Dark Town: Level One of the Dragon's Crawl (Tales of Temerity #1), by Palmer Pickering

The Book

Dark Town
Series: Tales of Temerity
Pages: 410
Age Group: Adult
Published on 4/29/2024
Publisher: Self-Published
Available on:


Part cozy, part bloody, all fun.

Hidden underneath the small town of Haverly Arms lies an entrance to the Dragon’s Game, an extensive world where adventurers compete to collect power objects and progress to the next level.

Temerity’s father and brothers have been down in the game for years, leaving Temerity and her mother, plus their house goblin, Half-pint, to manage their tavern. Bored with small-town life, Temerity decides to enter the tunnel labyrinth, launching an adventure to survive Level One of the Dragon’s Game: Dark Town.  

My Review

Dark Town is the first book in the Fantasy LitRPG series Tales of Temerity, written by Palmer Pickering. I beta read an early draft of this book, and also technically reread it as an ARC reader; both times I can say this is a fun and really enjoyable game, with characters that will stay with you, and an interesting worldbuilding that organically introduces the progression elements into the novel.

Temerity is a young women, bored with her life; taking care of the family's tavern in the company of her mother and their hobgoblin Half-pint, while her brothers and dad left to try luck in the Dragon's Game. In the company of Half-pint, she will decide to adventure into the Dragon's Game, in search of adventures and also to find news about her family; starting a challenge that will allow her to grow as a character while introducing us to the own world created by the dragons.

In that regard, we have a classical LitRPG adventure, with progression systems, weaponry, gems and roles; all smoothly implemented into the own narrative. If it's your first foray into the genre, you will certainly find it quite handy, as the soft system allows for the classical progression during the adventure, but more on what you could expect from a D&D game (there are some moments that are totally DM intervening into the game).

Talking a bit more about the characters, while Temerity is the main character and we certainly connect with her and her struggles, I would say this book is the show of Half-pint. He's the mentor figure, explaining and guiding Temerity across the game, half-snarky and sarcastic, but having a soft spot that definitely stole my heart.

Worldbuilding is an aspect that shines in Dark Town, as Pickering has mixed classic fantasy elements such as elfs, taverns, adventurers with the litRPG ones; and I find especially smart how the own dungeon crawler aspects are justified by the own world lore, tied to the dragon divinities.

If you are looking for a pallate cleanser between heavier reads, or you just want a fun foray into the litRPG genre, Dark Town is a great choice; Pickering has shown again her versatility to jump between genres, writing a nice adventure!

PS: The illustrations included in the book are stunning.

The Author/s

Palmer Pickering

Palmer Pickering

Palmer has been writing fiction since she was eight. She received her BA in American Studies from Wesleyan University, with concentrations in Religion and Race Relations.

She currently works in Silicon Valley in the gaming industry and high tech. In addition, Palmer holds a certificate in Chinese Acupressure, is a certified solar panel installer, and studied Tibetan Buddhism with the 14th Dalai Lama.

She lives and writes in the magical redwood forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, California.