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Jakkin, a bond boy who works as a Keeper in a dragon nursery on the planet Austar IV, secretly trains a fighting pit dragon of his own in hopes of winning his freedom.

292 pages, Hardcover

First published May 1, 1982

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About the author

Jane Yolen

884 books2,872 followers
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.

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5 stars
4,415 (36%)
4 stars
4,325 (35%)
3 stars
2,746 (22%)
2 stars
522 (4%)
1 star
157 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 374 reviews
Profile Image for H.L. Stephens.
Author 3 books62 followers
August 5, 2016
I loved this book when I was a kid. Read it for the first time in 5th grade. Still love it to this day.
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I had to write a bit more in defense of this book after reading some of the harsher critiques written by others. First of all, this was a children's book and yes, perhaps it it is not politically correct for today where feminism is concerned, it does create a world that did not exist before its inception. That is the beauty of fiction. This book was one of my first plunges into the genre and I was hooked BECAUSE of this book; not in spite of it. I was lost in a world of dragons and the boy who had the daring to dream beyond his limited life. There was magic to the pages of this book, and I for one have not forgotten the touch of that magic....not in all these years. So though it may not be the most sophisticated writing that ever graced the page, it is a beloved book that graces a place of honor on my bookshelf and always will.
Profile Image for Caroline.
34 reviews
July 13, 2010
I absolutely hated this atrocity of literature. I felt as if I was reading a seventh grader’s failed attempt at a creative writing assignment. Jane Yolen tries to give credibility to her appallingly poorly written story by adding adult elements, like the constant reference to the “bag girls” (a.k.a. prostitutes) and bleary-eyed, abusive weed smokers. She also invents cuss-words for her world which she readily uses with gusto, making me cringe as if she had actually used a real one. She apparently does not know or understand the audience she is aiming for, and, therefore, entirely misses her target. I’m not normally a harsh book critic, but I wish I could rate this book with negative stars. It was bleak and boring from beginning to end, and I felt absolutely no sympathy for any of the clichéd characters. It felt like a cheap rip off of every fantasy novel since the birth of that genre (they even greet each other with a version of the star trek Vulcan salute! *gasp*). I know there are more books in this series, and I’ve heard they “get better.” But no one could pay me enough money to even pick one up.
Profile Image for Adrienne.
118 reviews
October 13, 2012
First I gave it a 3. Then I took a nap and realized it was closer to a 2.

The world sounds beautiful, but the characters are decidedly not. I usually don't care much what people in non-existent worlds do but the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get.

Main character- "Hi girl that I wasn't particularly close to. You're nice and pretty and I kind of like you but never said anything to that effect in the entire book. Your dad gave you to me, and one day I'll have enough money that you'll gladly accept me as your master."

*facepalm* She seems like the only decent character in the book, I hope she develops her medical skills and sells his kidneys on the black market while he sleeps.
Profile Image for Josie.
1,394 reviews29 followers
May 22, 2013
Re-read in May 2013: I'm wondering if I got all the references to drug addiction and prostitution when I read this as a child, because as an adult it leaves me baffled that a short, simple, supposedly-aimed-at-middle-grade story could be so... skeezy. Don't get me wrong, I thought the worldbuilding was good, but the bleakness and the Serious Issues (most of the population are slaves and women are treated as objects) seemed at odds with the simplistic narration.

The story is predictable, but it's kind of hilarious how useless the hero, Jakkin, is. He steals a dragon (which is later revealed to have been set up as a test, so... really not that impressive a feat...) and then sets about training it out in the desert, but doesn't give any thought to how he's going to transport it to the fighting pits in the city. He doesn't even register it, or book it in for its first fight. Of course it's a woman, Akki, who thinks about all these details, plus a million other things (including saving Jakkin's stupid life at least twice). But instead of her competence and strength (and extreme patience around stupid men) being recognised, we have to endure a lecherously awful scene where her father chucklingly tells Jakkin that Akki needs a strong master, and Jakkin should be the man to take her in hand.

