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Joust (Dragon Jousters #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,938 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
For the first time ever, national best-selling legend Mercedes Lackey draws from her extensive knowlege of animals—and her professional background as an avian expert—to create something truly special...

The most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.

It is a richly conceived, fully realized vision, inspired by the culture of ancient Egypt, the
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 4th 2003 by DAW (first published March 2nd 2003)
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Emmalee Not really. There aren't any retelling of fairy tales or anything like that. This is a complete stand alone series. Do you like dragons and egypt?
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 21, 2007 Joana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy and dragon lovers
As a dragon enthusiast I jumped for joy when I found this book on the bookshelf at my local bookstore. After I read it I couldn’t help but think that this was what a dragon book should be. Mercedes Lackey has always been one of my favorite fantasy writers and in this book she proves why she deserves all of the praise that she gets. Fans of Anne McGaffry’s Dragonriders of Pern series will not be disappointed in this book. Despite the fact that Joust revolves around dragonriders, referred to as Jo ...more
Sep 23, 2009 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dragons
I was something of a Mercedes Lackey fan when her earliest books came out -- not a fanatical fan by any means, but I read and sought out the subsequent Valdemar books as they came out. Somewhere along the way I moved on to other things, and the reviews on her later offerings didn't motivate me to return.

I picked up Joust recently, in part because I was looking for a book of a certain length to read at a 10-12 pages a night from mid-August through September. This turned out to be an ideal book fo
Jul 18, 2008 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People new to stories involving dragons
Recommended to Allison by: :( Fond memories of other series
When I picked this up, I expected to really enjoy it. After all, I like Mercedes Lackey's writing, and it had been a long time since I had read any good dragon-focused fiction. Sadly, it seems as if Lackey lifted this story from one of my favorite series of all time- The Pit Dragon Trilogy by Jane Yolen.

Although I will admit that the whole dragon and his boy theme is old as dirt, reading Joust was more like deja-vu than I ever could have imagined. Both stories take place in dry, arid locations
Apr 15, 2013 Kelsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read that many Mercedes Lackey books, even though she’s one of the most popular and prolific fantasy writers today. I picked up Joust for $1 during a Borders closing sale. The plot follows Vetch, a young serf plucked from his cruel master’s yard to become a dragon boy to the jouster Ari and dragon Kashet. The world is Ancient Egypt with a little magic and a few flying serpents.

The beginning is slow. Very slow. It takes 23 pages for Vetch to fetch a bucket of water. Of course, if someon
Dec 21, 2014 Reader-ramble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ancient Egyptian inspired setting with dragons. A slow burner, but I enjoyed it.
Daniel Schwabauer
The care and feeding of dragons in ancient Egypt.

This book was my first experience with the work of Mercedes Lackey. Joust is moderately enjoyable, in spite of the fact that very little actually happens in it. Presumably this is because the author is using the story to set up a larger series, but I would have preferred half as many words and twice as much conflict.

That said, it is probably to the author's credit that she was able to drag me through 400+ pages of internal monologues. (The first 2
Kelsey S. Hock
I liked Joust.

This was my first read of Lackey's and I enjoined it well enough. The few characters (3-4) that were developed were three dimensional and real enough. The plot was good, if not fast paced, and the world building/dragon knowledge well thought through.

What took this down from a five star?

I could probably summarize this 373 page book in less than five plot points. It was definitely slow moving, and I can't help but feel it would have been better if it was a little hacked down and its
Apr 02, 2012 Dani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever gotten that feeling, after finishing a book? That amazing feeling, of "wow." Simple amazement, and knowledge that what you have just read will remain with you forever? That's how I felt after gently closing the cover of Joust by Mercedes Lackey. Interestingly, if you ask me for a list of my all-time favorite books, fully half would be written by Lackey, while the other half is pulled from every author, genre, and intended audience. This book was certainly one of my very favorite. ...more
Sarah (Inklings Read)
Jun 25, 2011 Sarah (Inklings Read) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen
Shelves: favorites, own, ebook
Vetch, a serf working for a terrible and abusive master, knows nothing but servitude until Jouster Ari comes along. Taking Vetch under his wing, he gives him no more work than he can handle, teaches him the ways of dragons, and trusts him with the care of his dragon, Kashet. Soon after, Vetch has dreams of raising a dragon of his own.

