The Lady and the Dragon

A Tale of Despairing and Creation

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
60 Pages
Reviewed on 05/10/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

Ruth Finnegan's The Lady and the Dragon: A Tale of Despairing and Creation is the story of a journey from depression and loneliness to a new and positive condition. The protagonist of this book is as extraordinary as the tale itself - a dragon. Yet, he is not a majestic creature. Our dragon is ugly and all alone; not even his mother loves him because of his appearance. Then, one day, he meets a girl, Maire, but all he can think about is swallowing her. Will the dragon find his redemption in the end, or will he remain alone and desperate forever?

The Lady and the Dragon is an engaging book, first of all for the way the story is written. I believe that the use of rhythm is the most original trait of the book. The words arouse emotion, especially if you, like me, like the effect of alliterations and other figures of speech. At the same time, words invite readers to discover more about the story. Ruth Finnegan demonstrates a masterful skill in the use of words. She is perfectly aware of their suggestive power, mainly when she describes the desperation of the dragon. This ability, and the effect that derives from it, is what makes the text valuable. Moreover, the story is perfectly developed from despair to creation, as the subtitle implies, and it gives you a sense of fulfillment in the end. A book like The Lady and the Dragon is more than a piece of writing - it is a source of inspiration.

Lesley Jones

In The Lady and the Dragon by Ruth Finnegan, as a young girl called Maire sat on the shore, looking out toward the Donegal sea and contemplating what the future holds, she is reminded of an old Irish legend. A dragon was filled with self-hatred for feeling so ugly with his body covered in boils, blemishes, and scars. He believed nobody wanted or loved him. The dragon felt abandoned and alone in the world and then more tragedy struck. There was a huge explosion and the entire Universe disappeared. Who was responsible and who is capable of creating another Universe? When Maire enters the dragon's world, the dragon hopes she is the one that can recreate the Universe but he is only a dragon after all. What if his dragon instinct overcomes him and he swallows her before she can help?

The Lady and the Dragon by Ruth Finnegan is an incredible story that will touch the deepest recesses of your heart. The main characters of Maire and the dragon are fantastic. Maire is a loving, kind, and intelligent young girl whose generosity and love have no boundaries. The dragon's constant negative inner dialogue was very powerful and highlights how your version of the truth can become distorted if you repeat the lie enough times. I loved the dialogue between them as their relationship grew. Although the story is short, the underlying messages throughout were very powerful. This line about a negative mindset, in particular, was extremely poignant: 'When we don't know who to hate, we hate ourselves.' I thought this book would make a perfect segue into a conversation about self-image, depression, and even bullying in any counseling or educational setting for children.

The poetic style of the book was so well-written that the story simply flowed perfectly. There were also great lighthearted moments as the bond between them grew. We learn how each of us has unique talents and gifts that must never be hidden but used to help each other and ourselves. The ending where the dragon made some life-changing discoveries about God's creation was simply wonderful and quite emotional. This book should be in every school library but can be enjoyed by adults too.

Stefan Vucak

Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Maire sitting by the Donegal Sea. There was also a huge dragon; alone, ugly, unloved by everybody. The dragon wakes and stirs. He smells something, a little girl. He takes flight, roars, swoops on her. A little angel begs him not to swallow Maire, but he ignores it, and he has his little morsel. There is no mercy, no universe. Only him, his sins, and his need to swallow. Yet he wanted something but did not know what. He only knew he wanted Maire, star of the sea, the light of the ocean. He had eaten her and she was inside him, a great lonely nothingness. He wanted a universe and to see light, but there were only the black, silent void and endless emptiness. He saw a little spark almost beyond his senses. Was it his creation? The dragon puffs mightily and the little acorn in Maire’s heart sprouts. Slowly at first, then it sent out roots, then twigs and branches, and the universe came into being. The heavenly choir burst into song to praise this creation. But this was not the end of the tale, because there was no one in his universe to live happily ever after. Will the lonely dragon ever find love, sunshine, happiness?

With The Lady and the Dragon, readers will be confronted with a severe sensory double-take, shock almost. Despite the poetic writing, this is not a children’s tale, but a foray into sophisticated mysticism and deep philosophy that drags various myths into a trembling, coherent whole. Ruth Finnegan spins a very adult tale wrapped in simple writing that hides deep spiritual thinking. Despite its apparent simplicity, The Lady and the Dragon is difficult to read, and some readers might reject it outright, expecting more traditional prose in its telling. Some of the words appear to be rambling and irrelevant, but they are pearls within an intricate web that contributes to a strangely moving and satisfying ending. Despite awkward but perhaps deliberate formatting, readers are urged to persist until the end where everything is answered. A most thought-provoking tale.