Teens dragon master Jakkin and beloved healer-in-training Akki hide in mountain cave network beside Heart's Blood warm hatchlings, exchanging mind-picture "sendings". But who could leave a huge pile of stripped dragon bones neatly interwoven? The monstrous secret is bloodier than they could imagine. Can they save anyone, even sacrificing themselves?
Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Born and raised in New York City, the mother of three and the grandmother of six, Yolen lives in Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.
I couldn’t even bring myself to review this when I read it. Nothing about the plot worked for me and I ended up donating the series. The first book was so much fun - a breath of fresh air and creativity for the genre. I’d say stick with just that one. :)
The main characters Akki and Jakkin, living in the mountains with Heart's Blood's offspring, discover a secret no one else on the planet appears to know. It's an obvious homage to The Time Machine and yet it works pretty well; Yolen has sorted out how her surprise could be the way it is and what the ramifications are. More of the story follows Jakkin than Akki, which is kind of a shame since Akki probably has a lot more that could be told about her. Akki still contributes a lot, though, and they make a pretty good pair.
Disappointing. The plot felt rushed and choppy, never seemed to find a rhythm or establish what direction the story was trying to take, and left any number of loose threads dangling. For instance, the possibility of the emerging to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting outside world is never referred to or discussed after the first time it is mentioned. After all the horrors they experience, and the suggestion of worse to come, Jakkin and Akki's escape--no grand showdown, no moral victory over the madness and evil, just running away to safety--felt like an anticlimax. There were a lot of ideas swirling around here--the heroes learning how to use their newfound telepathic ability, and coping with the total openness and vulnerability their mental link brings; the theme of speech/language/intellect vs. "sending"/intuition/emotion when they ; the comparison between the dispassionate "cullings" of the farmers and the --but none of these themes are fully explored. They're just introduced, then left to lie. There were a few good points: the characterization of Hearts-Blood's children, the way they communicate with their human siblings, was really delightful. Overall, though, this was a slap-dash muddle of a story that didn't live up to its potential.
I discovered the first three books of this series in a free bin, but not the last, so I don't know whether I'll be able to finish the series or not--and it's indicative of how lackluster these books are that I'm not too terribly put out by this. I'm mildly curious to see how Yolen decides to wrap things up--but not so I'd go out of my way to find out.
Every book in this series is completely different from the others. This one was extraneous, weird, and discomfiting. And kinda gross. I liked the first book of this series the best and did not enjoy books 2 or 3, so I don't recommend picking it up.
Someone on Goodreads told me to definitely avoid book 4 so I'm taking that advice.
Read this series (then only 3 books) when I was a kid back in middle school -- I absolutely loved every page. I plan on going back through this series eventually, especially since there's a new book (as of 2009); we'll see if I enjoy it as much as an adult.
This was a re-read of a book I read then I was very young and remembered very little of, other then I liked it a lot. I have a lot of feels. This book was *strange* but really very good. This series as a whole was strange--the first book was traditional, the 2nd was a weird brief look into political revolutions and the last book was a strange type of horror. The last book is currently my favorite, with the second book being my least favorite. This book built up tension really effectively. I was scared, I was tense, there was SO much feelings of dread. And strong emotional connections and implications. It's almost enough to make a person go vegetarian. It helps people see their lives and systems they've always accepted a bit differently. While I was underwhelmed by the second book, I was pleasantly weirded out by the third. In a good way. Simple but really effective, at least for me.
Brings the series to an acceptable conclusion. Jakkin and Akki have survived in the wild for a few months. They have been altered by their time inside Heart's Blood's corpse and have acquired dragon-like abilities including mental communication and the ability to survive the cold. However, they are still sought by the authorities who have sent a helicopter to scan the wild for them. They flee, but are captured by a tribe of degenerate humans who slaughter dragons to acquire the dragon's abilities too. Jakkin and Akki decide to flee this captivity rescuing a gravid female dragon. The series is quite good in that each book has a unique story to tell. Probably a better read for early teens rather than adults.
This is the third of four books in the Pit Dragon Trilogy. It picks up immediately after book two and most likely wouldn't make a lot of sense without the context of the other two. This book was published in 1987, five years after the first book in the series. The next (and currently last) book wasn't published until 2009. There's not much to say about the plot that wouldn't give away the first two books, so I'll just say that it does a good job of moving the story forward without retreading much ground.
