the Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup the Viking
by Cressida Cowell
Another fun little book detailing the adventures of the awkward little viking named Hiccup. In this second installment, Hiccup and his fellow young vikings get involved in a trip to a gloomy island inhabited by particularly vicious wild dragons, in search of an ancestral treasure. As usual, Hiccup has to prove himself against his bullying cousin Snotlout, who looks like a better prospect for becoming the future Chief (as he's better at fighting, brutality, etc.) But when Hiccup and his friend Fishlegs find themselves pitted against an enormous beast in an underground cavern, they unexpectedly find their own set of fighting skills. Hiccup also shows his character in making the right decision when faced with the evil that greed for riches could bring to his people. The story has dangerous swordfighting lessons, a shipwreck, mysterious messages, encounters with treacherous and cannibalistic slave traders, and of course the antics of Hiccup's recalcitrant pet dragon Toothless. Something I didn't mention when I discussed the first book is the illustrations. They're rough, ink-splotched sketches intended to look like a kid drew them. I found them amusing at first, but then they started to just feel repetitively disappointing. But I'm sure kids would get a kick out of them!
Rating: 3/5 ........ 212 pages, 2004
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