Dragon's Blood: 1 (Pit Dragon Trilogy) Paperback – 1 May 2004
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"An original and engrossing fantasy."--"The Horn Book"
"An original and engrossing fantasy."--The Horn Book
-An original and engrossing fantasy.---The Horn Book
About the Author
JANE YOLEN has written more than two hundred books for children and adults, including the three volumes in the Young Merlin Trilogy: Passager, Hobby, and Merlin. She has won several of the most prestigious awards in children's literature. Ms. Yolen lives in western Massachusetts and Scotland.
Top customer reviews
It's quite embarrassing and rather humbling on re-reading it now to discover just how well Jane Yolen knows the buttons to push to make a story appeal to a young teenage boy, and to see how deliberately she is doing so. Her skill has to be admired, given that she herself has never been a young teenage boy!
Although the first of four books, this stands on its own as a coming-of-age novel. The austere penal-colony world is beautifully and economically evoked, the protagonist is easy for the intended audience to like and relate to, and the plot does exactly what it says on the tin. The following three book (and especially the third) lack the atmosphere and charm of this first book, and turn the hero, Jakkin, into a bit of a dim bumbler, but are still enjoyable, and help flesh-out the world by forming a bigger story.
I liked the idea behind it more than I did the execution. The worldbuilding was heavy-handed and never really went deeply enough. A lot of it is exposited in the eleven page introduction which reads like a geography text book. There was a distinct lack of politics in the story, despite how the world was formed, and the book frequently dropped concepts or used unique words without fully explain them. It took me half of the book before I sussed what a fewmet was!
I also found the treatment of the dragons to be a little unpleasant. Yes, I know that they're fantasy creatures in a made-up setting but people treated these obviously intelligent creatures horribly throughout the novel - hitting them with sticks and cattleprods and forcing them to battle in violent cock-fights. Even Jakkin, who speaks as though he is forever concerned about his dragon's safety, is still very quick to shove her into a potential fight to the death.
The novel also contains some questionable material and so I'd advise parents read it before giving it to younger teens - there are frequent references to drug use and prostitution and some gory dragon-deaths throughout. However, the tone of the novel is fairly light and so it would make a quick and easy read for a teen reader.
In terms of the characters, I was also disappointed. Jakkin was okay, if a bit forgettable. I didn't dislike him but he sometimes behaved incredibly childishly and naively and so it was easy to forget that he was supposed to be fifteen. The other characters were far less interesting. The only female character of note was Akki, who existed to be a love interest for Jakkin. All of the other characters were pretty bland and the dialogue felt unrealistic and over dramatic.
All in all, it was okay for a light read. Fans of dragon stories might get a kick out of it but there are far better YA fantasies out there.
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