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.


Thank you for joining me as I reviewed A Sending of Dragons today on the blog. If you enjoyed reading this review and would like to see more, please consider connecting with me by either following the blog here on WordPress, liking my Facebook page, or subscribing to my newsletter. As an added bonus, newsletter subscribers receive free books, stories, and special offers every week.

Book Review: Heart’s Blood by Jane Yolen

We continue on our quest in returning to the books that made my childhood special. Last week we covered Jane Yolen’s Dragon’s Blood, the first of the Pit Dragon Chronicles and this week we dive straight into it’s sequel, Heart’s Blood.

As this is the middle book in a three book series, there has to be a major change that transforms the main character from how he started and gives a hint of where he might be going. Heart’s Blood does precisely this.

The Story

Jakkin ended Dragon’s Blood by becoming a master, meaning that he has his own dragon that he uses in dragon fights. He’s still paying off his debt to Sarkkhan and is allowed to use the training facility at his nursery to train his dragon Heart’s Blood. Meanwhile, there are politics afoot. There is a movement to make Austar a Federation planet instead of a Protectorate, which would mean that dragon fighting, the center pillar in their economy, would be outlawed.

Akki, Jakkin’s love interest who left at the end of book one, gets herself involved in this political movement in all the worst ways. Different forces at play use Akki to force Jakkin’s newfound status as a winning dragon trainer to help them with their plans.

All the while, Heart’s Blood lays a clutch of eggs and five hatch. Jakkin bonds with these dragons and starts to train them to fight as well. His confidence leads to disaster as one of these dragons is hamstrung and sent to the Stews to become food. Jakkin vows to never let something like that happen again.

Meanwhile, both Federation goons and the rebels are putting plans in action to push their respective agendas forward. Jakkin is finally reunited with Akki and given a task to deliver a package, or else.

The package blows up the biggest pit on the planet Rokk Major. Jakkin and Akki have been framed and both flee to the mountains with their dragons. If they can survive the deadly Dark After, a period of night where the temperatures drops to a deadly cold, then they might just make their escape.

My Review

I love dragons, interesting characters, adventure, and great worlds. I don’t love politics or government forces at work that crush the little people under their thumbs because they can. So, I have mixed feelings about this book. The parts that I liked, I really liked. There was plenty of action, adventure, and danger to keep things super interesting.

But, the secondary plot revolves around Senator Golden working toward his goal of making Austar a Federation planet in order to grant them the rights and protection that a Federation planet deserves against the rebels who want the planet to stay exactly as it is, thank you very much. They’ve gained wealth and prestige from dragon fighting. If the fighting is banned, they’d be reduced to nothing.

Jakkin should be on the rebels side because he’s very much part of the dragon fighting community, but it gets all twisty because of Akki who thinks that the fighting is barbaric and there has to be a better way.

That said, it’s still an entertaining read.

Recommendations

The violence and peril ramp up here as the different factions come into play against each other. There’s bombs, a murder, and lots more dragon fighting, as well as dragons dying. If you struggled with the intensity level of the first, you might want to stop there. That said, in all other regards the story is still very clean and super entertaining.

It’s a perfect read for boys and fantasy lovers ages 12 and up.

I rate Heart’s Blood 4/5 for being a great read but had some politics that I personally don’t enjoy.


Thank you for joining me as I reviewed Heart’s Blood Blood today on the blog. If you enjoyed reading this review and would like to see more, please consider connecting with me by either following the blog here on WordPress, liking my Facebook page, or subscribing to my newsletter. As an added bonus, newsletter subscribers receive free books, stories, and special offers every week.

Book Review: Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen

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.

The Story

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.

My Review

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.

Recommendations

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.


Thank you for joining me as I reviewed Dragon’s Blood today on the blog. If you enjoyed reading this review and would like to see more, please consider connecting with me by either following the blog here on WordPress, liking my Facebook page, or subscribing to my newsletter. As an added bonus, newsletter subscribers receive free books, stories, and special offers every week.