In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs–now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his La-Z-Boy recliner. Lying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather, Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie, who struck fear in hearts far and wide, is reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binge-watching Netflix in a fishing shack. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon, yet no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone–or are they?
A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He finally decides to work for a shady smuggler, but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable.
Regence Hooke is not just a dirty cop, he’s also a despicable human being who wants Squib’s momma in the worst way. When Hooke goes after his hidden witness with a grenade launcher, Squib finds himself airlifted from certain death by…a dragon?
The swamp can make strange bedfellows, and rather than be fried alive so the dragon can keep his secret, Squib strikes a deal with the scaly apex predator. He can act as Vern’s go-between (a.k.a. familiar)–fetch his vodka, keep him company, etc.–in exchange for protection from Hooke. Soon the three of them are careening headlong toward a combustible confrontation. There’s about to be a fiery reckoning, in which dragons finally become extinct–or Vern’s glory days are back.
A triumphant return to the genre-bending fantasy that Eoin Colfer is so well known for, Highfire is effortlessly clever and a relentless tour de force of comedy and action.
What I thought
Thank you to Harper Perennial for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I can honestly say that this was the most FUN I’ve had reading a book. And if Highfire is any indication of Eoin Colfer’s brilliant wit, I’m sorely upset that I didn’t read the Artemis Fowl books growing up.
Before I go any further, let me preface this review by warning you that if you find yourself easily offended by mounds of profanity, over-the-top gore and violence, vulgar sexual innuendo, and gross bodily functions–put this book down, it isn’t for you. It’s for the rest of us heathens to enjoy (and cackle at).
Bizarre and wildly entertaining and so hilarious that I was actually laughing out loud while reading in public, Highfire also managed to be a touching read in the end. Full of characters I loved to love (and one in particular I loved to hate), I was legitimately sad to reach the end. The relationship between Vern and Squib was so strangely heartwarming that I find myself unable to let go of this story just yet.
If you are looking for a story to take you on a hell of a ride, buckle up, settle in, and prepare to get weird–this book is for you. Like Trailer Park Boys, but in the Louisiana bayou, with a dragon…I could not recommend this more. It’s early to say this, but this will be one of my favorite books of 2020, guaranteed.