Set in 1835, this book is based on what could have happened during Darwin’s famous expedition to the Galapagos Islands, which were dubbed the ‘Enchanted Isles’.
Syms has accompanied Darwin on HMS Beagle as his assistant and fiddle player ever since his Da died. He wanted to leave his life behind and find adventure, something he certainly managed to do on his trip around the world exploring with one of the greatest naturalists and biologists of the time. When a storm hits, Syms saves Darwin’s life but becomes adrift himself as a consequence. When he finds himself washed ashore an island they’ve not yet explored, he wonders if he’ll ever be discovered.
On his time on the island, he is befriended by a lizard he has never seen before, who he names Farthing due to her copper eyes. She helps him navigate the island and find ways to survive. Not only does Syms have the active volcano to contend with, but also a dangerous species he thought only existed in stories: dragons.
Darwin’s Dragons had a fresh feel (despite it’s old setting!) – it didn’t feel as though I had read a book like it before! Not only is it influenced by history, but it is injected with fantasy. As soon as I read the first few pages I was totally hooked. I especially loved the short chapters; so much happened in each one despite their length and it really added to the fast pace and readability of the story.
I absolutely loved the descriptive writing; Lindsay really emulates the imagery of the setting. The island Syms finds himself on has so many obstacles he needs to overcome – not least the volcano which is fizzing with the pre-warning of an eruption. He has a determination which helps the reader connect to him; he is very likeable and really developed as a character.
My favourite part of the book was definitely Farthing! She was such a loyal friend to Syms, despite being an animal, and I found myself so invested in her and what happened to her throughout the story!
This was definitely one of my favourite reads this year – it releases in January and I highly recommend you start off 2021 with this in your hands…or at the very least, on your shelf!
Like the sound of this book? Buy it here: https://amzn.to/3mQpY7F
📚 Book gifted by publisher.