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

Dragonhaven

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  4,138 ratings  ·  634 reviews
Jake lives at the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park. There are five million acres of the Smokehill wilderness, and the endangered dragons rarely show themselves. Jake's never seen one except at a distance. But then, on his first overnight solo in the park, he meets a dragon - and she is dying. More than that, she has just given bir ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 29th 2009 by Firebird (first published September 20th 2007)
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 Dragonhaven, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dragonhaven

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Lindsay
Wow. You never know what you are going to get with Robin McKinley. Sometimes her writing is absolutely brilliant, pulling you into a fantasy world that you wouldn't mind exchanging for your own. Her main characters, usually female, are fully realized characters who you quickly admire and care about. I admit that I have not liked all of her previous work, but I was surpised by how much I disliked this book. It is set in the present (or at least a present populated by mythical creatures) and told ...more
Jenne
blah blah blah zoo blah blah kids blah blah blah intelligent dragons blah blah whatever.
Rachel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sherwood Smith
This book caught my eyes because it seemed McKinley's first attempt to break away from endless rewrites of Beauty and the Beast. It is a first-person narrative by Jake Mendoza, who lives at the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park. Smokehill is the millions-of-acres preserve for about two hundred of the few remaining draco australiensis, which are on the endangered list.

The story begins when Jake is fourteen, and at first the reader might assume that he's
...more
Elise Schuchman
I have absolutely loved everything McKinley has ever written and Dragonhaven isn’t bad. It’s just in need of some serious editing.

Cons:
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
Cayenne
I didn't finish this book. I actually only got 30 pages into it. I love Robin McKinley's other books, but I got bogged down on this one. The story is told from the point of view of a fifteen year old boy, at least at the beginning. I glanced at the end and he does grow up. I could barely stand Harry Potter at 15 and I care about him. Robin just didn't make me care about this boy fast enough. Also, either Robin or just her character has real issues with "dumb" scientists and I got really sick of ...more
Katie
OMG! This was amazing... I really enjoy reading Robin McKinley but she tends to leave you hanging at the end, as if she's going to make a sequel but then nothing ever comes of it. However this one comes full circle and ends on a beautiful note. It takes a bit to get used to since the main character Jake is trying to tell his story in his twenties about something that started happening at 14, so the writing tends to be a little jumpy. However as one of my co-workers mentioned when I explained thi ...more
Rebecca
Over Thanksgiving, I re-read "The Hero and the Crown" and was inspired to go to Robin McKinley's website to see if she had anything new coming out. When I saw that "Dragonhaven" was on the shelves I couldn't wait to get to the library.

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
Rachel

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
Jessica
Robin McKinley does dragons again, and this time completely differently. This is the story of our world, sort of. Our world if there were dragons kept at a national park reserve. Young Jake is telling the story of how he encountered a dragon face to face (they are normally so elusive as to seem nonexistent), and how it changed his life and the world in general. I had a hard time, though, with the style of narration. Jake is, quite simply, telling the story, with occasional tangents and rants, an ...more
Angela
Jan 15, 2008 Angela rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are really into fantasy
There's almost a thud when an outstanding author writes a new book and you tear into it only to find it disappointing and inferior to previous work. The Blue Sword and Beauty are absolutely outstanding; I've re-read them repeatedly. But most of her other work doesn't even come close.

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
Rachael
I can't believe I'm giving 2 stars to anything by Robin McKinley, but I was just horribly disappointed. My gripes? Well, first of all, the book's written in a very distracting stream-of-consciousness type thing, fun of phrases such as "and I was, like, scared" or things like that. Secondly, the "plot" of the book was one that would have taken about twenty pages to describe, if it wasn't for the obnoxious stream-of-consciousness style. This would have made a fun short story, but it just was NOT u ...more
Kat
May 13, 2011 Kat rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nature-lovers
Shelves: modern-fantasy
Anyone looking for a slam-bang action adventure novel will certainly be disappointed in Dragonhaven. Anyone looking for "typical" McKinley will also be disappointed, as the reviews show; unlike a lot of her books, Dragonhaven isn't a fairytale or based on one, the romance (such as it is) happens almost entirely off screen (off page?), and the main character (and narrator) is a young male.

But I think readers who come looking for the "typical" Robin McKinley novel are getting confused, and looking
...more
Trina
I'm beginning to sound like a broken record at the beginning of my YA reviews. I really enjoyed this book but will not be giving it to my daughter. If I don't think of it as YA, then I have little to complain about. It was very unique. Written from a 15 year old boy's perspective, she does a good job of making it believable (complete with slang and runon sentences). A young boy raises a baby dragon. It is interesting because it has less to do with this adventure than on the impact this has on th ...more
Maureen E

