Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Handbook for Dragon Slayers” as Want to Read:
Handbook for Dragon Slayers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Handbook for Dragon Slayers

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  1,026 Ratings  ·  196 Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Princess Matilda, whose lame foot brings fear of the evil eye, has never given much thought to dragons, attending instead to her endless duties and wishing herself free of a princess's responsibilities.

When a greedy cousin steals Tilda's lands, the young princess goes on the run with two would-be dragon slayers. Before long she is facing down the Wild Hun
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by HarperCollins
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Handbook for Dragon Slayers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Handbook for Dragon Slayers

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

Previously: Saw the cover for this tonight at Written in the Mitten. Gorgeous (though now all I'll be able to think about when I see it was the discussions it caused on horse and dragon proportions and genetics (ish)...)
And then: Just for my own records, my copy has 320 pages, not 240. 320 glorious pages.
This is 2 lovely, perfect books in a row now; I am decidedly in Merrie Haskell's corner.

A couple of days ago, I gushed about The Princess Curse, which is sort of loosely connected to H
Feb 03, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it
This is a middle grade title about Tilda, a young princess who’s much more interested in writing her own book than she is in being a princess. Particularly given how little her people seem to like her. Born with a deformed leg that requires her to use a cane to get around, she often finds herself the target of whispers and gossip and general nastiness. So when the bad guy sets out to steal her lands and title, Tilda considers it no real loss.

I haven’t done a lot of middle grade reading–something
Brandy Painter
Dec 06, 2012 Brandy Painter rated it really liked it
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I was super excited to win a copy of Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell in a Goodreads giveaway. I had reservations about Haskell's The Princess Curse (my thoughts), but I liked her writing so much I was eager to try another of her books. Handbook for Dragon Slayers is a great tale of adventure, friendship, and discovering who you are.

Tilda is not the typical heroine of a princess story, even a rebellious princess story. She is
Okay, a few things about this book: if contemporary idiom in a medieval setting bothers you, you'll have problems. If you want either by-the-book avoidance of anachronisms despite the fantasy OR your more recently-typical "feisty" heroine, you'll have problems. If, on the other hand, you're fine with modern speech (as long as it's consistent) and you like the idea of a heroine who wants nothing more than to be in a cloister so she's able to work on her manuscripts uninterrupted by other duties, ...more
Rachel Neumeier
Sep 09, 2013 Rachel Neumeier rated it really liked it
In contrast to the earlier The Princess Curse, which was a 12 Dancing Princesses retelling with a dash of Beauty and the Beast, Handbook for Dragon Slayers is not a retelling.

Handbook does pull in plenty of fairy tale elements, though – the princess, the nasty villain who wants to take over her lands, magic horses, dragons, the Wild Hunt (I’m a big fan of the Wild Hunt). What an adult reader will notice that a kid would probably miss is the depth of research that went into the book: a pfennig fo
Katie Lawrence
Mar 18, 2014 Katie Lawrence rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This was a fantastic fantasy novel that dealt with issues I have not previously encountered in the genre. Tilda is a princess who has been challenged since birth with a lame foot - something people in her town regard as a curse. Because of her injury, Tilda has been kept from many activities and many villagers mistreat or ignore her outright. While Tilda does face many challenges due to her foot, I loved that Handbook for Dragon Slayers is not too focused on her challenges. Instead, we get to se ...more
Aug 27, 2012 Nafiza rated it really liked it
Merrie Haskell’s The Princess Curse is one of my favourite MGs so when I managed to pick up her sophomore novel at ALA, I was beyond thrilled. Of course it languished in my reading pile for quite a long while until one of my cohort who had attended ALA with me told me how much she had loved it. And that was it. I knew I had to read the novel and I pounced on it as soon as I got home.

And I did love it. Oh I loved it in so many ways for so many reasons. First there was the world class world buildi
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 17, 2014 Joan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers and or disabled youth.
This was the Schneider award for middle grades. The heroine, Tilda (short for Mathilda) is heir to a principality, one that has a lot more independence than many other principalities. However, she has a foot that is points inward as well as twists over so she has to walk on the outer edge of her foot. She only sees those people who figure she is bad luck. Her two friends want to fight dragons. She goes along after they rescue her from being kidnapped so she'd have to forfeit her principality. Th ...more
Mar 30, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Honestly, the elements in this book could have been specifically ordered just for me: smart girls, adventure, ambition, magic, and dragons! (Fabulous dragons!) So it's no surprise that I really liked the first half of the book, and I absolutely fell in love with the second half, when the magical elements really kicked into gear.

