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Barb @ Booker T's Farm

    Sounds like a solid read at least and I’m glad I have a copy of this. I do have a feeling I’m going to love Vern for some reason.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, Vern is pretty good. Look forward to reading your thoughts.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Michael

    I’ve tried a couple of Colfer’s previous novels and they never really clicked for me. I didn’t love his attempt at a sixth Hitchhiker’s novel (really no one else is going to be Douglas Adams!) So, while the premise of this one sounds good, I am reticent a bit.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone but I guess if you’ve read him already you know his style. I didn’t dislike this but I just also didn’t love it – I would read more to see if a second instalment worked better but that would be my ‘make or break’ book
      Lynn 😀

  7. sjhigbee

    Humour is such a very personal thing – and it sounds as if the premise warred with the lighthearted approach, rather. There are writers who can pull off making a rather grim idea amusing – even laugh-out-loud funny (Terry Pratchett for example) but they are very, very rare… Great review, Lynn.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks Sarah. I would read more from this world to give it a fair chance, it could just have been I wasn’t really in the right type of mood – which I think is difficult with this type of book
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        I don’t think I’ve met a more fair-minded reviewer/reader!

  8. pagesandtea

    Great review, I didn’t really know whether I should read on because I just started reading this book so haven’t really had chance to get into it yet. I’ve never read anything by this author before so let’s see how I get on 😀

  9. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Hmm, this book was just recommended to me on Goodreads the other day, and I confess I was intrigued. Glad I saw your review though, I might have to think on it some more, in light of some of your thoughts!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I enjoyed it and if it turned into a series I would continue to read, but some of the humour was a bit hit and miss and although some of the content wasn’t YA it had a YA feel – which kind of gave me conflicting feelings somehow. I think I probably just wasn’t in the right kind of mood for some reason. But, like I said, I would read more if that was the plan.
      Lynn 😀

  10. waytoofantasy

    I’ve seen someone else have mixed thoughts on this one too, now some of my excitement has worn off lol. Glad you still liked it for the most part though.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is good, just maybe not quite what I was expecting – or in the mood for.
      Lynn 😀

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