Jul 27, 2009

Dragon's Heart

by Jane Yolen

In this fourth volume of Jane Yolen's Pit Dragon Series, Jakkin and Akki have returned from the mountains to find many things changed. During their absence, the bondage system was annulled worldwide, and an embargo was placed on their planet, isolating it from offworld supplies. While Jakkin finds himself caught up in confusion at the dragon nursery, seeing new faces among familiar ones, finding new customs among old, Akki makes her way back to the city. She hopes to pursue her studies in medicine, but against her will gets caught up in politics and rebel violence again. Through all this, the pair agonize over how to keep their new knowledge of dragon powers a secret, but in the end it just might be those draconic abilities that can save them- if they dare risk the exposure...

I was pretty disappointed in Dragon's Heart. As a teen I loved Yolen's dragon books, as an adult it seems I don't. My first problem was that it felt like the first eighty pages or so were constantly re-hashing what took place in the prior three books. And then I had trouble getting involved in the story. It felt like many parts of the plot closely echoed parts of the other books; like I wasn't reading anything new. Some parts felt really contrived, others just dull. There was too much about politics, not enough about the dragons. It finally got interesting on about p. 260, but then I found the ending disappointing. My opinion of the first three books in this series is so colored by nostalgia, I can't really tell if I'm just a more critical reader now as an adult, or have lost my appreciation for J fiction, or if it just isn't as well-written. If someone's reading this series for the first time, I'll be glad to hear what you think.

(I guess I feel so bad about it because this is the first time in years I actually went out and bought a brand-spanking-new book, I was so anxious to read it. My public library didn't have it, and of course it was too new to be up on any of the swap sites. So I went and bought it- and then didn't like it- and thought of all the used books those $16 could have got me instead... although there was something delicious about the fresh fresh smell of the ink and paper, and being the first person to open its covers...)

Rating: 2/5                      391 pages, 2009

More opinions at:
Book Obsession
The Writer's Notebook
Deep Thoughts


Sam said...


I'm worried for the same reasons. I was in love with the original trilogy as a child, and when I heard this was coming out I was SO EXCITED. I hope I enjoy it more than you did, lol. Actually, I am due for a re-read of the original three before I pick this one up.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've given consideration to reading these books with my kids. I can't remember though if the review I saw was for this book or one of the others, but I was intrigued. So would you say the first three are worth my time?

bermudaonion said...

I'm not much for fantasy, so I think I'll skip this one.

Jeane said...

Sam- I re-read the first three recently, so they were pretty fresh in my mind when picking up this one. I do hope you like it more.

Sandy Nawrot- I would definitely give the first three a try. They're great!

Bermudaonion- Yeah, not really the best of its genre.

Jenny said...

Maybe I'll try to get this from the library. When I read the originals, it took me two tries to get into them, and then I loved them! But I'll drastically lower my expectations for this one.

Jeane said...

Jenny- sorry to say, but yeah, don't expect too much. I might be wrong, maybe it's just me- I do hope someone else likes them better!