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.
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.
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.
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.
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