Book Review: ‘Dragon Lightning,’ by J. S. Burke

5-stars for ‘Dragon Lightning,’ by J. S. Burke


‘A nicely written Fantasy’

Something happens to me when I’m reading pure fantasy that doesn’t with other genres. I find myself transported into the mind of a younger me. It’s not immediate, and only happens when the book or film script is well written, but it’s a thoroughly gratifying experience when it does.

Dragon LightningEnvisioning questing dragons, vivid ice worlds, compassionate octopi and nefarious squid. Images so easily drawn in a child’s mind that we, as adults, tend to struggle with. There’s something, though I hate sounding cliché, truly magical about the experience.

J. S. Burke’s book, Dragon Lightning, sent me on a voyage into that younger me and provided me with a fun escape from my adult reality. The characters are well-designed with a nice assortment of human characteristics making them real, and her world-building is exemplary.

Burke has a firm grasp of story structure; how and when to introduce conflict; when to begin and end a scene, and she adds a generous helping of sentimentality guaranteeing you’ll empathise with her characters when she decides you should.

The story:

When three dragons and a pair of octopi set out on a quest to find the legendary Ice Dragons and find one, they learn of a coming catastrophe that will threaten both their worlds. From there, they will face numerous obstacles and a great challenge – persuading their own community and the communities of others to leave their homes for safety. A new world for them to share peacefully.

What I liked Most:

Character development:

J. S. Burke’s characters are extremely well-developed. They possess weaknesses as well as strengths and change as the story progresses. Without change or growth, flaws and weaknesses, even in a fantasy, the characters can be two-dimensional and unreal.

We like flawed characters, and we rally for them as we watch them change and grow from the decisions they’re forced to make and their interactions with other characters.


I have only one, and nothing that would change my 5-star rating and high recommendation.

Chapter length:

For younger readers, typically the target of most fantasy writers, I believe shorter chapters are more conducive. Though, in general, J. S. Burke’s chapters are not long, there are two or three which may have been split into two making the book read faster and be more palatable for early readers.

Summary and recommendation:

Dragon Lightning, by J. S. Burke, is a sparkling story filled with meaningful themes and likable characters. The writing is crisp, the goals are clear, and the author added just enough pure science (Geology and Biology) making it not only slightly educational but also more legitimate.

I give Dragon Lightning by J. S. Burke 5-stars and my highest recommendation for readers from eight to adult.


Review by: T. E. Mark – Writer / Screenwriter