Ugh. Head, meet desk.
Profile Image for K.
1,076 reviews12 followers
September 11, 2018
Humanity arrived long ago on the planet Austar IV and slowly carved an existence for themselves out of the desert planet. There, they found dragons, and made them a (seemingly) essential part of their livelihood. Entertainment, food, clothing, etc, all come from dragons. The book follows the story of a young bondsman, Jakkin, as he attempts to steal a hatchling dragon, raise it as his own, and train it to fight in the dragon pits.

The internal logic of the book is broken the more I think of it. Humans still travel the stars & this planet is a stop for entertainment & gambling. I guess the nearest equivalent would be a 3rd world country that has a decent tourist trade. While the elite live decent lives, the entire res of the population lives in poverty, attempting to buy their way out of servitude. Yolen tried to create her own vocabulary & terms for things in the book, but instead of adding a richness to the story, it hindered the storytelling & felt confusing & awkward.

The book was fairly misogynistic, too. Women's work was mainly sewing, cooking, or whoring. For a book aimed at kids, there was an awful lot of emphasis that the only way a woman could make money was through prostitution. One young woman wanted to become a doctor, but Jakkin could only envision buying her bond & being her master, rather than her equal. I've really loved some of Yolen's other stories, but there were a lot of irregularities in this that made me think that world-building is not her strong suit. I'm torn on whether to let my girls read this because of the traditional male-centric way the story is told. I'm definitely disappointed.

*edit: no longer torn. Told the girls to skip this. There are better books out there that they should spend their time reading.
Profile Image for Elliot.
81 reviews
April 25, 2016
This book is written for a younger audience, middle grade age I believe, as such I'm going to try and avoid any criticisms on the writing style, though I had many complaints about it. Instead I'll focus on the plot, characters, and the world building. This book is the first in what I believe is a four book series. I haven't read the other books and I'm not going to finish the series. I'm aware some of the issues I have with the first book might be fixed in the next book, but I feel the first book of any series should be strong enough to stand on it's own merit.

World Building: What's that you ask? Well I wouldn't ask the author of this book. We get a short excerpt in the beginning of the book about the planet Austar IV where the story takes place. Yolen was also kind enough to provide us with a completely useless family tree of Heart's Blood. I say useless because after reading this book I don't see how this information actually adds anything to the story line. I mean do I really need to know which dragon was culled, which wasn't and who mated with who. Is that actually relevant information in later books? We're not talking Game of Thrones here, there weren't that many dragons. So my issue with this book is there is very little, if any, world building. By the end of the book I've learned almost nothing about the world the characters inhabit.

Since I initially skipped reading the excerpt at the beginning, let's look at what we learn from the book alone:

1. People are capable of space travel.
2. The planet the people inhabit has dragons, which almost became extinct until the people stepped in and started to breed them to fight each other in pits.
3. The planets entire economy is based around these fights.
4. The people are separated into two classes: slaves and masters. Seriously are there any non slave owning people on this horrible excuse for a planet?
5. A slave can earn enough money to buy their freedom.

Now lets look at what we learn from going back to the excerpt:

1. People are capable of space travel.
2. The planet started out as a penal colony named Austar IV. By the way, the inhabitants are called Austarians. That's really not that clever. Also, they originally came from Earth.
3. The capital city is called Rokk.
3. Austar IV has dragons, which almost became extinct, until some genius said, "Hey, lets breed these guys and make them fight each other."
4. The planets economy is based around these fights.
5. The people are separated into two classes: slaves and masters.
6. The separation of classes is based on the convict-guard hierarchy from generations ago.

