Sep 18, 2008

Dragonhaven

by Robin McKinley

I actually finished reading this a few days ago, but my head has been too stuffy to think. So this may not be as coherent as usual, but here goes. Dragonhaven takes creatures of fantasy and puts them in the everyday world, realistic except that in this alternate universe there is a loch ness monster (with male suitors) and intelligent life on Mars (in the form of sentient lichens). Dragons are a rare, endangered species, and only exist in a few protected areas- one of which is Smokehill National Park. Jake grew up there at the park's Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies- which studies the dragons, fights to protect them, and displays their lizard relatives in a zoo to make (barely) enough money to stay afloat. Dragon conservation is a highly controversial thing- so this book has plenty of animal rights activists, conservation laws, politics, discussions of scientific attitudes, questions of animal intelligence, funding difficulties, dealings with tourists, and rescued orphaned wildlife. Most of which are ordinary things like raccoons and squirrels. It's against the law to save a dragon (because they're so dangerous). So when Jake finds an orphaned baby dragon and tries to raise it, he's doing something no one has attempted before, and causes a huge uproar. Told from Jake's point of view, the book is mostly a rambling account (with many asides) of being "mom" to the baby dragon. I liked the story, even though it requires a lot of patience to get through all Jake's wandering thoughts. There's not much action until near the end, and then some loose ends are wrapped up in the quiet final chapters.

I first heard of this title on It's All About Books.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 342 pages, 2007

7 comments:

Nymeth said...

Dragons as an endangered species in our world...I like the idea. Sounds like a worthwhile read.

Trish said...

Get better soon, Jeane!

Suey said...

Interesting to read your take on this book. I had to click on my link there to remember what I had to say about it! And yes, then I remembered that I thought it was good, but not great.

3m said...

Congrats! You've won a pbs or bookmooch point in my contest. Let me know which one you'd prefer.

Michelle
1morechapter.com

janet said...

This sounds like a story that might have worked better with a few tweaks -- like a different narrator.

Jenny said...

Have you read anything else by Robin McKinley? Dragonhaven isn't her best by far - I was pretty disappointed in it myself. But Beauty is fantastic, and so is Sunshine - though Sunshine has a lot of asides also, they tend to be more interesting. Beauty is her first book, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast; and Sunshine is about a girl who gets captured by vampires and forms a sort of alliance with one of them. Well worth a read!

Jeane said...

Yes; I just recently read Sunshine. I've read ten other books she wrote- but not all are reviewed here yet. Beauty is the first one I ever read, and still remains my favorite.