Book Review: Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen

1 May

ImageJakkin lives on Austra IV, a desert planet that used to house convicts. A bond-boy to the best dragon breeder on the planet, Jakkin’s talent for dragon training may very well be his only way to free himself from bond. But stealing a hatchling is dangerous business, and raising one out in the desert sands even more so. Battling an egg-sucking drakk, a weed-smoker named Likkarn, and a sarcastic girl named Akki, Jakkin triumphs and takes his worm to the fighting pits. He could lose everything there–or win everything, too. Does his dragon have what it takes to become a champion?

This is an older book, and this isn’t the first time I read it. I debated taking this from the library for some time because thus far my 52 Book Challenge has been made up of “new-to-me books” and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to break the streak. However, back in my day the “Pit Dragon Chronicles” were simply the “Pit Dragon Trilogy.” In recent years, a fourth book was published, and it’s been a decade since I read the first three so I thought I should give them a re-read before diving into the fourth.

That said, this book holds a lot of promise for both younger children–I first read the series when I was ten–and YA-loving adults. It has all the magic and adventure of sneaking and dragons and hideaways for kids, and all of the intricacies of world-building for those of us who need to know “why” things work the way they do. Austar IV is a beautifully imagined setting with all the ins and outs of culture and technicalities of climate and raising dragons fully thought-out and brought to life on the page. It’s one of those books I’d recommend to writers who want to improve their world-building because it has all of the details realized that might otherwise be overlooked.

The characters and plot were engaging, too–the dynamic between Jakkin and Akki was downright amusing, and I loved seeing them both grow as the dragon did. Jakkin himself grew from a bond-boy who gets in a little over his head to someone who can hold his own and knows exactly what he’s getting into.

A warning to all protective parents, however–the book does contain a lot of references to adult themes (three guesses what the “baggery girls” get up to) which some parents might not deem suitable for their ten-year-olds. I can testify that at ten it all went straight over my head. It was pretty eye-opening when I read it this time around!

Anyway, I love this book and absolutely recommend it to every dragon fan out there, and any YA fantasy/sci-fi lovers too. The entire series is fantastic, but then Jane Yolen rarely disappoints.

Did this book catch your interest? Check it out here!

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3 Responses to “Book Review: Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen”

  1. JD May 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Hey Emily, found your blog! 😀

    Loved this book series growing up; I can remember reading the original short story in Jane Yolen’s anthology “Here There Be Dragons” too!

    Out of curiosity, do you know when this particular cover illustration was made? I’m wondering why this illustrator rendered Jakkin more like a Harlequin romance cover hero than, you know, an adolescent boy?

    Hope you’re doing well down under!

    Best regards,
    JD

    • inkhearted May 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      I’m not sure why they used this cover either! The cover on my copy back home is a lot softer and Jakkin definitely looks like a boy. This one is cartoony which I guess would appeal to younger readers, but you’re right, Jakkin looks a lot older. Perhaps this is the Australian cover vs. US and they had different ideas about what would appeal to kids in the different countries? I’m not sure! I like the old cover better though. I can’t find when this one was put on, but I’ll do some digging.

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