Author: Eoin Colfer
Publication Date: 2020
Publishing House: Harper Perennial
After watching the disaster that is the Artemis Fowl movie I reread the first four books to remind myself that the series is actually pretty great and in doing so came across Eoin Colfer’s adult novel Highfire.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series comes a hilarious and high-octane adult novel about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who lives an isolated life in the bayous of Louisiana—and the raucous adventures that ensue when he crosses paths with a fifteen-year-old troublemaker on the run from a crooked sheriff.
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 Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However…he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, 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’s finally decided 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 a despicable human being—who happens to want 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 his go-between (aka 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 either dragons finally go 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 an effortlessly clever and relentlessly funny tour-de-force of comedy and action.
Just because this book is by an author that has previously written children’s fantasy does not mean they should read this one. It is adult fantasy due to a variety of creative curses and some pretty gruesome deaths.
I listened to this book as an audio book through the local library and I’m so glad I did because the narrator was fantastic at the Louisiana accents which made this book all the funnier. Everett is aware that he causes trouble but he is really trying to turn over a new leaf and get a job that will bring in real money to help his momma out. It just so happens that the best job is for a smuggler.
This book is full of dark humor. There were times I laughed and cringed in the same scene. There were also times that this book got really real. Vern believes he is the last of his kind and is a depressed alcoholic. Constable Hooke, well he is really fond of playing with his knives while people are his canvas.
This a good book but it is an acquired taste. I suggest this book for fans of dragons, fans of urban fantasy, and those who don’t mind a bit of blood. Happy reading!
2 comments on “Paperback Perils: Highfire”
I tried to read this but couldn’t get into it. I have nothing against swearing like a sailor, but it felt like Colfer was trying too hard to write an “adult” book. Still, it did sound interesting so maybe I’ll hunt down the audio version from my library and give that a go.
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It’s pretty funny when someone knows how to do the accents and I think the over the top is perfect for the general ridiculousness of the book as a whole
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