I must address an issue here before I start my review. Many people see this series as comparable to The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen, and in many ways it is…
This story was really good. It's set in a world composed of two kingdoms (or at least it only mentions two) Alta and Tia. Kvetch is a Altan serf to a cruel Tian master who owns the land that Kvetch's family used to own. Kvetch is rescued by Ari, a Tian jouster and dragonrider. Ari gives Kvetch the job of taking care of his dragon. Kvetch is fascinated by the dragons and tries to learn all he can about them... Tian (and later you find out Altan) society seems to resemble ancient Egypt (dress, set ...more
Ms. Okes
Mercedes Lackey has long been a favorite author of mine, so it may not be possible for me to dislike a book of hers. Joust lands solidly in the middle of my personal range. Although the story is good and has room for great political development, the first installation fell flat in the imagery that I have come to expect from her.

Vetch was a serf (lower than a slave), rescued from an abusive master to be taken to the Tian fortress where dragons are raised, trained, and based for war against Vetch'
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
New series by Ms. Lackey is awesome! I'm rating this a 3.5 but since I only round down, it's showing up as a three. I loved the attention to detail on showing how to take care of a dragon. The opposing forces are ominous. I know which side I'd pick. This book reminded me of Ms. McCaffrey's dragon singer series. When Menolly raised the fire dragons, this book is similar in several ways. Enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one.
Shannon  A
May 20, 2016 Shannon A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
This book made me realise something in particular I really enjoy in books; learning about things. I get it, I'm a big nerd even in my spare time. I thoroughly loved learning about caring for the dragons, saddling, buffing, etc. Will I ever get to meet a Dragon to carry it out? No! Would I be able to do it though? Probably!

Thanks Mercedes Lackey
Feb 01, 2016 Eli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a few reviews which compared this to ancient Egypt and I rather liked, and agreed with, that comparison.
I was a bit concerned at first since the story starts out jumping the main character ahead than where I thought it would go, but there was a lot of additional plot for him at the Jousters Compound and many small experiences he had to go through.
It was a bit predictable, a classic story of slave-wishing-for-freedom, but overall it was very enjoyable. It’s an easy story to follow and eas
Feb 23, 2014 Birgit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little boy separated from his family during a war is made a serf by the enemy and lucky to be saved from maltreatment from his present owner by one of the Dragon Jousters, who takes him into service. Follow the tentative friendship developping between these two "enemies", suffer with Vetch, the serf, who so wants a dragon of his own to escape back to his homeland, but it means to leave Ari, the Jouster, who has become a friend.
Mercedes Lackey, as usual, writes a brilliant tale, of friendship b
Maris Mckay
I'm not sure whether I'm irritated that so little actually happened in 442 pages, or amazed that Mercedes Lackey made it so interesting. The entire book covers just over a year, with the first 108 pages devoted to one. single. day.
Still, the pacing didn't seem slow while I was reading it, and the world she creates is very interesting (I'm already reading the second book). The continuous repetitions and inner monologuing just got a little old, and I found myself skimming parts. It's not her best,
Rena Sherwood
Mercedes Lackey may not know how to keep a series running, but she's a genius at getting them off to a bitchin' start. The first two books of this series are the only ones worth reading. Joust won't change the world if everyone read it, but at least the world may have a good time reading it...or making fun of it after they've read it.


Lackey's world here is easy to picture since it's based mostly on the premise that Egyptians had dragons. Well, they're not called Egyptians but Tians (well, how di
Apr 04, 2014 Kris rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
Just under 4 stars, actually. ;)
This is the first in a 4-book series, set in an alternate history of ancient Egypt, where there are dragons used in warfare. The book follows the story of young Vetch, a starved and beaten serf (basically a slave with fewer rights) who is 'requisitioned' by a dragon riding jouster, named Ari. Vetch becomes Ari's dragon boy, charged with taking care of both man and dragon. His new life is light-years better than his old, but he still has to serve his enemy. But Ari
Feb 17, 2014 Hallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mercedes Lackey is one of my all-time favourite authors, so even though I didn't know anything about this world besides it featuring jousting dragonriders, it was comfortable and easy to slip into.

The beginning was a bit slow, easing us towards the plot and the world as a whole. The dragons, I loved- despite being a huge Pern fan, I do appreciate the notion of them as large, hungry, and smart while remaining non-sentient beasts. The blending of cat, hunting hound, and falcon traits in their nat
Jul 03, 2013 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosu Aquabutts
"I liked it."