Tilda, the heroine, is wonderful - smart, responsible, willful and determined, with a disability that informs her character but never, ever defines it. Better yet, she s
Kayla Eklund
Feb 16, 2013 Kayla Eklund rated it it was amazing
When I was starting Handbook for Dragon Slayers, I wasn't sure whether I was going to like it or not. It's a middle grade novel, and I don't usually read middle grade. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The book turned out to be enjoyable.

The plot was fun. It kept me wondering how Tilda was going to get out of her current predicament and what she was going to get into next. It was also interesting to try to figure out how she was going to get Alder Brook back from her cousin Ivo.

I really adm
Amy Rae
I've been putting off reviewing this one because I haven't been entirely sure what I want to say, but I did finish it some days ago now. Which day is a guess at this point, lol.

Anyway, I enjoyed it, on the whole. I feel like it goes off the rails a little by the end, but I adore the medieval German setting, the fact that my bb St. Hildegarde von Bingen shows up, and the way Haskell tries to avoid falling into the "well, you were born a princess so obviously you're the one rightful ruler" trap th
Oct 08, 2013 Zoe rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
This book is packaged like a straight fantasy children's novel, but don't be fooled - it's a fabulous tale of a princess, born with a club foot, who is not ready to assume her responsibilities. She goes on a quest with some friends to find more information on dragons, and learns a great deal about them - and herself. Intrigue, cursed hunters and their enchanted horses, a smarmy prince who likes black magic, and a great coming of age tale. The moral of finding balance between your responsibility ...more
Jun 07, 2013 Christen rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed following Tilda on her journey. I liked the emphasis on the multi-faceted relationships she has with both Judith and Parz. Some good messages hidden in a fun fantasy romp with dragons and magic.
Jul 15, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2012 Liz rated it it was amazing
pretty good. i hope she cotinues Reveka's story!
Feb 09, 2017 Danya rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This book was really adorable! Princess Tilda would rather spend her days working as a scribe than ruling over the people of Alder Brook, especially since they ridicule her for her splayed foot. But when the opportunity to go on a dragon slaying adventure presents itself, Tilda learns that the stories make quests sound a lot more glamorous than they really are.

Middle Grade can be tough for me since I'm a bit picky about writing style, but Haskell did a great job making this one accessib
Jan 10, 2017 Christopher rated it liked it
An interesting take on the princess / dragon story. If you have a fan of dragons in your house (like I do) it's a good recommendation.
Jan 01, 2014 Anya rated it really liked it
Shelves: dragons
Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell grabbed me because of that gorgeous cover and of course dragons! Though I have to admit I was nervous about a book that was about slaying dragons instead of thinking they are awesome. Fortunately I was in for a happy surprise with that, though I won’t give away too much ;-). There was some weirdness with the setting that kept throwing me out of the world, and I’ve never been good with non-plot driven novels, but in the end Handbook for Dragon Slayers ...more
Harold Ogle
Jul 14, 2014 Harold Ogle rated it really liked it
I found this to be a pleasant surprise: a children's novel with a number of atypical choices, enough so that it felt nothing like a typical "turn the crank, produce another book according to formula" juvenile fiction story. I've railed about this in many other reviews, but the thinking in children's fiction for the last eighty years or so has been that the writer has to get the parents out of the way in order for the children to have adventures, as the parents would obviously protect the childre ...more
Becky B
Princess Tilda doesn't often get to travel, thanks to her twisted foot, so she jumps at the chance to go help Sir Kunibert the dragon slayer straighten out his accounts. Little does Tilda know that a simple trip to help someone using her reading and writing skills will turn into quite the adventure. While at Sir Kunibert's Boar House Tilda and her companion Judith are reunited with Sir Kunibert's apprentice Parz. Tilda greatly enjoys being away from her home where she can get more time to do her ...more
Kevin Tibbs
Jun 03, 2013 Kevin Tibbs rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book from the author via twitter.

I'm a grown man and I don't often read books aimed for children, but I love contests and winning and free books. I won this and not reading/reviewing it seemed rude.

