A few weeks ago I indulged in reviewing one of the series that shaped my reading experience as a kid, The Belgariad by David Eddings. Let’s do it again! For the next four weeks we’ll dive into Jane Yolen’s original three books of the Pit Dragon Chronicles.
Jakkin is a bond boy, a slave who can earn his freedom if he gathers enough coin, to a dragon nursery owned by Sarkkhan. They live on a dangerous desert planet Austar IV that gets deadly cold at night. On Austar IV there’s only one thing that drives the economy, dragons. They are used as both entertainment and food.
As bond boy, the opportunities for earning coin are few and far between. If Jakkin is going to earn enough to leave before he’s too old and injured to make his place in the world, he’s going to have to do something drastic. When he learns of a recently laid clutch of eggs, he makes his move and steals one, relying on an inner sense that tells him that the egg he chose is special. If he can train up the dragon to be a winner in the fighting pits, Jakkin can pay off his bond price far faster.
Little does he know that Sarkkhan has been watching all this from a distance. Jakkin trains his dragon and takes it to fight only to spot Sarkkhan in the crowd. To his surprise, Sarkkhan isn’t angry over the theft of the egg and instead offers Jakkin a trainer position at the nursery and offers to help him train his dragon.
There’s also a cute “friendship to more” story between Jakkin and Akki, a girl also bonded to Sarkkhan. She discovers Jakkin’s secret and offers to help him in his quest toward freedom.
This was one of the few books that I read over and over as a kid because it had elements I loved, such as danger, dragons, and instances of the main character getting seriously injured and how they dealt with it. It also had a much different world than standard fantasy, which instantly made it that much more interesting. Desert landscape that can and will kill you at night, yes, please!
The writing and character development is also nicely done with plenty of interesting tidbits to make each character stand out.
Heart’s Blood is a fun, short romp through a well developed world and is full of adventure and dragons – which is a win for most. It’s target audience is young boys and I’d recommend it for ages 10 and up. It’s a clean read with some mentions of blood and violence as you’d expect from depictions of dragon fighting.
I rate Heart’s Blood 5/5 for being a great teen read.
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