High up in the Treacherous mists of the Murderous Mountains, Hiccup and the Company of the Dragonmark are in hiding. The witch's Vampire Spydragons are guarding the shores of Tomorrow -- but Hiccup is determined to become King of the Wilderwest. Can Hiccup dodge the dragons and steal back the King's Things from Alvin before the Doomsday of Yule? And is there a traitor in Hiccup's camp who, in the end, will betray them all?
Cressida Cowell grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. She was convinced that there were dragons living on this island, and has been fascinated by dragons ever since. She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University, a BA in Graphic Design from St Martin's and an MA in Narrative Illustration from Brighton. Cressida loves illustrating her own work, but also loves writing books for other people to illustrate as the end result can be so unexpected and inspiring. Cressida has written and illustrated eight books in the popular Hiccup series. The unique blend of child centred humour and sublime prose made Hiccup an instant hit. How to Train Your Dragon is now published in over 30 languages. A DreamWorks Animation feature film is out in March 2010. Also the author of picture books, Cressida has won the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 and has been shortlisted for many others. Cressida lives in Hammersmith with her husband and three children.
Her Books: 1. How to Train Your Dragon (2003) 2. How to Be a Pirate (2004) 3. How to Speak Dragonese (2005) 4. How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse (2006) 5. How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale (2007) 6. A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons (2008) 7. How to Ride a Dragon’s Storm (2008) 8. How to Break a Dragon’s Heart (2010) 9. How to Steal a Dragon's Sword (2011) 10. How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel (2012)
I'm so in love with this series. I know it's the heat of the moment but I genuinely like this series more than Harry Potter right now, and I don't say that lightly. The books have a more childish tone, and it's a good thing, it fits, it works with the story. Hiccup and his friends are a lot younger than Harry. But in these last few books, they've dealt with situations that no kids their age should have to deal with, and wow, have they done it well. Snotlout's arc in this story is forever going to be stronger and more meaningful than the meager bit of plot we got from Draco's story in Deathly Hallows, and where there was endless camping in DH, there was intrigue and drama and *gasp* PLOT in this book. I don't know why this review has just turned into a comparison between the two stories, but it works, and I'm disappointed and frustrated that I don't know a single person who has read this story, so I hope that by comparing it to HP, maybe someone out there will pick the books up out of curiosity. I'm really glad that children out there are getting to experience the joy of reading these books, and I'm going to be waiting with bated breath and fresh tears for book 12.
I want to start this review by saying that I do not give out my 5 stars easily. I give them out like I only have so many and when I'm out I'll never get another. I've read more than 600 books, many many of them ones I've loved and reread and recommended like crazy, but only gave 3 or 4 stars to. I've given that 5th star out to just around 10% of books I've read.
Chapter 17 alone makes this book deserve that 5th star.
Something that irritates me in a lot of books, whether they are for children, young adults, teenagers, or adults, is this idea that people are black or white. That they are either good, true people who never hurt others or they are bullies and jerks and killers and plain evil.
This especially bothers me when the character is a child, a bully, but still a child so therefore they will grow up and be evil. Like the idea never occurs to the author that there are perhaps a lot of adults who were jerks or bullies as children, but grew up and CHANGED. They had experiences and learned about themselves and showed remorse and regret and empathy and changed. Adolescence is a really difficult time for everyone and not every child knows how to deal with how they are feeling, (or how to even recognize why they are having those feelings), and the things going on around them in healthy ways. This is something that still, despite my deep love for the series, pisses me off about the Harry Potter books and Draco Malfoy.
I was bullied all through middle school. They were some of the worst years of my life, but I still don't believe that just because someone is a jerk or a straight up asshole that that makes them evil or that they will always be that way. Many will of course, but not all. I teach middle school and I have seen kids bully others (and told them off), but I have also seen those same kids be funny or kind or helpful or generous. Childhood bullying/general dickery doesn't necessarily equal Team Evil. Just as being nice doesn't necessarily equal Team Good. A good example of the other side of this is that Hiccup's parents love him very much and are good people who try to always do their best, but they've done some pretty shitty things to their kid - and almost never with the intention of being making him feel bad.
