Fiction - Science Fiction
387 Pages
Reviewed on 04/07/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

DragonFly by Charles A Cornell is a riveting read! Pilot Officer Veronica “Ronnie” Somerset’s duty calls her to a fortress on the Cornish coastline of England. The castle of Enysfarne stands regal and immovable, seemingly untouched by time. Enysfarne has become a remote military outpost for the Royal Navy. Leaving behind her past and regret, Ronnie knows it is time to prove herself. But, she never dreamed she would be flying a “thoroughbred plane” powered by ancient mysterious crystals and fueled by water. Reunited with her childhood friends, Ronnie and a bizarre crew of misfits become the DragonFly Squadron. They ready themselves for Hitler’s diabolical army. For the DragonFly Squadron, the anthem of “Victory or Death” rings loud and clear. It is their time, it’s their duty. It is time to shine or die trying.

“The events are now in the past, but they leave us with so many lessons for the future.” Charles A Cornell’s DragonFly is an extremely inventive science fiction fantasy portraying World War II. Cornell takes the stories told to him as a child and weaves a fantastic futuristic twist into them, creating a mind-boggling “what if” tale. Imagination takes a front row seat in this tale depicting female RAF pilots, advanced aircraft, Nazi cyborgs and the power of the ancient crystals. The plot magnifies Hitler’s obsession with the occult and the scientific experimentation of the Third Reich. The plot’s action is enhanced by vivid metaphorical illustrations and exciting air combat descriptions. The characterization is top-notch! The heroine’s character development intensifies with every turn of the page. The inclusion of the photography is icing on the cake in this extraordinary narrative. Insightful, creative and unique – be ready to be shocked and awed by DragonFly!

Lit Amri

Alternative history is the core of DragonFly (Missions of the DragonFly Squadron, Book 1) by Charles A. Cornell. Young RAF officer Veronica 'Ronnie' Somerset has to fight two battles-WWII and proving herself as a capable combat pilot in the male-dominated British military. Her skill is greatly tested when she is reassigned to the Royal Naval Station Enysfarne and handed the opportunity to pilot the revolutionary aircraft, DragonFly. With the brilliant engineer Dr. Nigel Pennbridge at her side, Ronnie paves the way for the birth of a new, unique squadron that will fight for Britain.

Fascinating illustrations and eye-catching pictures complement the story tremendously. I truly enjoyed them and I’m glad that Cornell included them in DragonFly. As a sci-fi fantasy fan, the retro-futuristic technology is interesting and coaxed me to think anew about the diesel punk genre. I found the story concept slightly odd at first, as the occult element is also incorporated. However, I gradually appreciated the combination of different elements and the way they were developed in the plot. The typical discrimination that the protagonist and other female characters had to face as pilots was, at times, a bit too much but reflected the truth about sexism, especially in that era. Additionally, the action scenes are great and clearly depicted. Cornell shows his extensive knowledge in the battle scenes and this makes them genuine. He balances a fresh spin on historical war with fantasy, action and humor in DragonFly. On the whole, I was entertained and enjoyed the reading.

Marie-Hélène Fasquel

DragonFly by Charles A Cornell is an extraordinary novel which is hard to pin down in a specific genre. It is a science fiction novel first and foremost, but is also an adventure, and an action and historical novel. It is an alternate story of history and, more precisely, a new version of World War II which was written as a tribute to all the soldiers and people who fought against Nazism. The story’s viewpoint alternates between our heroes and British fighters and Nazi Germany and is mostly set in Britain. Twenty-two-year-old RAF pilot Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Somerset will not let her country down and even goes so far as refusing orders at one point. She is the most unlikely heroine, but also will prove to be the best.

DragonFly by Charles A Cornell is a highly imaginative tale which allows the reader to think about history and to analyse the sheer horror that went on. It questions history and the reactions of some of the people involved at the time, and allows us to reflect, and that is what is the most important element for me in a book. The story is definitely extremely entertaining, but it also made me think. It is indeed a truly adventurous tale: I could not put it down and read it in two days! The characters are all extremely interesting - including Morax (a German sorcerer) - and well developed. To top it all, the fate of Britain and of the world (let’s not be coy!) rest in the hands of a young woman who, in the very masculine world of the military, manages to become a pilot and to become the best asset the British people have against Hitler’s invasion. The pace of the story, the superb illustrations, and the style of the author all make this novel a must-read!