So after 292 pages, we actually learn less about the planet then we do in the excerpt. This for me, is a major problem, the story wasn't interesting enough by itself to keep reading. I only finished the book because I was hoping by the end I would learn more about the planet than the meager amount of information the author doled out. Why and how did the Austarians first come up with the idea and ability to breed a thirteen foot long fire breathing lizard that can fly? Is dragon the only meat on the planet that's edible? Were the settlers so desperate for fresh meat, they figured, why not? Are there any other animals on this planet besides dragons and drakks? Austar IV was suppose to be a penal colony, wouldn't they have sent them off with livestock or supplies? Why can people telepathically communicate with these dragons, when as far as I can tell, they're only native to this planet? Humans didn't evolve to telepathically communicate with a different species in 182 years and I'm pretty sure the dragons didn't either. Is the ability to sense whether an egg contains a dragon related to the telepathy? If so, why can only some people sense them? Why is stealing a dragon egg forgivable, but stealing a hatchling a horrible crime? I read the explanation the author gave, but honestly that made very little sense. If a person steals an egg that contains a dragon, you're still short a hatchling, you just don't know it. Why do dragons only respond to trainers when they speak thou and thee? Why was Sarkkhan trying to breed a mute dragon? Why is there no electricity except in rare instances, but they have what I assume are trucks and high powered tasers that are powerful enough to kill a dragon? Why is a book written by a female author so sexist? Maybe some of these questions are answered in the following books, but honestly the author did such a poor job exploring her own world in this book that I just don't care.

Plot: The entire story is based around a young man named Jakkin. He's a bond slave to a fairly well off and successful dragon breeder. Jakkin dreams of one day being a master, our hero people. He doesn't just want to be free man; he wants to one day own other people. In order to free himself though, he needs money. Jakkin's dad had some experience in training dragons before he died, so he decides to steal an egg from his master and raise it to fight in the pits, because we all know the ability to train a 13 foot dragon to fight is hereditary. Before our hero, can steal an egg however, he's severely injured trying to kill a creature called a drakk, which kills and eats dragon hatchlings. When he wakes up all the eggs have hatched. Since stealing a hatchling is severely punished, he decides to torture himself with what he can't have by going to visit the new dragons. While in the barn he discovers that the people who counted the hatchlings made an error and they missed one. Not even a little bit suspicious, he steals the dragon and sneaks him off to an area he had set up to train it. He spends a year training this dragon to fight in the pits with the help of another bond slave named Akki. At the end of the year he has Akki register his dragon in it's first fight. The dragon wins and Jakkin's master congratulates him and tells Jakkin he actually let him steal the dragon. The master deliberately miscounted so Jakkin would have a chance to prove what a great trainer he was. He then offers Jakkin Akki's services, who is apparently his daughter, when he finally earns enough to free himself. The End.

The book itself was poorly paced. We don't get to the theft of the hatchling until about page 90. We then have to wait until page 236 for the first and only fight. If only the pages in between were actually entertaining. We learn all the moves Jakkin teaches his dragon, but in name only. The descriptions that follow are so poor I'm still not sure what move is what.

Characters: There's not much I can say here except, there isn't a single redeemable character in the lot. There isn't a single moment in the book that our protagonist thinks maybe you shouldn't own people. In fact, we end the book with Jakkin dreaming of one day buying Akki. What really irritates me is that the author made the protagonist so unlikable,after subjecting us to crappy world-building and a poorly paced plot. It was totally unnecessary as well; it's possible to create a character whose evil or even morally objectionable and have them still be likable. Just look at the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathon Stroud. This book just failed on every level.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Steve Cran.
862 reviews87 followers
August 7, 2020
On the almost desert all desert planet of Austraria 4 in perhaps a time in the distant future when mankind has colonized other planets in the galaxy, there exists dragons. They were almost extinct when humans arrived but then they began breeding them. The purpose was for fighting in fighting pits. Not all dragon are domesticated , to be sure there are plenty of feral dragons. Our hero Jekkin lost his father to a feral dragon while trying to tame it. This planet is seemingly medieval despite being well into the future. People can sell themselves into bond servitude for money to pay off debt and survive. Only thing is you have to buy your way out if you ever want to be free. Some of the dragon slaying weapons are futuristic and require a power source.

Jekkin as mentioned earlier lost hi father to a feral dragon. His mother in order to make ends meet sold herself and her son into bond servitude. She dies while he is young. He is a one servant to Sarrukhan a master dragon breeder and owner of fighting dragons. Jekkin has only one shot at freedom and That is to steal an uncounted egg before it hatches in hopes of raising a dragon in secret strong enough to fight. Which he does. All through out the year in secret he raises, feeds , trains and protects the dragon until it is big enough for the pit.