People aren't black and white and Cowell's understanding of character growth is one of the things that really makes this series stand out as one of the best. And I'm not qualifying that as "one of the best middle grade series," I'm saying it's one of the best series I've ever read.
The depth, emotion, and personal insight in chapter 17 and the beauty of the epilogue are things that will stay with me for a long time - something a 5 star book should always be able to do.
After falling in love with HTTYD2 the movie, I read all eleven books of HTTYD in seven weeks. At first, already knowing a few of the spoilers, I wondered if I would enjoy the books. How could Toothless be so small and common? Why wouldn't there be a love story with Astrid? How could a dragon jewel exist with the ability to destroy all of the dragons?
Yet in the midst of reading ... I came to understand and I fell in love with the books even more than the movie. The same elements of loyalty, friendship, and sacrifice still exist in the books and to an even greater extent. That's what drew me to the movie. That's what continues to draw me to the series. I absolutely love this series.
I cannot wait until book 12 comes out. I will wait in line... I may even attend a release party.
Wow. Wow wow wow wow. Oh my gosh. I can’t possibly review this without spoiling, so please don’t read unless you’ve already finished the book. These books have just been getting progressively darker and more epic since How to Break a Dragon’s Heart kicked off. When I first heard the title for book 11 would be How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero I had a feeling the Wodensfang would be the alleged traitor in Hiccup’s group, then I switched my mind to the Deadly Shadow when I saw the cover.
I did not expect Snotlout to come back, and in fact did not ever believe he would get as big a role as he did. I never considered Snotlout an important enough character to merit a whole book dedicated towards his redemption; he was just the really hateful bully who picked on Hiccup, almost killing him on a number of occasions, for no other apparent reason other than that he can, because Hiccup is such a weakling (or at least weaker than he is). His character was shallow, and typical, and I honestly didn’t think he would ever provide more for the story beyond revealing Hiccup’s Slavemark to the other Vikings in How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword. When last we saw Snotlout, he was standing undecided over whether to follow Alvin and the Witch or the Dragonmarkers. So I assumed we wouldn’t see him again until the imminent final battle in the last book of the series, where he would most likely get a change of heart the last second and do something pivotal that will help steer victory towards the good guys, kind of like how Toothless swooped in at the last second to help defeat the Green Death in the first book.
Reading How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero, we are finally treated to the inner complexities and conflicts of this character – his hatred, jealousy, fear, and bitterness. We can finally see him as more than just the shallow bully who pushed Hiccup around in the earlier books, when we see him shed secret tears over his fate, having heard that of Grimbeard the Ghastly’s in the Wodensfang’s story. I cannot claim to have been Snotlout’s biggest fan in this series, but my heart went out to him at that point. And if I ever thought that this series could not get any deeper or more intense, the scene where Snotlout lays bare all to Hiccup while they swordfight rid me of those ideas nicely. Also, respect to Hiccup, who was not fazed by the Witch’s torture methods into revealing the Dragonmarker’s hideout, and who still forgave Snotlout after everything that’s been said and done (‘Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much’ – Oscar Wilde); this kid is already a Hero, and he hasn’t even saved the world yet.
Okay, here’s where the most spoiler-ish part comes: It was unexpected, but Snotlout’s death… Damn. What a way to end the book, and what an exit by Snotlout. I just hope he really is dead though, not because I wasn’t a little sad that he died, but because having someone as close to Hiccup as Snotlout was (well not personally, but physically; I mean he was in every book, and he’s been with Hiccup pretty much his entire life), having him die makes the series that much more mature, and it would be a real cheat to have him turn out to be okay. They weren’t able to find his body, so the credibility of his death is still pretty much up for debate, but still, he was shot in the chest, he fell off his dragon and into the sea… I mean if it was Hiccup or Alvin that wouldn’t mean anything, but still…
Oh, and just what was with that Hogfly dragon? I began to get too embarrassed to read his bits out loud to my sister, but she loved them and insisted (she spent nearly five whole minutes laughing at some random thing he’d said, ‘Tickle my birthdays’ I think, which makes no sense at all…)
And it turns out Toothless is a flipping Seadragon, as in he will one day grow up to be as big Furious – and we thought he really was just another Common or Garden… Shame on us. We should’ve listened, ‘T-t-toothless is the b-b-best one!’
