The Andy Smithson series is composed of five books by L.R.W. Lee; “Blast of the Dragon’s Fury,” “Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning,” “Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor,” “Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace,” and “Vision of the Griffin’s Heart.” From the first page of “Blast of the Dragon’s Fury,” Lee foreshadows a “strange and mysterious event” clearly. I too would categorize the protagonist, Andy’s, newfound magical life as “strange and mysterious.” In the series, there are some intriguing pieces of dialogue and scenes. Andy Smithson is not the most popular boy in his class nor do his parents truly encourage or support him. He considers himself ordinary until his destiny is revealed, Andy is the “Chosen One” to rid Oomaldee of their “curse.” Andy encounters lots of difficulties over the course of the series, even mortal danger.
In all honesty, I was confused about a few moments and references in the series. When a “wizard-looking man” transported Andy temporarily, it was unclear (to me) if this truly happened or he dreamed it. Being the “chosen one” (which automatically reminded me of “Harry Potter”), Andy may have had visions or felt a connection of some kind. And, what is a wizard-looking man? Does this imply he wore spectacles and a wizard hat (like Albus Dumbledore)? As the reader, I wanted more detailed descriptions at times because Lee created characters I was intrigued by and hoped to know more about. To be fair, this book is aimed at younger readers, who tend to prefer shorter descriptions.
The Andy Smithson series are told from a third person narrator’s point of view, but there are opinions and observations inserted into the novels that seem to be reminiscent of Andy’s thoughts. This gives the book a more humorous undertone and lively feel. Lee’s writing style offers the reader a unique experience.
In my opinion, it seemed as if the Andy Smithson series were inspired by “Harry Potter” to some degree. If young readers are missing “Harry Potter,” they may want to add this to their “to be read” list. There were quite a few similarities between the young-magical males Andy and Harry. When the story opens, Andy is ten while Harry was eleven, both are the chosen ones, lived in questionable households, and were boys who were raised in ordinary (magic free) worlds who enter mystical realms. Also, (no spoilers intended) while in their new environments, they are forced to battle dragons.
Lee used J.K. Rowling’s technique of explaining magical elements to the protagonist, Andy, who is unaware of the new world rules. Thus, the reader and character learn at the same time. In the novels, I was also reminded of King Arthur on a few occasions. Every time I saw the name Mermin, I mentally edited his name to Merlin upon each reading. Lee penned new names for her places and characters immersing the reader in her story. If someone wants a creative world, this may be their next read.
I would just like to thank R.W. Lee for providing me with signed copies of her series. As a fan of Harry Potter, I was happy to read something that reminded me of the magical world I have missed so much.