Title: Here Be Dragons (The Snowdonia Chronicles #1)
Author: Sarah Mussi
Publisher: Shrine Bell
Genre: Teen/young adult fiction, Fantasy – Urban/Contemporary, Folklore
Book format: Paperback
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Description:  Ellie Morgan wants a boy who’s all hers. Just for once, it would be nice to meet someone that Sheila (the cow) hadn’t got her claws in to.
A remote farmhouse on Mount Snowdon is hardly the ideal setting for meeting anyone unless, of course, you count her best friend George or creepy Darren (which Ellie doesn’t). But when a boy, glimpsed through the mist and snow, lures her up to the Devil’s Bridge, Ellie realises the place she knows so well still has its secrets …
The stronger her feelings for this strange boy become, the more she is in danger: a battle as old as Snowdon itself has been raging for centuries and now Ellie’s caught in the middle.
Something has left its lair.
It’s out there stalking her.
Who ever said true love was easy?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  Oh wow, wow wow! I don’t know what to say, I’ve just loved this story so much! ‘Here Be Dragons’ is the first in a fantasy trilogy and it is such an amazing read! Ellie Morgan lives in Snowdonia with her Mum. One evening they form part of a volunteer rescue and head up the mountain during snowy conditions to see if anyone is trapped there, and that’s where Ellie first sees him, a boy she feels somehow connected to. But as the days lead up to New Year and Ellie is determined to find out who he is, she ends up facing an ancient legend, more dangerous than she’s ever known.

Here Be Dragons map image
©The Strawberry Post

This is the first book of the series and fills in all the gaps I had after reading the second one some time ago. I enjoyed the sequel ‘Here Be Witches’ a while ago now, but reading the second book before the first made the overall story a little confusing to begin with as I had missed a lot of things that had happened. However, now getting the chance to read this trilogy from the beginning I can say that this book has such an amazing and compelling plot which I just couldn’t put down after the first few chapters. And it’s a brilliant start to the tilogy.

The story is told from the first person perspective, Ellie’s, and is easy to get into right away. Ellie does have a bit of a silly/young way of speaking, with some teen/text speak in certain parts (e.g. ‘obvs’) but I’ve gotten used to this after reading quite a few novels aimed at younger teens and this didn’t bother me when reading this book. I don’t want to spoil what happens in the story, but Ellie does manage to meet up with the boy she saw on the mountain and from there the tale really takes off, becoming one mixed with Welsh legends and including some very real dragons! It’s this fantasy element of the story that I really loved, and although I did know something about Henry long before it was revealed (having read book two first) it was still interesting and compelling to see Ellie work it out and to read what happened next.

The build up to the ending as well as the dramatic end made my heart beat faster and I felt quite emotional after reading this. I didn’t know what was going to happen and it felt like such a brilliant, good and yet a bit of a sad ending all at the same time. The last few pages in particular made me feel like I was watching the last dramatic scenes in a movie and it’s made me desperate to find out what happens in the end of the trilogy (as I know what happens in book 2)! The ending is a satisfying one, although you do end up wanting to scream “Nooo!” and does a good job of making you eager to want to read the sequel.

The book has a map at the start, and throughout the story there are bits of the Welsh language spoken/written. It doesn’t matter if you can’t read Welsh though as there are footnotes at the bottom of some pages with an English translation. There is hardly any swearing in the book, with only very occassional use of the s swear word, but nothing else that would really upset anyone, and I could see many younger teens enjoying this book as well as older (although if you’re an adult you might need to get used to the ‘teen speak’).

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone, it’s a brilliant sort or urban fantasy (technically contemporary fantasy), focusing on Welsh folklore. This is such a compelling read once you get into the story and the relationship between some of the characters is just so lovely. Having read book two I know that this trilogy gets better and better and I can’t wait to see what happens in the finale!

Read review of book 2 – Here Be Witches by clicking here.
Read review of book 3 – Here Be Wizards by clicking here.

Have you read any books in the Snowdonia Chronicles trilogy?  Do you like contemporary/urban fantasy novels?  What about stories inspired by folklore?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