This really is the penultimate book in the series, and I loved it better than the last one, which was more of a buildup – by the end of this book, the plot is left practically teetering on the very edge and there is no more denying that hell is going to break loose in the next book, with an explosive ending for the cherry on top.
Assuming that the next book is the last, (there’s always the possibility Cressida Cowell will feel she still has too much to say to fit in one book), I will do what I did for the Septimus Heap series now and list my favorite scenes from the How to Train Your Dragon series:
How to Train Your Dragon: -Hiccup meets Toothless -Fishing with Toothless -Hiccup's conversation with the Green Death (this is in fact my absolute favorite scene in the entire series - there's just something so nostalgically fairytale-ish about imagining this little boy talking to a dragon the size of a mountain, and every word of their chat is absolutely perfect)
How to Be a Pirate: -Hiccup's first fight with Alvin, where he discovers that he is right-handed
How to Speak Dragonese: -Hiccup meets Ziggerastica (another hilarious conversation with a dragon that thinks it's so high and mighty) -Hiccup and Fishlegs meet Camicazi
How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse: -The whole book XD -But really : the entire Shooting With Bows and Arrows While Skiing lesson, including Hiccup's mad chase down the mountainside and One Eye's last minute rescue -Fishlegs loses it in the Smashstick match and shouts at Gobber (HAHAHA!) -Hiccup catches Norbert's axe before it can land black-side down and sticks it gold-side into the wall. And then his reasoning that Fate must've LET him cheat. This was one of Hiccup's more BADASS moments. -Toothless' stubborn refusal to help Hiccup until he's stuffed himself silly with food. -Getting the mythical potato from the frozen Viking Big Job while the Great Hall goes up in flames and the Hysterics have a food-fight (HAHAHA!) -Hiccup and Camicazi return home to find Fishlegs absolutely fine, and then discover it is Hiccup with Vorpentitus several seconds later. -Fishlegs saves Hiccup
How to Twist a Dragon's Tale: To be honest, I didn't like this book that much. However, I absolutely adore the Windwalker.
A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons: -Toothless shows Hiccup exactly what he's done with the How to Train Your Dragon book (lol) -Flying the Stealth Dragon to the Meathead Public Library -Meeting Stormfly -All of Fishlegs' sarcastic comments
How to Ride a Dragon's Storm: -Pretty much the entire time Hiccup and the others spend on Norbert's ship -Hiccup is given the Slavemark -Hiccup is chased by Polar Serpents and yet another mountain-sized dragon -Hiccup climbs to the top of the mast of the American Dream 2 to escape Norbert -Hiccup, Fishlegs, and Camicazi make it back to the Murderous Mountains in the very nick of time, and Hiccup is declared the Last Man Back
How to Break a Dragon's Heart: -The whole time Hiccup is trapped in the Tree Prison in the dark with the witch, where she stitches up Toothless, tells the story of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Second (so sad!), and terrifies the daylights out of Hiccup sneaking up on him in the dark trying to kill him when he answers her question correctly -Hiccup finds Camicazi -Hiccup frees Furious -Furious' promise to Hiccup to eradicate all humans (*shivers*) -Hiccup's swordfight with Alvin on the burning bridge
How to Steal a Dragon's Sword: -Wodensfang tells Hiccup the story of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the First -Hiccup terrifies the witch when it seems like her lethal poison is not working on him -Hiccup beats his father in the Swordfighting Competition -Snotlout throws the rock that reveals Hiccup's Slavemark and the horrible truth is revealed to all... -Furious appears and starts the Rebellion, and the Dragons all succumb to the Red Rage -Hiccup leads the entire angry dragon horde away on the back of the Windwalker (excellent scene) -Hiccup gives up hope and cries, and then realizes he has Grimbeard's map to the Dragon Jewel and says 'This isn't the end!' That line ought to be corny but here it just gave me chills
How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel: -Hiccup meets Eggingarde -Hiccup's conversation with Stoick, who does not realize he is speaking with his son in disguise -Hiccup reveals who he is to Alvin and the Witch -The Deadly Shadow tells the story of Termagent, Fishlegs' mother -Hiccup finds Fishlegs in the Mirror Maze (love it) -The interactions between Hiccup and his mother - what a complicated relationship (but damn, is Valhallarama badass or what?)
