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
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