A review by cmbohn
Stand Short and Proud, by Billy Wong

3.0

Meg, together with a couple of friends, have set out as monster hunters. Their timing could not be worse. A truce on monsters has been declared and they’re left with no one to fight but bandits. Instead Meg and her partner Patrick enlist in the army. Meg’s sure their experience will make them valuable recruits, and it seems that she’s right. Despite her petite height, which she is VERY sensitive about, Meg gets right in the middle of a fight with what seems to be a reincarnation of an evil wizard. And if this guy comes back, the whole kingdom is in danger.

I really enjoyed this book. It reads like an adventure or a quest story, sort of a journey. Lots of training, marching, hanging about the camp, making new friends, that kind of thing. I was disappointed that there weren’t more women in the army. Their captain is a woman, but it would have been nice to have something approaching equal numbers. I also liked that this is not a romance. There’s no love interest in this at all. There’s friendship, camaraderie, and that’s it. Kind of a refreshing change.

I wish that the author had included a few paragraphs near the beginning to catch new readers (like me) up to speed with this series. I didn’t read the first one, and I was really lost at first. There was nothing in here about how Meg met her traveling companions, about the general, about this new truce with the monsters. Also a map would have been helpful, but then I always want a map!

Now for more serious criticism. While I liked the pacing of the story, I felt like the writing was a little choppy and the dialogue needed a little work. It didn’t flow as smoothly as it should have in places. Meg especially just couldn’t stop with the pithy remarks in the middle of a battle. Really? Maybe quit talking and just concentrate on fighting.

If you enjoy fantasy and action, I think you should give this one a try. I would definitely start with book 1, The Golden Dawn.