A perfect book for young adults. It explores the relationship of a young orphan bonding to a pet that both needs his protection and he needs it. A bond developed . There is also some romance with what appears is a bond nurse. She nurses Jekkin back to health on several occasions.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
710 reviews1,147 followers
May 29, 2014
Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com

This was actually my second read-through of Dragon’s Blood, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time around. It’s book one in a four book series, and I wanted to refresh my memory on everything that happens before continuing on. As it turns out, I really hadn’t forgotten much, just that the book was a lot shorter than I remembered it being. Because of that, this review is also going to be short and sweet. :-)

It’s no secret that I love anything to do with dragons. The fact that this series sat gathering dust on my shelf for so long should be considered an ultimate shame in my household. It had an incredibly cool and original concept, some fun and likable characters, a unique setting (for a dragon book), and a plot that had me engaged right from the start!

As I mentioned in the overview, the concept really was my favorite part of Dragon’s Blood. These people were originally sent to the planet as prisoners, but after several generations had formed a gritty, functioning, society. Dragons were already native to the planet, so it was only a matter of time before someone thought to capture one. From that grew an economy of selling dragons and their eggs, and training studs to fight each other in the pits. I found the entire thing fascinating and loved how thoroughly imagined Yolen’s society came across. The story starts out with a young slave boy trying to figure out how to steal a dragon egg from his master so he can raise a fighting dragon and win his way to freedom… it was awesome!

The only thing I had a hard time wrapping my head around was the all odd names. There were a lot of double k’s, and I found myself having to reorient a couple of times to make sure I was thinking about the right character. This was by no means a deal breaker, however, as the weird spellings actually had significance – communicating lineage and slavery status. I can get on board with just about anything if it serves a cool purpose, haha. In any case, other readers should probably try to read it a bit more carefully than I did.

Overall, this book had the same essence that made me fall in love with Anne McCaffrey, but was just different enough to feel like something original. If you enjoy Dragon books, I highly recommend adding this one to your list!
Profile Image for Matt.
353 reviews8 followers
December 6, 2017
I picked this book up by accident, thinking it was Dealing With Dragons, which a friend recommended to me. Conincidentally, I finally guessed my mistake the same day that I found a copy of the latter book at a thrift shop. I should have a review of that one to post shortly.

As far as YA dragon fantasy stories go, this is about par for the course. It is clearly inspired by Anne McCaffrey in some respects. Silly sounding names abound. The vaguely medieval/ feudal culture includes a decent amount of patriarchal social mores, but there is one strong-willed woman who asists the main character in his quest. (Well, one beautiful potential love interest and another strong-willed old crone side character.) There is a bit of a wowser of a deus ex machina near the end, but the actual end of the novel is pretty sweet. It’s a quick read and fairly enjoyable, but I don’t know if I will bother to keep reading in the series.

