A philosophy lecture disguised as a fairy tale, this third series entry both recapitulates and reinterprets the previous titles (Snotty Saves the Day, 2011; Lily the Silent, 2012).
A curse transforms Arcadian princess Sophy, barely 15, into the eponymous half-reptile. Desperate for a cure, she flees her bucolic realm for a decadelong quest, winding over mountains and through the ruins of technocratic Megalopolis to both moons. She encounters angels and centaurs and mermaids, tumbles into a passionate affair with her younger half brother, Joe, lights upon a quieter romance with a female enemy general, infiltrates the household of her diabolical grandmother Livia, and finally reunites with Joe after his death to conceive their child and retrieve the mystical Key that will at last enable her to reign as Queen Sophia. Yet this phantasmagoric journey, employing lush prose and stunning imagery, twisting backward and forward through time and across worlds, only serves as a framework for Sophy’s endless, didactic ruminations about life, death, nature, power, love, and so forth. Despite Sophy’s self-deprecating caveats, her gynocentric gnostic Platonism with a New Age varnish is presented as revealed truth, accepted by nearly every character except the most cartoonishly villainous.
If handed to exactly the right reader at the right time, this has the potentially to be revelatory, even life-changing; but most will find it baffling, irritating, or deadly dull. (Fantasy. 14 & up)