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

Dragon's Bait

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  7,087 ratings  ·  356 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Alys is not a witch. But that doesn't matter--the villagers think she is and have staked her out on a hillside as a sacrifice to the local dragon.
It's late, it's cold, and it's raining, and Alys can think of only one thing--revenge. But first she's got to escape, and even if she does, how can one girl possibly take on an entire town alone?
Then the dragon a
Paperback, 196 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 1992)
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 Dragon's Bait, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kelsey A mature middle school or high school student. It would also be a fun quick read for adults, as it deals with questions of corruption, sexism,…moreA mature middle school or high school student. It would also be a fun quick read for adults, as it deals with questions of corruption, sexism, adultery, murder, and vengeance. The story itself is a clean adventure, without rape, sex, swearing, or unnecessary violence. A younger audience would enjoy the story and an older audience would enjoy the deeper ideals.(less)
Fazilat No, it doesn't. The story is concluded in the end.
Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon ShinnThe Seer and the Sword by Victoria HanleyFire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne JonesThe Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. DunkleThe Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce
Hidden Gems: YA-Fantasy Novels
1,950 books — 4,072 voters
Eragon by Christopher PaoliniThe Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. TolkienEldest by Christopher PaoliniBrisingr by Christopher PaoliniDragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
1,153 books — 2,220 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,087 ratings  ·  356 reviews

Sort order
Nov 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic
I wish there was a sequel.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Looking back at this, it seems that Twilight has been an exceptionally bad influence on teenage fantasy. Dragon's Bait fits many of the parameters of paranormal romance, which is notoriously bad, but it's also a coming-of-age story. And that's much better than any gorgeous, powerful piece of arm candy making up most of the plot.

Though there is Selendrile. He's a dragon who can change into human form - and an exceptionally good-looking human form - and is given plot-related reasons to travel with
Oh book, why you make me so torn?

I first heard about Dragon’s Bait through this piece on Entertainment Weekly about unmissable teen reads. And because it was an older title and because the Publishers Weekly review (which I sought after I read the EW article) said it is a “thoughtful mainstream fantasy with a gently feminist slant”, I decided I needed to read it soon.

Basically, the story follows a young girl, fifteen-year-old Alys, as she is accused of being a witch by her neighbours and summaril
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Published in 1992, this book suffers from the "this book is for young adults so it must be short" mentality that existed back then. And therefore, the characters are not as well developed as I would have liked. In her review for School Library Journal, Margaret Chang observed "While the writing is smooth and the story moves quickly, the girl's emotions are not convincingly portrayed. The story's tone wobbles, sometimes keeping a comic distance from tragic events. The abrupt ending may leave read ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I've read a few short YA books lately, most of which have been good. This one is the shortest of any of them, and it is also good, but lacks the depth that the other books have. The dragon character doesn't have much of a personality at all, and the girl accused of being a witch is driven only by revenge. I was waiting for the part where the girl realized that revenge doesn't make you feel any better, but I don't think she really got to that point, not truly. I still don't understand why the dra ...more
Maddie Senator
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a choice little find in my school library back in tenth grade, and it's been a favorite ever since! I love, love, love Selendrile, and I wish I could meet someone like him! The story is compelling, but not too long, and luckily it doesn't have a sequel. It's nice to have a stand-alone book sometimes!
I was also pleased that it had a good lesson. Fifteen or sixteen year old Alys is falsely accused of being a witch by neighbors and sentenced to death by dragon. They tie her to a big pole
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
I just happened to be scrolling through GR or Twitter and saw someone mention this book, and I couldn't believe I hadn't read it before. It sounded awesome! And it pretty much was. Basically, this girl is called a witch because the townspeople are awful and so she becomes food for a dragon who's been terrorizing them. Except that her brazenness makes the dragon curious and they become allies in revenge. I would not call them friends and there is definitely no romance to speak of, but that's not ...more
Taylor Spooner
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I liked about the book was that there was a lot of good scenes in each chapter. I also liked how the girl was able to be near a dragon without the dragon eating her. What I didn't like about the book was that there wasn't that many graphic scenes in the books that I have read before.
Jamie Collins
Oct 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I enjoy stories like this one. Not necessarily stories where the maiden is rescued by a handsome, mysterious hero, but those where help comes from an unexpected quarter - where someone who's supposed to be an enemy turns out to be a friend. I also like a turn-about, where the weaker party is called upon to do some rescuing of the stronger.

So theme-wise, I'm fine with this book. There's simply not enough to it. I don't read a lot of YA novels, but I did recently enjoy the only other Velde book I'
Not your usual fantasy tropes - what happens when the girl staked out for the dragon to eat, insteads joins forces with him to get revenge on her tormentors?
This quite good (albeit short) book.
I really enjoyed how the author did not 'humanize' the dragon, but instead constantly reminded the reader how alien he was, how he did not think like a human.
I definitely read more adventures of Alys and Selandrine.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this quite a while ago - probably when I was in middle school, and all I can remember is... loved it!
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the author's best. Reads like a genre Romance for 'tweens. Alys is such a princess; sure, sometimes she thinks about and even says independent or smart things, but basically it's a good thing she's got someone to rescue her. Slight & superficial.
Magadored wants to extrude your face normals
To sum up this book: Patronizing, moralistic, boring characterization.

Featuring an annoying male lead, Selendrile is a typical pretty boy with exotic magical features. With long white-blonde hair and purple eyes, his true form is that of a big-spankin' lizard. He's ever so knowing, without ever indicating it is what he's supposed to know, but that just adds to his mystical allure.

Entirely unlikeable, Selendrile is borderline abusive with our female lead, Alys. He enjoys: hauling her off withou
Alys is framed for witchcraft and sentenced to dragon. The dragon, however, offers vengeance, not death.

