Book Review: A Sending of Dragons by Jane Yolen

We’ve reached the third in what I believed was the final book in the Pit Dragon Chronicles trilogy. As it turns out, there’s a bonus fourth book in the series that came out twenty-two years after A Sending of Dragons was released. I might have to go pick it up. As the final book in a set, I have certain expectations about the main character reaching their destiny.

The Story

We left Jakkin and Akki fleeing into the mountains and finding a unique way to survive the deadly cold of Dark After which included sleeping inside the empty egg chamber of Jakkin’s beloved first dragon, Heart’s Blood, who was fatally injured in the escape from the explosion of Rokk Major. By doing so, both Jakkin and Akki gained the ability to communicate the same way dragons do as well as no longer being susceptible to the the cold of Dark After.

They are still being hunted and while hiding from the search helicopters they run across a cave system that leads deep inside a mountain. There, they meet new dragons and a strange group of humans who have survived outside the reach of civilization long enough that they’ve developed a number of strange traditions that both shock and confuse Jakkin and Akki.

Several of these traditions revolve around the dragons, such as a mother dragon being sacrificed at the birth of each human baby. Naturally, both Jakkin and Akki are shocked and appalled at this and struggle to make these strange people see the error in their ways. Their meddling is not well received and Jakkin and Akki must escape before they are caught and killed.

My Review

The expectation for the end of a trilogy is for the main character to achieve some sort of triumph that feels both surprising but inevitable. This book doesn’t do that. In fact, it leaves plenty of room for more to happen in the future which explains why another book was written. The other thing this book does is expose the readers to a new world and new people, something that I’ve seen many longer book series do to keep things interesting.

I was happy that A Sending of Dragons swayed away from all the political maneuvering that the previous book dove into so heavily, as I much prefer there to be more adventure and far less scheming between large faceless groups. There is still the presence of the Federation looking for Jakkin and Akki, but here it only serves to push our main characters toward their unforeseen goal.

Jakkin should have had some great triumph here as well, and while he did gain dragon like traits, there could have been so much more to show that he’d grown into himself and become the man he was supposed to be. Even without that, it’s still a fascinating read as we are shown the manner how dragons communicate and watch Jakkin and Akki learn how to do it as well.

Recommendations

When it comes down to it, this is still a really entertaining read, and stays true to the world and characters created so far. There is plenty of adventure and peril to keep the reading compelling. The scene where they sacrifice dragons does get a little gory and graphic, albeit in the same level of intensity of similar scenes depicting violence and dragon fighting. In all, the book stays balanced in it’s intensity levels to the previous two.

I give A Sending of Dragons 4/5 for not giving Jakkin a triumph at the end, but otherwise an excellent read.


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