EDIT: A few days after posting this review it occurred to me that there is another merit to this book and potentially to the series. It might appeal to pokémon fans, since the main story is about raising a pet dragon to fight battles. This book focuses a lot on the rearing and breeding of dragons and doesn't get to the dragon battles until the last third or so, but the futher titles in the series probably focus on that enough to keep you pokémon-obsessed millennials interested. :p
Profile Image for Tar Buendía.
1,212 reviews63 followers
September 29, 2022
Leí por encima una cosa de Brandon Sanderson y este libro y con lo que me quedé fue con "la historia de un niño y su dragón". No leí nada más de la sinopsis y ahora estoy profundamente traumatizada. Si por lo menos hubiera visto cómo se llama la saga, madre mía.
Profile Image for Ashley Verity.
87 reviews7 followers
March 7, 2019
I read this on a break from a true crime book and it definitely perked me up enough to go back to the true crime. That being said a few parts tugged at my heart-strings. Jane Yolen never disappoints
Profile Image for Adrianna.
85 reviews9 followers
February 4, 2010
This is a story about a boy and his dragon, which takes place in a fantasy time period and setting. Jakkin Stewart lives in slavery with other men and women (they are known as bonders). The only way to get free from bond is to become a master, not only a master of humans but of dragons. The book explores Jakkin's journey into manhood as well as a friendship with a dragon hatchling. The book starts a little slow, but after the first three chapters Jakkin faces hardship after hardship, from stealing an egg to fighting evil drakks. There is even a love interest, a mysterious girl named Akki. Overall, it is a good read for a young adult between the ages of eight and fourteen. Despite being an adult, I enjoyed reading this book. However, I found myself wishing the author had done more with the themes and issues that arose during my reading, such as slavery (the idea of a master and a slave), the treatment of the dragons (both in the pits, the training, and the horrible culling), and finally the achievement of a dream (was it really everything you wanted?). However, since this is the first book of a trilogy, I think Yolen will address the unanswered questions in the later books. Most of my disappointments about Dragon's Blood, though, relate to the way Yolen translated some of the themes for a young person's mindset. Because of this, many of the issues felt diluted or too easily solved.
Profile Image for Jacob.
879 reviews48 followers
July 28, 2016
Another reread of a book I remembered enjoying in my youth. Fortunately this one is almost better than I remembered :) It's definitely youth-targeted but the characters and setting are rich and the story is well-written. It wraps up a little too quickly at the end, but hey, there's a sequel!

The setting is a desert planet where dragons are a native life form, and humans breed, raise, train, and have them fight for entertainment. The humans are divided into free and "bond", where the bonded people constantly wear a bag to show their indentured status, and when they fill that bag with money they'll have enough to buy their freedom. Yolen's frequent cultural references to the bags (where phrases and exclamations make a bag reference) bring home how central this aspect of the culture is and make the setting more believable.
3 reviews
December 30, 2011
I love dragon stories but this series disturbed me enough to sell them back (Which is something I never do)

It was a very difficult read for me and I'm college age. The intended age is for "young adults". I understand trying to teach children to be empathetic to non-human species as well as human but I wouldn't want to teach them with this book.



~Spoilers warning:~
The main characters start out by fighting these dragons, sometimes to the death. Then in later books the two heroes are "reborn" through a dying dragon which causes them to be permanently changed and disgusted with eating meat because they can now sense life like never before. All through the storyline horrid acts are done to these dragons.
~End Spoilers warning~
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
419 reviews35 followers
November 22, 2008
These books are meant for younger readers. But I often read children's books to see what avaialble for kids now.

The only reason the books got a 3 and not a 4 is as an adult I could see things coming, where a younger reader might not, so not as much suspense.

This book is a stand alone--but If you read all three books in the trilogy, it is quite short and enjoyable.

I serously recommend this also to any parents who have have their kids read "Harry Potter" and are asking "what next?" And imho girls and boys would both enjoy this book.

This book is a blend of fantasy and science fiction.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,014 reviews13 followers
February 1, 2019
Wow nostalgia. I had forgotten that this is technically scifi. I love the training parts but dislike how much the condensed time line skips. I do think Jakkin has pretty good characterization and thus it is a good 1st book in the trilogy.
70 reviews4 followers
April 13, 2017
One of the better dragon books I've read. It was slow, but a steady pace that made it a relaxing read until the climax when I couldn't put it down. Recommended for ages 12-16, but an enjoyable read for anyone who likes dragons.
November 7, 2017
It was unnerving in the beginning but when Jakkin fought the draks and go the egg thing went up a notch. It was cool to see how people got away with things when they were slaves. The only way to get out of slavery was to get money from dragon battles. You’d have to steal a dragon.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Marilee.
263 reviews
August 8, 2019
My feelings are definitely complicated for Dragon's Blood, by Jane Yolen. When I was a kid, I loved it, and re-read it multiple times. What my ten year old heart loved was the relationship of the main character, Jakkin, with his dragon, and the bond they shared. The world created in this book is a mixture of science fiction and fantasy, which I had never encountered before, and I found it fascinating!