I would recommend it to: people who enjoyed the first two books in the series.
Much better than the second book but the setting was too sci fi for my tastes... I prefer a more traditional or fantastical element for a dragon book and was somewhat put out by the cave men. Overall though it was a much better book of growing up and showed the different dragon/people interactions and less of the annoying and not so greatly woven political drama.
I was all set to review the whole series at the end of this book when I discovered that there was a later addition to this series. However, it seems that [[dragon's heart]], the final installment, was written considerably later than the first three, so I think I will stick with my original plan.
There is so much to enjoy in these books. There is a simplicity in the writing style that gives a nice clean feel to the books. By which I mean they are easy and refreshing in the style of presentation. The history of the world is clear and presented at the beginning of each book with some development based on the previous novel. The dragons are well developed, both as a species and as individuals. Some of them I felt quite in love with. The dragon breeding facility, situated in the barren land of this metal poor planet, is well described and easy to immerse yourself in. I found myself right in step with Jakkin, the protagonist, also the viewpoint character, who works among the dragons, mucking stalls and tending the large and sometimes dangerous beasts.
Jakkin is well developed although at times annoying. But he is a teenage boy, so I mustn’t expect perfection in his way of handling his feelings. At the same time there is a lot in him that is charming and occasionally joyful and fun, particularly in his relationship with his favourite dragons and with his female friend, Akki. I have read few books in which play plays much of a part, if any, but it is an important element of this book, as is the bonding that it reflects and strengthens. It is good to see some good and healthy relationships in a novel, and to see a male character motivated as much by love as anything else.
Not all of the relationships are playful or happy by any means, but as the series continues there is an evolution in some of these as well.
There are things to not love about the books, also. Bearing in mind that these were written in the 80s, they are still a bit too sexist for my taste. There is an emphasis on being a man, and although this is countered a little by the competence and viewpoint of the female character, she ends up, despite her strengths, being far too ready to allow him to take the lead, and occasionally somewhat wimpy. So there is nascent feminism in the book but it does not come to fruition. And I wouldn’t look too hard at the science behind the dragons, for instance, and the material culture of the place.
Spoiler alert for this paragraph:
((There is a race of hidden people discovered in the third book who fall into the cliché of inbred subhumans that have so much more wrong about them than there is about us. In other words, the trope so well exploited in white, settler fiction of the dangerous other. It doesn’t go completely wild. There is some sympathy and some understanding that they are not so very different from the main culture of the planet. But that understanding does not leaven the othering sufficiently for me.))
I enjoyed them enough that I will read the fourth novel, written several decades after the first three books. After all, when I was growing up every single book I read had these faults. It’s the old baby and bathwater routine. I shall enjoy everything there is about this baby while pouring off the bathwater as best I can.
Meh, I'm giving up on this halfway through. I just don't care enough to finish it. The main characters have adopted some wild baby dragons that they're (sort of?) raising while they're trying to escape capture from the authorities. They go underground & stumble upon some isolated humans who have formed a completely different society. This should be a fun, cool, series with some interesting world building, but somehow Yolen has just botched this. I've really enjoyed some of her other books, which is why it's so surprising that I don't like these. If I'd started here, I never would have picked up any of her other works.
Kinda feels like everything that was built up in the first two books (the Austarian economy and culture, the dragon fighting pits, Jakkin joining the Master class, the rebel vs Fedder plot) gets ignored so we can spend a bunch of time staring up the birthing canal of a pregnant dragon in the mountains. :\ If that's not your thing, you probably won't enjoy this book. I know I didn't.
The "twist" in the final chapter about two of the characters we thought were dead actually being alive felt really contrived. You have to sit through one of them telling Jakkin and Akki all about how they cleaned up the Rokk Major bombing mess and cleared their names while they were off hiding in the mountains, and it's just... That would have been a cool story to read! Why wasn't that the plot of this book?!? Especially because Jakkin and Akki don't plan on doing anything with what they learned in the mountains! Ugh.