How to Betray a Dragon's Hero: -Fishlegs finally gets to beat up Snotlout (although it doesn’t yield much effect) -Toothless overhears the telepathic promise between Furious and the Wodensfang -Excellinor attempts to torture the whereabouts of Valhallarama out of Hiccup by continuously dunking him in freezing Winterflesher-infested waters and he refuses - talk about Heroism! -Hiccup and Snotlout's swordfight -Snotlout switches clothes with Hiccup and rides away on the Windwalker
Though I must admit I was a little exasperated to learn this is STILL not the last book, I read this with as much gusto as I enjoyed the previous books in the series. Ms. Cowell's storytelling and writing skills are as strong as ever, making this a thoroughly enjoyable novel that is certain to please current fans. Though I felt this had a little too much plot in too little time, in general this is just what I've come to expect from Ms. Cowell and these books: humor, quirkiness, excitement, action, and a whole lot of heart.
In the beginning, we are introduced to the Island of Tomorrow, pretty much the place of the prophecy heretofore discussed. The ticking thing is ticking, leaving only a matter of days before a King must be crowned and the race is on to get all the Lost Things together and have them accepted by the Island's blindfolded Guardian (that's a detail I loved.)
Again, I found it a little too much plot too fast, but I still think many a reader will enjoy it all the more because. Here is one scuffle or skirmish right after another for all characters involved. It wasn't quite as funny as prior books, but makes up for it in sheer excitement and adventure. Not to mention its attention to certain characters before glossed over (I recommend a box of tissues if you're really into the characters...)
So it looks like there is one more book, but this sure presents plenty of delectable story in a penultimate way. Those who appreciate Cowell's amazing storytelling talents that just grab at the heart will find this does not disappoint.
In this book, we follow Hiccup as he and his small team of supporters try to regain the Lost Things back from Alvin the Treacherous and his mother, all whilst trying to avoid the Dragon Furious.
This book is basically setting up for the final installment, but it has more than enough action and twists to keep you from getting bored. What I love most about these books is that Cowell is not afraid to let Hiccup fail (after all, he is learning how to be a hero the hard way) which is something that many authors of this age group tend to avoid with their main characters. I also found there were connections between this book and the film, which makes me wonder how similar the two series are going to be by the time they are both completed.
I was glad to see more Camicazi in this book - you have no idea how much I love her character. Also, there is an interesting revelation about Toothless, which I'm wondering whether it's true or not, and we shall hopefully see in the next book whether I'm being too skeptical. But I need to talk about Snotlout. He goes through some major character development in this book, and I never thought I would go from hating him to loving him during the course of this book.
Another great addition to the HHTYD series - and I can't wait for the final installment.
I read this to my younger brother as he has listened to the audio books of this series! But they didn't have this one in a audio book, so i got the book and read it too him. And i'm so pleased i did, this was such a fun book to read, especially when i would say a name wrong and he would correct me! Great book 5/5 stars
Just awesome! Impeccable writing? Check. Humour? Check. Good plot with everything coming together at the end even though not always in the favour of the characters? Check.
I like how there is nothing that makes you think: "Hey! That couldn't happen to Y because then X would just swoop in and do this or that." You know what I mean?
Instead everything that is laid out at the beginning fits with everything else in the end, like: "No, X had to go to that other place in order to that thing that let to the incident that shaped the circumstances for Y. Making it completely natural that Y gets out of a certain predicament with the help of this and that". This is not a weird retelling of events from the book. I am just trying to explain myself and doing a horrible job at it. :S :P
Some spoilers ahoy!
In addition to being awesome, this book also tries to teach us/kids that people are usually bad for a reason and that they can be good if given the chance, and it does a wonderful job of it, if somewhat sad. I never thought I would cheer for Snotlout. And feel so sorry for him. And MISS him, even.
I can really recommend this book, along with all the others in the series, of course.
This is the second last novel in the How to Train your Dragon series. At the beginning of the book, we find out who among Hiccup will betray him and who would stay loyal and protect him.