This book is for "middle grades" which I had to look up. It's chapter books, but younger than tween/teens and I'd say this book would hit that demographic quite solidly. I read this book quickly and I think I enjoyed it as much as I could given the mismatch in ta
Ms. Yingling
Feb 01, 2014 Ms. Yingling rated it really liked it
Tilda is tired of being the caretaker of Alder Brook, since her father was killed in the Crusades and her mother is off trying to get a betrothal for her. Tilda just wants to run away to a cloistered scriptorium and write a book of her own thoughts, even though her life is lacking in adventure. She also feels bad that her lame foot causes the people of her kingdom to make fun of her, and makes no one want to marry her. When she heads off with her handmaiden Judith to help Sir Kunibert of Boar Ho ...more
Jul 31, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it
Shelves: theme, read-in-2015
"Ignorance does not make the wrong choice into the right one. And fate is sealed by choices."

Princess Matilda is duty bound to Alder Brook. With her father killed in the crusades, she is obligated to take over the castle when she marries or turns 21. Until then, her mother is regent and constantly lecturing Matilda about duty. But how can she be the princess? The people think she is cursed because of her deformity. They think it's proof of the evil eye and they either give her a wide berth, make
Jan 15, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
(mild spoilers)

I actually like the "rebellious princess" trope found in Handbook for Dragon Slayers mostly because Tilda is rebellious not because it just seems to come naturally with the role of princess, but because a.) she’s afraid of what her people think about her and b.) she’s afraid that she can’t rule her people well. Give me that over random, no development, “I could never live that way!” statements any day. To make things even better, she recognizes that she has a duty, and she places

i knew that i was in for a treat when i picked up handbook for dragon slayers. when we’re introduced to the heroine we quickly find out that she has a deformity that stamps her an outcast making the people around her sign against the evil eye. mathilda is the princess of alder brook and a half orphan. when the story begins her protective mother is currently abroad. standing or walking for too long shows its effect on her lame foot and she needs to rest and massage it.

this is why she likes t
Mar 08, 2016 Briana rated it liked it
Merrie Haskell is one of my solid go-to middle grade fantasy authors.  I find most of her books enjoyable, though generally a little confusing when I look too closely at the climax and the magical details.   Handbook for Dragon Slayers was no exception.

Protagonist Tilda, a princess who thinks she’d rather not be royalty because she’s certain her people don’t like her anyway, is a spunky girl who will appeal to readers who have ever struggled with responsibility.  Tilda is certain anything must b
Feb 18, 2014 Jenna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of A School of Good and Evil
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
Rambling review originally posted on The Otaku Librarian.

3.75 stars!

Matilda grew up with an inordinate amount of attention being paid to her. Not because she's a Princess, or anything, because she of her splayed foot. When her evil cousin Ivo takes her mother captive and kidnaps Matilda as well, intending to steal their land, what is a Princess to do? Go slay dragons, of course.

Ok, I have to admit in the beginning, I found this an oddly paced book and I really didn't like Matilda as a character
Amy M
[I won an ARC through Goodreads First reads.]

Princess Mathilda, or Tilda as she's more commonly known, isn't your typical heroine. For starters she's lame, born with a twisted foot she has to live with its pain daily, and has been forbidden to do things like ride horses. You'd think that would free up her time considerably and allow her to spend as much as she'd like reading and being a scribe (as that is what Tilda wants to do), but that isn't so. Her mother wants her to be like any typical pri
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Handbook and Princess Curse 3 16 Jan 04, 2014 10:19PM  
  • A Box of Gargoyles (Maya and Valko #2)
  • Renegade Magic (Kat, Incorrigible, #2)
  • Sleeping Beauty's Daughters
  • The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle (The League of Princes, #2)
  • Operation Bunny (Wings & Co, #1)
  • A Question of Magic
  • Iron Hearted Violet
  • Frogged
  • Rose (Rose, #1)
  • Darkbeast (Darkbeast, #1)
  • Jinx (Jinx #1)
  • The Vengekeep Prophecies
  • The Luck Uglies (The Luck Uglies, #1)
  • The Real Boy
  • Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle
  • The Lost Kingdom
  • Falcon in the Glass
  • Dragonborn (The Flaxfield Quartet, #1)

Share This Book

“Ignorance does not make the wrong choice into the right one.” 6 likes
“Birds have a powerful sense of home.” 4 likes
More quotes…