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The Dragon of Ynys Review

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen

The town of Ynys has a theft problem. Snap the dragon hoards the villager's shiny possessions, and it's up to Sir Violet to negotiate the items back. But when Juniper the baker goes missing, Violet must team up with Snap in order to find her.


Queer, fantasy, fairy tale


Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet, the local knight, makes his way to the dragon's cave and negotiates the item's return. It's annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.

But when the dragon hoards a person, that's a step too far. Sir Violet storms off to the mountainside to escort the baker home, only to find a more complex mystery—a quest that leads him far beyond the cave. Accompanied by the missing baker's wife and the dragon himself, the dutiful village knight embarks on his greatest adventure yet.


This was an adorable and heartwarming story. It's a light read that can easily be finished in a single sitting, which is what I did. The cover may imply a more involved fantasy, but this is primarily character and message driven. The worldbuilding is very slim, with minimal explanations for the way magic and the society work. If you read fantasy for the epic worldbuilding, this book isn't for you. It's more like a fairy tale in that the fantasy elements are simplistic and emerge as the story needs them.

However, if you enjoy character interactions and an optimistic worldview, it's a lovely story to read. There's no true "villain" of the story; the book takes the stance that everyone is generally good and trying to do the best they can. People make mistakes and don't always communicate properly, but that can be solved through listening and understanding each other.

The message of the story is one of acceptance and diversity. Violet is aromantic and asexual, Holly and Juniper are a lesbian couple, Holly is a trans woman, and her cousin Moss has a trans daughter. The trans and ace characters face misunderstandings from cis and allo characters, but these mistakes are discussed and addressed. Juniper immediately begins prioritizing Moss's perspective on not fully supporting her trans daughter to Holly, and later realizes her error and apologizes.

It has empathy for everyone, which was refreshing. The idea of spreading empathy through storytelling is a nice way of connecting this story to the real world. Just like in the story, hearing the stories of diverse people globally can help us connect with each other.

This book is certainly not for everyone. For some, it may come across as too simplistic or childish. But I found it quite nice to sink into a book that was like a comforting embrace, especially when the world is so anxiety-ridden. With sweet character interactions and friendships, this is a great book for all ages in need of a little optimism.

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