Upon reading this book as an adult, though, I have found that it has not aged well. Primarily in the way women are treated in the society. The way that the society in this book is set up is male-dominated, male-run, male-centric, and the women are generally considered not good for anything but prostitution houses, called "baggeries". There are several comments throughout the book about this. Examples include "some of the older bond boys spent their time and gold at the baggeries as well, where girls waited to be filled like empty bags" (pg 8), and "...little, lithe, black-haired Akki, who should have been in the baggeries, but who preferred working around dragons and choosing her own men." (pg 13, Akki is only 15-16 years old, by the way).

I know it sounds like I have nothing but complaints but I am actually writing this review in defense of the book! The characters of Jakkin and Akki, are two highly motivated young people who want to better themselves despite living in a society that rarely allows for it. They aren't afraid to work hard, and do what needs to be done to meet their goals. Despite the hardships they are facing, they have the tenacity and bravery to try anyway.

I credit this book for inspiring my love of fantasy, and especially dragons. Is it problematic? Definately. Do I like the way women are treated in this book? Absolutely not. But the examples that Jakkin and Akki set , despite the flawed society they live in, are worth reading about. As an adult, I would say that if you have young kids reading this, it's definitely worth it to spend the time discussing both the pros and cons of the book, and what it means to you.

This is the first book in a four book series, and while I have not read the others, from what I understand many people think it's worth it to read them all. So I think I'll trust that sentiment and continue on with the series. 🙂
Profile Image for Me-Connie.
446 reviews54 followers
September 12, 2020
Picked this one up on a whim.

Once I had accidentally received a book in this series as a mix-up in the ILLO process (I was actually looking for Here, There Be Dragons). I saw this at a used book sale and figured I would give Yolen a try since I'd been pseudo-aware of her for years.

Ultimately, I can't come up with any merits that this book has. I was staring at the rating, trying to come up with one merit for this book. One reason I would recommend it to someone to read. One reason I would foreseeably read it again. I couldn't.

The only reason I read this book was because it was a simple, quick, and easy book. I was having a stressful week and every once and awhile I'd pause everything that was on my plate and read a chapter. The only reason I continued with this book is that I enjoy reading. It was a stress relief, but it wasn't a good book.

Younger me would have been more fascinated by the idea of taking care and raising a dragon. Present day me was squeamish at the patchy world building. I was disappointed in the representation of brothels. I thoroughly disliked the way the love-interest was treated. The characterization of any of the characters was not great and relied heavily on harmful stereotypes.

Ultimately, I can't recommend this book to anyone. There are better books about dragons.
Profile Image for Rose.
106 reviews9 followers
January 16, 2022
2.5 stars

This is a book I randomly picked up from a second hand store on holiday.
I was immediately drawn to the cover because dragon.

I'm a simple woman, I see dragon: I read.
The book itself was an easy and some what enjoyable read about a boy stealing his own dragon egg.
While and characters and story were fun and easy to get into, the world felt a lot more mature and lived-in following similar fantasy-sci-fi vibes of earlier works such as Anne McCaffery. Though not much is done with the sci-fi elements as they seem there mostly to add flavour to the world. It made for a strange combination of light hearted story of a boy and a dragon with a back-drop of slaves and women treated as objects. It was a strangely misogynistic book written by a woman author, where the only woman even any sort of agency is constantly assumed to have 'made a good prostitute' multiple times by the main character (as that seems to be the only career women usually have in this book).
No real change or want for society change exists in the main character as it is a middle-grade book so we're just left feeling a bit ikk for watching a boy become his own slaver, but don't worry, he's a nice boy!

I won't be continuing the series, even though there were elements I enjoyed.
Over all the story was 3 stars, the world brought it down to a 2.5 star.
794 reviews
December 5, 2020
I loved this middle grade story about a young boy and his dragon. Stolen and trained in secret, the dragon and the boy form an incredible bond. With a little help, both known and hidden, the pair make their way to glory in the fighting pits.