Finished this one a while back as well. This is one of the few Mercedes Lackey universes that I HAVEN'T ever read before, so this was my first time in the world, and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

It was different from a lot of Lackey's other books in that I didn't care so much about the characters, but I really enjoyed the world. It was a really cool, different, unique sort of world, and it seemed that the book was more just a tour through that world than anything else. It didn'
Jan 09, 2013 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, high-fantasy
A solid, competently done coming-of-age fantasy story. There's nothing terribly unique here, but it's very well executed. Lackey knows what she's doing and has developed a fully-realized world with easily visualized locations, lifestyles, and of course dragons.

It's primarily a set-up book, introducing the world, the players, and the dragons. There's good potential for the next volume as well.

A few quibbles: it really isn't very original. Jane Yolen probably wonders where her royalty check is. Th
Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
This book has Ms Lackey's usual theme of a young person in distress rescued to a better life. And there's nothing wrong with that - it is a theme that never grows old, and resonates for everyone, whether their own circumstances be fortunate or unfortunate. We all love a bit of Cinderella and I believe this is one of the things that makes Ms Lackey's work so enduringly popular.

Of the competence of the writing I need say nothing. Ms Lackey is a very seasoned, well known writer and it would be impe
Mar 05, 2015 TheCosyDragon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I originally reviewed this book on my blog - The Cosy Dragon. For more recent reviews by me, please hop over there.

Vetch is as Altan serf labouring under a cruel and unjust master. Suddenly, Vetch finds himself swept up onto dragon-back and into the Tian dragon complex. Vetch is willing to work hard, but he is always consumed with anger against those who have killed his father and destroyed his rightful home.

Vetch is a fantastic character. Small and frightened, yet with a core of resiliency, he'
I first read Joust several years ago, when it was just a short story in a dragon anthology. It was my favourite story of the group, so I was overjoyed to learn that Lackey had expanded the story into a full-length book. And when I read it for the first time, I loved it.

I picked it up again, several years later, and I'm just not as in love with it as I used to be. It's a testament to Lackey's ability that she can make it interesting to read a year's worth of the character doing the same things ov
Carol Gibson
Dec 25, 2015 Carol Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-and-fantasy
This is the first book in this series. It is a fantasy set in a world that strongly resembles ancient Egypt. The book hero is a serf named Vetch who is rescued from an abusive owner to serve as a dragon boy. Dragon boys take care of the dragons that the jousters ride in combat.

The world is fascinating with the gods being real, divine magic and dragons. Lackey knows birds both parrots and birds of prey and she uses this knowledge in the taming and training of dragons so that it comes across very
Tim Greaton
Oct 26, 2011 Tim Greaton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enchanting and gradually building tale…

Mercedes Lackey is more of a hit than miss author, and though she does slow down she doesn't disappoint with this first book in "The Dragon Jousters" series.

Having lost his entire family to Tian marauders, who killed his father and sold the other members of his family as slaves, Vetch is forced into servitude under Khefti, a lecherous and cruel Tian merchant. Only a tiny boy, barely larger than a toddler, Vetch silently curses Khefti but endures his seve
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jul 07, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Readers
I'm generally a fan of Lackey's Valdemar books, but felt she was suffering from tired blood around the time Joust came out, so I didn't pick it up when it was first published. Recently I went on a nostalgic binge of rereading her books, and finding a lot of my old favorites like Magic's Pawn and Oathbreakers still stood up. So then I went back and tried Joust. I was pleasantly surprised--this book (and the three that follow in the series, Atla, Sanctuary and Aerie) are just as good as Lackey's b ...more
Coleman Glider
Vetch is an Altan serf owned by a Tian master. His family once owned the farm on which he now lives as a serf. When the Tian army came, they killed his father and took the farm. Then they parcelled out the land to their own people, along with all the remaining members of Vetch's family, as Tian law states that no one may own land that does not own a serf who was originally tied to that land. However there are no Tian laws governing the treatment of such serfs.

Vetch has a miserable existence, ove
Aug 13, 2009 Awallens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the first time ever, national best-selling legend Mercedes Lackey draws from her extensive knowlege of animals and her professional background as an
avian expert-to create something truly special…

The most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.

It is a richly conceived, fully realized vision, inspired by the culture of ancient Egypt, the legends of Atlantis--and the science of animal behavior and
biology. This is how dragons would live, breed, hatch, hunt, and bon
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &am ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Dragon Jousters (4 books)
  • Alta (Dragon Jousters, #2)
  • Sanctuary (Dragon Jousters, #3)
  • Aerie (Dragon Jousters, #4)

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