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
Marjorie Hakala
I don't know, guys, I'm starting to think I don't like McKinley's first-person narrators. Will give this a fair shot though.
--
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
Ellisa Barr
I wish I could give this book a higher score. Robin McKinley is one of my all-time favorite authors and I was hoping for more from this book. The story is pretty good, but I just never really got attached to the characters, and I wasn't a big fan of the writing style. It's told in first-person almost like a stream of consciousness and I just felt it was too repetitive. Like, I GET that dragons are big and that the boy has a headache. Stop already. Having the story told by teen probably didn't he ...more
Rosalee
This book isn't for everyone. It is told in first person by Jake, and it is almost more a book of Jake being Jake rather than being a book that actually has a plot. (Thats an exaggeration, it does have a plot, but I think you'll understand what I mean.) I remember someone (can't remember who, sorry!) describing this as "fantasy that reads like realism"--a very apt description, in my opinion. I would describe the narration as colloquial to the point of almost being stream-of-conciousness, except ...more
Deb
Dec 26, 2007 Deb rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only the most fanatical of dragon story lovers
Shelves: fantasy-sf
This book is supposedly written by Robin McKinley, but reads absolutely nothing like her earlier prosey work. I understand that she's writing from the first-person perspective of a character that's none-to-comfortable with the writing process, but the book is painful to read at times. The phrase "I'd've" is used more than once, and grammar goes out the window.

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
Ellen
A solid piece of entertainment. The long rambling style of the prose got grating at times but ultimately proved effective in making me believe that everything was real; that if I went and googled the Makepeace Institute I would actually find a real place to which I could travel and hope to see dragons. That kind of convincing storytelling is admirable. I particularly like the fact that McKinley managed to make a subject like dragons into such a great piece of sci-fi.
Christine Beamer
I think this book is actually one of McKinley's most interesting works. It does occasionally suffer from self-consciousness in its teenage voice. However, I really enjoy a couple of aspects of this book.
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
Deborah Ideiosepius
I did quite enjoy this book, the premise was interesting and the plot developed well. The end was tidy and satisfying. The three stars are for overall enjoyability though, because unfortunately it is not a particularly good book as a package.

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
Maren
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tortla
Very different from McKinley's other stuff (or at least what I've read of it). So far, it reminds me very strongly of what Jane Yolen's Dragon Pit Trilogy would've been like if it had been written by Diana Wynne Jones. That's not necessarily a good thing, because few people can pull off the rushed-ending as well as DWJ, but I appreciate that McKinley's branching out and trying new styles and whatnot.
I kind of take offense with the people who hated this book because it was too convincingly like i
...more
Beth
If you read this book with the expectation of reading another Beauty or Spindle's End, with their flowing and elegant prose, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re willing to put aside expectations, this is an engaging story in its own right, even if it is quite different from Robin McKinley’s previous books.

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
Kim
I like the ideas in this book: the concept of dragons, the way humans might respond to them if they existed as animals in our own world. And I can admire McKinley's ability to create a convincing written-by-a-teenage-boy record of that teenage boy's experiences. But what makes the voice convincing is also what makes the book so difficult to read. The teenage boy's story meanders and curls around favorite topics, hitches and snarls in half-thought reactions to events, and in attempting to express ...more
Carrie
Carrie Ackerson
Modern Fantasy

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
Michelle
By far, the worst Robin McKinley book I've read. And I do generally love Robin McKinley. But the first-person voice annoyed me tremendously in this one...long, rambling, too technical. I don't mind jumping into the action with explanations to follow, but the explanations were also too long in coming for me to have a real grasp of the setting. And there were scenes and characters that just didn't contribute to the main story. I think it could have benefited from some major editing. Also have the ...more
Caitlin W.
In a world much like ours, but with magic mixed in, a boy named Jake lives with his father, tending dragons that live on a wildlife preserve. When someone illegally poaching on the preserve is killed by his dragon quarry, Jake and his scientist dad are put into a tricky situation-- there is a public outcry against the dragons, and people want them all killed, calling them dangerous beasts. The situation is made more personal for Jake since he discovers a baby dragon by the dying victim of the po ...more
Danielle
Jan 31, 2009 Danielle rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Danielle by: Jocelyn
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Good read. Now every time I watch my box turtle shuffling around, or cocking his head to peer up at you, it reminds me of a little Lois in a shell.

I was surprised how low most of the goodreads ratings were for this book. I thought it was extremely fascinating (until the Epilogue, where it got a little cheesy and boring); but one thing I wondered was whether it was more fascinating for a parent, who had some sympathetic experiences similar to Jake, the difference between raising a human baby and
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
help me get through this 14 91 Apr 04, 2013 06:21AM  
  • The Book of Night with Moon (Cats of Grand Central, #1)
  • The God Stalker Chronicles (Kencyrath, #1-2)
  • The Cygnet and the Firebird (Cygnet Duology, #2)
  • The Fox (Inda, #2)
  • General Winston's Daughter
  • Hexwood
  • Territory
  • The Mislaid Magician: or Ten Years After (Cecelia and Kate, #3)
  • Prophecies, Libels & Dreams: Stories
  • Spark
  • The Killing Circle
  • The Wild Ways (Gale Women, #2)
  • Illywhacker
5339
Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

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
More about Robin McKinley...
Beauty (Folktales #1) The Blue Sword (Damar, #2) The Hero and the Crown (Damar, #1) Sunshine Spindle's End (Folktales #3)

Share This Book

“But I'm going to try to tell the truth. Except for the parts I'm leav­ing out, because there's still stuff I'm just not going to tell you. Get used to it.” 101 likes
“It wasn't so long ago when all the so-called scientists said that humans were intelligent and that animals weren't, humans were the solitary unchallenged masters of the globe and probably the universe and the only question was whether we were handling our mastery well. (No. Next question.)” 23 likes
More quotes…