Jakkin and Akki are presumed dead, but thanks to the sacrifice of Heart's Blood, a mother dragon, they can now survive the cold of the wilderness and communicate with dragons by sending mental images. When a helicopter flies over the cave where they are living with Heart's Blood's five hatchlings, they push further on into the wild, desperately seeking safety.
They discover a cave entrance that leads deep into the bowels of the earth. Once below ground, they lose touch with their dragon companions and stumble across a giant pile of dragon bones. What monster is capable of killing so many dragons? Unfortunately, it's not long before they find out.
Jakkin and Akki go from one danger to another. Fleeing from both the Wardens and the Rebels, they make their way into the system of caves in the Astarian mountains. There, they make a sinister discovery...
I have mixed feelings about this series. The writing is fairly utilitarian, but the plot moves quickly, so once I get caught up in the story, I find them quick and engrossing reads. There's not a lot of depth to the characters, and I could use a bit more explanation of how certain elements of the telepathic "sendings" work. Still, not a bad way to spend a little time, especially if you are fond of dragons.
This book was the weakest of the series so far. It introduced some interesting ideas but suffered from major flaws. First, it was boring. The only reason I kept listening was because of my completionist bent. I would like to find out what happens to Jakkin and Akki, but this adventure didn't add much to their stories. Perhaps it was frustrating because the idea has potential. The Trogs could be interesting if there had been any sort of conflict within their culture. I am glad that Golden returns at the end. It gives me hope that the promise of the first two books may be fulfilled.
I originally read this book probably between 2003 and 2008 when I was a teenager, and for some reason a couple of plot points popped into my head this week (August 2022), and some people on the internet helped me identify it so I could re-read it.
It’s just okay. It has some interesting ideas but overall it feels like Dragonriders of Pern but not as good. I’m pretty positive I never read the book that comes after this one, and I’m not interested.
I explicitly remember so much more about the DRoP books that I read around the same time frame, and I think that says something.
This one was just weird. It tried to address the more brutal parts of the world that was taken for granted in the two previous books, but it didn't do it effectively. Also the last ten pages were just a big infodump on what was happening in the rest of the world during the entire book, but that was more interesting than the weirdness that happened to the Jakkin and Akki.
I'm no longer enjoying these, and if I didn't have to write an essay on all four, I'd quit reading them.
This dipped farther into the pressure of connecting with others and sharing their burdens. After the death of his beloved dragon, Akki and Jakkin are on the run and isolated from society- while more joined together than ever thanks to their ability to "send" thoughts and feelings to each other and their dragons. Connection, like isolation, can be warping though as they discover in the caves- a group of people with powerful sendings and stunted empathy.
This was a seriously weird book, but I kind of liked it anyway. My main issue with it was not the weirdness but the ending, where the characters find out that most of their problems have been easily resolved without their involvement while they were off doing other things. It's a very short book, and adding an end which let some of the earlier plotlines play out a little longer wouldn't have made it unbearably long. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed it up until that point.
I always enjoy Jane Yolen's books; I think she really knows how to craft a story and characters. The Pit Dragon Chronicles is one of my favorite series of hers and it definitely holds up over time. I do think the first couple books are the strongest and then it does tail off a bit after that. There are many dragon stories but this does not feel repetitive or similar to others.
I really liked the first book in this quartet but the second and third not so much. This third one was fairly creepy for me. Just weird. I liked the first one because it was very focused on a few relationships in a unique world. But as she has expanded the scope of her world and the politics it's become less engaging for me rather than more so.
Interesting continuation of the Pit Dragon tale. Elements of this book remind me of THE TIME MACHINE (Wells) and THE DESCENT (Jeff Long), which was a thoroughly enjoyable surprise. I was hungry enough for more that I went on immediately to Book 4 and have already finished it. Can't wait for my daughter to be far enough along in reading to devour these books!
As the 3rd book in a trilogy, this book utterly fails. As the 3rd book in a tetralogy, it is passable. The plot could basically be described as "What if 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' had dragons?" I cannot believe that fans of this series had this book as the conclusion for 22 years. The 4th book is absolutely needed to tie this side story into the larger narrative.
I felt that this book was a big disappointment compared to the other 2 books. The only part that I enjoyed was the dragon rescue mission at the end where they escape the cave and reunite with their hatchlings
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.