The story within the book was only within a 24 hour period. A LOT can happen in 24 hours! There were a lot of twists and turns that had you feeling like you just NEEDED to know what was going to happen next. There was also touching moments that left you heartbroken along with moments that made you think 'what the heck is going to happen now'?
I loved where the story went and how it was left off. It made things so intense and made me so excited to read the LAST book in the series. Looking back over the last 11 books, I noticed this story was so more descriptive and compelling than earlier books. To me, this shows just how much Cowell had grown as a writer.
Overall, a pretty great novel that left you feeling so many things, including sadness, joy and excitement for the next book!
This book way amazing!! at the beginning of the series I really hated snotlout because of how arrogant he was but after he died I was really upset. Now that I think about I'm sure anyone would feel the way he did when hiccup was born. Like he was just cast aside. When Alvin got the lost things and get to Tomorrow I was so sure that the guardian was going to say that there was something wrong like the dragon was suppose to come willingly or that he had darkness in his heart or anything but no. This book is a really fast read I mean I can read a 300 page book in a day easy but even then I had to stop do something else for a while and this book my only thought was hiccup hiccup and read I finished it in maybe an hour and a half oh!!!!!!! Cressida Cowel please make the last book come out earlier i am dying to read it.....
"You find things about yourself in these rather extreme circumstances. Hiccup could barely stand, and he was as blue-white as if he were already dead...But still he shook his head and would not say where the Dragonmarkers' hideout was".
the making of a Hero is like the making of a sword. How the sword and the Hero must be tested time and time again, and the more fearsome and dreadful the test, the stronger the sword and the Hero, in the end".
This is now one of my favorite book endings: "A HERO...IS...FOREVER. Adieu, Snotlout. I could not have done this without you. I carry you with me, every step I take, every decision I make. You are part of my blood, and I would never have gotten this far without you. We shall meet again, in a better world than this one".
1. I absolutely adore Snotlout's story arc. It's simply so good. I have no excellent words to describe how amazing it is. A hero is forever. 2. The hardships of a hero "A hero is forever, the good actions of a hero never die, ..." - this hits home for me. I love that this book somehow managed to bring back my 12-year old self to my mind. It reminded me of exactly how much I adore and worship the idea of a "true hero". Hiccup, in this book, is the main ebodiment (?) of a hero but then there are also all the other characters, each one a hero in their own way. I love that. 3. Toothless in this book. So sad and adorable.
It's 1.09 on a schoolnight. I better go to sleep... But I can't decide - do I want to listen to the next one, as I have done with the last 7 books (except the 6th) because David Tennant or do I read the physical copy since I have the hardcover?
This was a very depressing book but it was a very good book to, one of the characters named Snotlout he is Hiccups cousin and he betrayed his tribe a lot so nobody trusted him and then right when he was on Hiccups side he DIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!😭😭😭😭😭😭😭I was soooooooo sad, once turned good he was such a cool characters!!!😭😭and this war turned fishlegs to the opposite of him self very SAD.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The story "How to Betray a Dragon's Hero" by Cressida Cowell is the story in which on of the antagonists, Snotlout's, true feelings come out. He not only betrays both the villains and the heros, but he has lost his whole family, friends, and life. "I've lost everything!"(Cowell, 266). From this, you can tell that Snotlout is not just feeling bad about it, but he is not trusted by anyone and that is why he can't even show which side that he is on. The reason that he joined the villains side in the first place is that he wanted to get back at his cousin, Hiccup for being the next in line for the chief of the tribe. The reason that he must have gone over the top was because people tend to fight for power no matter what the consequence is. This backfired at him in a very extreme way because he did not mean to betray every single one of the people that he cared for. It always important to think actions through because they might not result in the way that you want them to and they can be very hard to undo once you have lost the trust of someone or some people. This is a very good book for all ages and for people who have a very wide imagination!
This is the only one I physically read in the series - I mean my library had only first 10 audiobooks, and I was so immersed in the series that I checked it out and continued reading.
It is a brilliant and wonderful book as many of its predecessors in the series, but the things are really tightening up as the events of the last three or two books are packed with action within a very narrow time-frame.
The illustrations were lovely, and the humor was sparkling, and the story was exciting on so many levels. I actually shed tears a couple of times in the novel.
