The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
by Cressida Cowell
In this fifth volume of Hiccup's awkward and funny viking adventures, a breed of "rouge dragon" is burning entire forests to a crisp, and a neighboring volcano threatens to erupt. Hiccup learns that instead of evacuating their home, or hopelessly standing their ground against the fearsome Exterminator dragons, he might just be able to stop the volcano from erupting by throwing the mysterious firestone back into it. So of course he sets off on the quest to do so, against his father's advice.
I'm not sure why, but this story started to loose me pretty early on. The plot is a bit more convoluted than the previous books, with explanations of various doings among sundry vikings in the past, including Hiccup's old enemy Al the Treacherous (a character I just find annoying). All of which past events affect the future course, and only Hiccup really figures out what happened and what's going on. It has to do with his parents' relationship as well, which I found a bit odd. I did like the part about the Viking tribal meeting where a special stone must be held in order to have the privilege of speaking, so of course they fought over the thing and the whole chaos was obviously meant to be the beginning of football. It was kind of clever. But my favorite character, Toothless, didn't seem to have much of a part this time, and the long pages of Hiccup arguing with Al got boring, especially as everything turned out to be not what it seemed. I get tired of that sometimes. So I didn't finish this one. Not sure if I'll try anymore in the series. I am curious about the one titled How to Break a Dragon's Heart- is it poor Toothless? but will take a good look at it before I start reading.
Abandoned ........ 246 pages, 2007