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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Last Dragon Challenge Book

First, let me tell you that I read The Search For the Red Dragon by James A Owen before I read the following book of Dragonhaven. I put off writing my thoughts on it as I am awaiting Mr Owen's permission to also show the cover to his next book The Indigo King... so I will proceed with the last book on the list of books to be read for the Dragon Challenge..

Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (September 20, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0399246754



To me, this book is a mixed bag of nuts!

While the story itself was very good, and very original (which made it interesting to read), it also drove me crazy!

If I were a publisher, and was sent the first chapter, which I might add is 34 pages long, I think I would have stopped reading right there! The book is written as if the teenage boy, Jake, was telling his story. (so far, not a problem) The problem comes when, as a teenage boy, he rattles on and on and on..... and on... and then... and then... refers back to what he already said! Now, I raised 2 sons, who of course were teenagers at one time, and never (NEVER) did I want to slap them across the face and yell, "Shut Up!" But that's just how I felt with Jake.

When I finished chapter one I set the book down and shook my head. I actually went back to my computer and pulled up the book title to reread what it said about it that made me buy this book! Hmmm.. yes, it says:

Viewing dragons as fire-breathing, non-sentient animals with gigantic appetites for livestock, humans have hunted them for centuries, and now they survive only in a few wilderness havens. Jake Mendoza has grown up at one such haven, the Smokehill National Park in the American West, and has inherited his scientist parents' commitment to the park's secret inhabitants. When he rescues an orphaned baby dragon, he sets in motion a cascade of events that may eventually save these top predators from extinction.
As an exhausted Jake explains, he is the first human in history to find out that a marsupial baby dragon out of its mother's pouch still expects a round-the-clock source of food, warmth, and company for over a year. Also, their telepathic communication gives Jake and his fellow Smokehill residents debilitating head-aches, and no one on either side is ever entirely sure they've got the message right.

Yep, that would catch my eye alright. But I let the book set several hours before going back to it. The next chapter better be better than the first one or that's it for this book! Yes, it irritated me THAT much!

The boy continued to rattle, but the magic word was spoken, "dragon". I pushed on, but skimmed here and there because if I didn't I'd smack Jake across the face! I have to say I forced myself to endure the nonstop chatter because the base of the story was really good. Very original, and that is always something you want to read. Never before had I read a story about "raising a dragon" nor the concept of dragons being marsupial!

There were a lot of great things going on here... but I can't deny the wet rag was getting through the rattling on and on and on, to me it was taken to extreme and affected how I felt about the whole book. If Robin McKinley based Jake on a certain someone, I truly feel sorry for the parent!

There really is a good story here, but you need to know ahead of time that you may have to fight your way through the book.

In the end, I'm glad I read it... though I don't know if it will be on my re-read list anytime soon!

9 Comments:

Blogger Cath said...

Excellent review which made me smile. I actually thought teenage boys were famous for hardly speaking at all, not for rattling on. LOL! I haven't read a lot of Robin McKinley... just 'Sunshine' I think, which I liked a lot but the girl in that rattles on a bit too.

Well done for finishing your dragon challenge! I haven't even started yet. My current book is 650 pages and is taking me a while what with hospital visits and so on.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Carl V. said...

Don't you hate it when you pick up a book that someone has actually spent money to publish and it turns out to be so poorly written that it is too frustrating to read? Must be especially frustrating when you've written your own work and wonder why something like this gets to see bookstore shelves.

9:22 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Cath: that was my thought too.. boys aren't generally talkers! Not to say some aren't. It was just more than was necessary to get the point across!!

Carl: Yes, it did make me wonder! But I am not a "writer" so I don't expect to be good enough to be published.. There are very few books I put down and don't pick up..even when I was reading out of my comfort zone!.. This one drove me crazy! It really was a good story!! Which made me more nuts that I felt I had to put up with the way it was told in order to read it!

9:44 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

Well, I have to say that the story itself does sound really, really good. But with so much out there that I'm dying to read, I'm thinking I can pass this one up and save myself the annoyance you had to live through!

9:48 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

debi: it really is very original which isn't easy to do .. so I'm still glad I read it. I do however think this same story could have been written so you enjoyed Jake and what he was going through!

11:44 AM  
Blogger Nymeth said...

You sure did finish this challenge fast! It sounds like such fun, I do wish I'd had the time to join.

Everything I've read by Robin McKinley made me think that she is actually a really good writer, so don't give up on her over this one! The story does sound good, it's too bad the protagonist rattled on so much.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Eh...this one doesn't sound like one for me. I have enough of a hard time staying on track with teenage boys counseling them! Congrats on finishing the challenge! You knocked that one out quick!

6:01 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

nymeth & chris: yeah well.. duh! the challenge came just when I began rereading the Pern books or I may not have joined lol.. maybe I would have anyway since so many books I read have dragons, but it was just to convient! You both know the only challenge I join is Carl's Fantasy one. (and last year the halloween one)

6:04 PM  
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