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Preview — Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley
Dragons are extinct in the wild, but the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park is home to about two hundred of the world's remaining creatures. Until Jake discovers a dying dragon that has given birth-and one of the babies is still alive.
The story begins when Jake is fourteen, and at first the reader might assume that he's ...more
1) It dragged. I'll explain: A lot of readers say Sunshine dragged. I always thought they were full of crap, Sunshine had, you know, Events going on, and the segues into world or character-building were genuinely interesting and not too distracting, for me at least. In Dragonhaven the main character rambles too, but his rambles repeat quite a bit so that readers ...more
But I think readers who come looking for the "typical" Robin McKinley novel are getting confused, and looking ...more
Unfortunately, reading them so close together was a reminder of how different the style of her recent books is compared to her older ones. "Sunshine" went in this direction, with long rambly sections where you realize the action hasn't advanced for pages, but "Drag ...more
There's a comment that I heard Joni Mitchell once say about music (specifically the songs she had written and performed). She says that no one asked Van Gogh to "paint Starry Night again, man".
With Robin McKinley's newer work, I expect it to compare to The Hero and the Crown or The Blue Sword. This book, in particular, doesn't compare very well. It's difficult to comprehend that the books are written by the same author. The story craft (supported by the well-chosen language) is not there like i ...more
Dragonhaven is in the latter category, complete with "thud". It's creatively conceived, but the style of writing, while perhaps believable (she writes as a teen-aged boy), does not make for engaging reading. It's to ...more
For the record, reading this immediately after A Natural History of Dragons was largely coincidence; it just seemed to be the most interesting thing I had to hand at the time. The coincidence did give me some good perspective, though, because each of ...more
The first new McKinley since Sunshine! Woo hoo! I was definitely excited to read this one because a) it was written by Robin McKinley and b) it’s about dragons. I am fond of dragons—fictional ones that is. So this book already had a lot going for it.
It didn’t disappoint. For one thing, I very much enjoyed Jake’s voice. It is not the one I’ve come to expect from Robin McKinley, but it was true to the character in a way that the voice of, say Spindle’s End wouldn’t have been. It was, in the end, J ...more
Finished it. Didn't like it. In the past I've loved McKinley's depictions of slow, not overly plotty processes of recovery or growing up, as in Deerskin or The Hero and the Crown; someone gets injured, mentally or physically, and it takes a long slow time to get better again. But it's another thing to have the character in question yammer on about how difficult and pain ...more
Aside from butchering the English language, the book starts out reading like a writer's block exercise. I plugged along because I loved Sp ...more
1) Non-linear storytelling. The storyteller jumps from past to present, with gaps of 2-5 years in between sections. The whole conceit of this book is basically "what would it look like if we treated dragons as an endangered species?" Thus, although events do propel the plot forward, McKinley is m ...more
I am very fond of Robin McKinley as an author, two of her books are long term favourite reads, her indisputable skills however are not well represented in this book.
Perhaps it is because it is meant as a 'young adult' book. The first couple of chapters were ...more
I kind of take offense with the people who hated this book because it was too convincingly like i ...more
The most striking thing initially about this book is its narrative voice: it’s told in the rambling and slangy voice of 18-year-old Jake Mendoza, replete with run-on sentences, pop culture r ...more
Jake and his father live and work at Smokehill National Park, a huge preserve for the endangered Draco australiensis (a.k.a. “flying, firebreathing dragons!”). Tourists come regularly but hardly anybody ever sees any dragons, though the Rangers swear they’re out there. Trust Jake to find a newborn dragon and bring it home in his shirt…now how does he raise it in secret, when it’s illegal to save a (dangerous!) dragon’s life? And what happens when the secret leaks ou ...more
Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books ...more