Title: Dragon’s Blood
Author: Jane Yolen
Series: The Pit Dragon Trilogy #1
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: Dragons are trained to fight to the death, and two determined teens help free them in this spellbinding saga. Training a dragon to be a fighting champion is the only way to freedom for fifteen-year-old Jakkin.
[One of the worst overviews ever. Essentially, picture the craggy, wasteland plains of Mars being converted into a penal colony. A gritty society has formed around the economy of training and fighting dragons. It’s a pretty cool concept. -Niki]
This was actually my second read-through of Dragon’s Blood, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time around. It’s book one in a four book series, and I wanted to refresh my memory on everything that happens before continuing on. As it turns out, I really hadn’t forgotten much, just that the book was a lot shorter than I remembered it being. Because of that, this review is also going to be short and sweet. :-)
It’s no secret that I love anything to do with dragons. The fact that this series sat gathering dust on my shelf for so long should be considered an ultimate shame in my household. It had an incredibly cool and original concept, some fun and likable characters, a unique setting (for a dragon book), and a plot that had me engaged right from the start!
As I mentioned in the overview, the concept really was my favorite part of Dragon’s Blood. These people were originally sent to the planet as prisoners, but after several generations had formed a gritty, functioning society. Dragons were already native to the planet, so it was only a matter of time before someone thought to capture one. From that grew an economy of selling dragons and their eggs, and training studs to fight each other in the pits. I found the entire thing fascinating and loved how thoroughly imagined Yolen’s society came across. The story starts out with a young slave boy trying to figure out how to steal a dragon egg from his master so he can raise a fighting dragon and win his way to freedom… it was awesome!
The only thing I had a hard time wrapping my head around was the all odd names. There were a lot of double k’s, and I found myself having to reorient a couple of times to make sure I was thinking about the right character. This was by no means a deal breaker, however, as the weird spellings actually had significance – communicating lineage and slavery status. I can get on board with just about anything if it serves a cool purpose, haha. In any case, other readers should probably try to read it a bit more carefully than I did.
Overall, this book had the same essence that made me fall in love with Anne McCaffrey, but was just different enough to feel like something original. If you enjoy Dragon books, I highly recommend adding this one to your list!
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