I did did did love the idea of a flawed, tormented, soemtimes deeply unhappy forever hero, and Snotlout is a perfect example of it. When I finished this book, I started suspecting that I might love this series more than HP ... Honestly, they are both equally good, but this is the one I was currently living in, and this might have tipped the scales in its favor.
After book 11, I moved immediately to book 12, but the only thing I did is I used my Kobo audiobook credit because I missed David Tenant's brillinace so much.
Again, it is something of a shock to realise how much darker this penultimate book is when comparing it to the first two or three in the series. Hiccup and his companions are in a very hard place, and the world they knew has been flamed flat and turned into ruins. Cowell doesn’t pull her punches when depicting the war-torn ravaged remains of the Viking tribes as they struggle to prevail against the might of the Dragon Furious and the Dragon Rebellion. For all that, there are still shafts of humour, chiefly courtesy of Toothless and the other small dragon that Hiccup has acquired called Hogfly. As ever, the pacing is perfect and it was difficult to tear myself away as the adventure went on gathering momentum. This book ends on a mighty cliffhanger and whatever you do, don’t pick it up if you haven’t read at least the previous three or four books in the series as it simply won’t make sense. A gripping, enthralling read for Viking fans of all ages. 9/10
"Truth has a way of shaking itself out over time."
And yet this book was the story of good boy tempted to choose the wrong way many times. And yet he was so good, he never gave in even to the point of loving the one he disliked even more than his arch enemy.
"C-c-can Toothless bite him?" Asked Toothless hopefully. "Or would it be rude? Does it matter being rude to a rude person? Or does it n-n-not count?" "Yes, that would be rude, Toothless, so you can't bite him, although I'm feeling a bit tempted myself, I have to confess," admitted Hiccup.
The boy, Hiccup, was so good, he treated the other boy with such tender love, that even when Hiccup's friend was stolen away saving the disliked boy, Hiccup remained ready to trust Snotlout.
Even so, Hiccup knew that he must be wise. He had other lives to think about. And so, though he said, "You have to keep on giving people a chance" he made a plan b just in case Snotlaut were to betray him.
And Snotlaut did betray him. But Hiccup did not hate this boy he disliked more than his arch-enemy. Instead, he proceeded with plan b. Later when they crossed paths again, Hiccup forgave him and have him another chance.
"You must keep giving chances. Second and third and thousandth."
It was a beautiful story of trusting, not because another deserved it, but because it was the right thing to do. Yes, trust often backfired and hurt the giver. And yet we must keep giving and trusting. For the only one sinning is the betrayer. And so Hiccup continued to trust and love, even as he remained wise and discerning.
One can be discerning without being cruel.
And at the end, Snotlout was redeemed in one final act as he proved finally that he was able to be trusted, that he was willing to be a hero, and not a human beimg more disgusting than the villain.
He took the trust freely and repeatedly given to him, and he died to protect all those who he had once betrayed.
This book was one of the best of the series, without a doubt. I won't say too much, in order not to spoil anything, but a lot was revealed in this book, about Toothless, about the Wodensfang, about Snotlout, and much more. The end is packed with tension; what will be the outcome of the final fateful day before the crowning of the King of the Wilderwest? What will happen to the dragon Furious, and all the rest of the dragons? The epilogue was bittersweet, and I liked the message that a hero is forever. Melts my crusty heart.
I am still obsessed with this series. 11 books and I still can't get enough, so I'm so sad that the next is the last. I love even in the darkest times for the characters the books still keep their charm, humor, adventure, and motto of "becoming a hero the hard way". I absolutely love the dragons, and having read the epilogues, I know something dreadful is going to happen and am so worried. I've grown attached to the dragons. I love how the series has matured since it's beginning, and am glad the series finally has a story that ties to all the books. Even a character I really didn't think was give their life, ends up a hero and even that gets emotional. So this book perfectly sets the reader up for the dramatic conclusion that I am both dreading and anticipating.
What a fantastic story of redemption and second (third, fourth, fifth) chances! I won’t say how because spoilers, but wow. Amazing story arc that shows just how important forgiveness, grace, and courage are. A truly heroic tale and one heading for a fantastic ending.