This is a fast, uncomplicated read. There are some unsavory aspects (drug use and prostitution) but honestly It didn’t bother me. Rather it helped set the world and fit what I’ve come to expect in an “off-Earth” book. Does it belong in middle grade? Maybe not - although I know kids these days are exposed to much worse. The writing is fairly simplistic as well - but I didn’t expect more from this book and I found it incredibly touching in places. I found Jakkin’s naivety endearing, and his relationship with Akki typical with what I remember from being that age. Boys can be dumb. :)
Profile Image for Kaila.
798 reviews97 followers
January 7, 2019
3.5 stars. Quick and fun read. I remember picking this book up when I was about 12 and reading it in one evening - but I had no memory of the story. In fact, I remember a scene pretty vividly that I was sure was in this book, only to find out it was not. Now I have to figure out what book that scene was in. r/tomt here I come.

I will definitely be picking up the sequels.
Profile Image for elissa.
2,068 reviews139 followers
June 11, 2017
I read this whole series in around 2004, and liked them a lot. I don't remember a whole lot from them, but I have some fuzzy images. Not sure why I've never remembered to add them.

**Oh, now I see that I did add the boxed set, just didn't add them individually.
Profile Image for Debbie Barr.
345 reviews29 followers
November 6, 2019
One of my childhood favorites! I just re-read this with my husband and it was fun to revisit it.
Profile Image for Izzy.
33 reviews3 followers
October 26, 2020
This story begins with a young boy named Jakkin. He is a bond boy, which is kind of like slavery, and he must fill his bond bag to set himself free. To do this Jakkin decides to steal a dragon egg and raise it to fight in the pits. After getting hurt and ending up staying in the hospital for a couple weeks he missed his chance to steal an egg. Instead he ends up stealing a hatched dragon when he realized the people he worked for did not count the dragons correctly. Jakkin then takes the dragon to place he had already set up to raise it and starts working on raising it. Jakkin ends up having a very strong bond with the dragon which is rare. He has to be super careful so no one finds out about him and the dragon. Eventually someone does find out about him and the dragon. A girl named Akki. She works at the hospital that Jakkin stayed in while he was healing. She helps Jakkin take care of the dragon and they become close. Soon it is time for his dragon to fight and Akki helps Jakkin set up a date for him to take his dragon to the pits. Everything ends up working perfectly fine and you learn stuff about Akki and the guy Jakkin works for.
All in all it was an okay book. Not my favorite and it was dragged out a lot. Like...half the book could have been cut. There was a lot of boring stuff and I was mostly just waiting for the book to end. It seemed like the beginning of the book was leading up to a bunch of stuff but the stuff just ended up being boring. I most likely will never read this book again.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Trevor.
466 reviews14 followers
April 30, 2017
This series is a sort of precursor to the many YA dystopian novels of today. It has the irritating kid who gets dragged into a revolutionary conspiracy, a society that revolves around blood sports, a surprisingly dark world in which slavery and prostitution are normal parts of life, and strange pseudo-mystical plot twists that make you question whether the author had a plan or just made it up as she went along.

It probably would have been a bestseller if it was written today.
Profile Image for Saphirablue.
922 reviews78 followers
March 17, 2012
Well, this book didn't click with me. Neither the characters nor the story managed to catch me. There was a bit too little worldbuilding for me in it and some things were left unexplained (why are the male dragons named "Blood xy", why the females "Heart xy"? Why does Master Sarkkhan have an eye on Jakkin and hopes that he'll succeed? Why are dragons more likely to respond to "thou" and "thee"?).
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ariana.
282 reviews48 followers
December 29, 2012
There's nothing wrong with this book. The intention here is to have a series of books about Jakkin and his dragon, but it's a poorer quality that I've come to expect from Yolen. There are great elements in this book, but the whole was rather flat.

I don't mind a series of books if it's done well, but this is one of those 'series for series's sake' situations.
Profile Image for AliceAnn.
589 reviews
June 5, 2020
While I really enjoyed the bond between Jakkam and his dragon, and getting to see all the other dragons, I found the whole concept of masters and bondsmen, aka owners and slaves, as well as being told that women should be completely subservient to men, extremely abhorrent. I doubt if I'll continue on with the series.
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