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on 22 July 2002
I first read this book as a young teenager and because of it fell in love with the whole concept of dragons. This book and it's sequel 'Heart's Blood' tells the story of a boy with the courage to take a risk in order to give himself a better future, by stealing a dragon and training it to fight. Within this story is another plot, which is expanded further in the sequel. Any more info would spoil the story, but I'd recommend it to any young adult who can open their mind to possibilities.
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on 23 October 1998
I really liked this book. If you are really into dragons and wizards- like I am!- this book is for you. I think the author did a very good job discribing the planet and the livestyles of those who live there. I felt almost like I was a bonder living on the planet. I can't wait to read the sequel!
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on 14 June 2011
Like other reviewers, I read this book 'the first time round', the best part of a quarter of a century ago. I have fond memories of my local library's heavy hard-back copy.

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.
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on 6 January 2016
While I think I can see why some people rate this novel so highly, it just wasn't the story for me.

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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on 9 August 2014
this is the best of the trilogy and is a great stand alone book in its own right, my husband likes it also and hes not a big reader.
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on 21 April 2010
Really good book. I read it whrn I was younger and still thoroughly enjoyed reading it this time.
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