This is the second or third book by Vivian Vande Velde which I've read. All have been (very short) competent fantasies which haven't worked for me.

In this particular outing, we have a typical story about revenge - which is basically (view spoiler)
Nicko (The Cover Hoarder)
It took me a day and a half to finish this book. It was short, i think it was the shortest fantasy book I've ever read.

It's a standalone and as such it is entertaining as a light read, it lacks depth.
This is what I think happened: this book came out in the period where fantasy was more marginalized than SF (can you tell I'm not a SF lover at all?) and during this time it was thought that children and teens have the attention span of mice so fantasy novels that exceeded 450 pages were considered
Nov 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
He refused to release her hands until she looked at him again. He smiled, but this time the amusement didn't reach his eys. "It is not often," he said in a voice that was soft and husky but well within the norms of a human of his --apparent-- age and build, "that I find a damsel flinging rocks at me." He paused as though considering and slowly added, "It happened once with a knight, but I'd already eaten his horse and most of his weapons. The squire, too, as I recall." He tipped his head slightl ...more
Oct 18, 2015 rated it liked it
The townspeople are convinced Alys is a witch after people accuse her of suspicious behaviour around the village. She is taken up to the hills and offered to the dragon. At first I was intrigued by how Alys would obtain her justice. I didn't expect it to come in the form of help from a boy with pale hair and amethyst eyes who could shape-shift into any animal. The dragon form was seriously underutilised in the book! I guess I expected any story with a dragon to have some epic fight scene or some ...more
Jul 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
Alys is a young girl in a medieval village like any other--until she's abruptly accused of being a witch and staked out on a hillside to appease a dragon. Furious at the betrayal, she makes a deadly deal with the dragon--she'll help him and he'll kill the villagers. Their travels together bring them to a better understanding of each other's prickly natures, but the final reckoning looms...
Nelson Olivo
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
The main character fearless and confident never lets anyone get in her way and tell her what to do. In the book Alys the main character was one of the only witches in her town and was treated like a monster. So she took matters in to her own hands and used her witch powers to curse the siners who despised her. This book is good for people who enjoy fantasy and like people getting/receiving justice for their actons. Alys is the most fearless person ever and a theme is to not let people get in you ...more
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: revenge, fantasy
Vivian Vande Velde is one of those writers of old who can create a fantasy world and give you believable, interesting characters in only a few pages. A lost art.

(1) She does YA romance in a way that YA romance has ceased to be, without the gushing of instalove (yes, it's a thing now), without the constant fixation on outward appearance, and without the need for definite, I-love-you, you-love-me HEA.

(2) She does the biggest paranormal romance plots and offers in three simple, satisfying books.
Karyn Kar Mun (Thy Evil Queen)
There is a big difference between
- A romance written in a fantasy setting; and
- A fantasy novel with romance in it.
Most authors do not write a well-balanced story with both elements – to use a famous example, Harry Potter is heavy on the fantasy and very light on the romance. (Unless, of course, if you’re reading fanfiction.)

Dragon’s Bait is neither. It is a story of a girl and a dragon, and as a fantasy novel it is a total fail, because the world-building was not well thought out at all.
- Yo
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Short, sweet and wonderful, Dragon's Bait is perfect for people with short attention spans or those who aren't into swallowing high fantasy -- and for everyone else, too. Vivian Vande Velde takes the classic theme of revenge and turns it into an enjoyable fantasy tale for all ages.

Alys. The whole novel is about her personal growth, and watching her develop is the real treat of the story, especially as so much of it happens when she's butting heads with Selendrile (hot name alert!), the dragon. T
Jun 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I would love a sequel, but at the same time I felt that this book was a complete and satisfying story by itself. The book spans less than a week, but by the end of the adventures both the heroine and the dragon have come to learn something new and their outlooks are changed because of that. This shows some growth in the characters which I like.
Can't say I love the protagonist since she seems to cling to the dragon and expect him to provide all the answers, but she does take action when needed an
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Meh. I wanted to like it, but I never felt like it quite settled into a purposeful story. Yeah, that doesn't make a lot of sense, I know, but I'm at a loss to try and describe why this particular story didn't float my boat. The premise is OK: greedy wheelwright wants his neighbor's land and accuses the teenage daughter of witchcraft when they refuse to sell. She's condemned and staked out to be eaten by a dragon who instead helps her get revenge.

Maybe I just didn't feel like Vande Velde was cer
Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
There is something special about this book; special enough to make me come back and edit my first review. I have read longer books, more developed books, books with sequels; and yet many do not have the charm of this hastily written little gem. There are so many icebergs extending far down under its apparently shallow surface. Almost more than a physical landscape, it has an emotional landscape. The fact that nothing is spelled out for you only adds to its attraction. Did she think --? Did he me ...more
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reading this felt like I was watching a Disney movie. And I definitely don't mean that in a bad way. This was a short read, but it didn't change the fact that this was wonderful.

I liked the fact that this book explores the question, "Is it wrong to yearn for revenge?" "Will you truly be satisfied when you have done the deed?"

Also, you can actually see that the girl changes for the better at the end of the book. Which is always a whooping plus point for me. :)

There is absolutely no insta-love her
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009-reads, own-it
This is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. Alys is accused of witchcraft and therefor left, tied up, on a mountain by the people of her village, to be eaten by the small dragon roaming nearby. She gets free before she sees the dragon and wonders what to do. Then she see's the dragon. She kind of wants to get this over with so she starts throwing rocks at it to get it's attention. The dragon soars over andturns into a 17-year-old man, Selendrile. Instead of eating her, he offe ...more
Katelyn Harper
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
To this day, Dragon's Bait is one of my absolute favorite books. I don't even know how many times I've read it, delighted by it each time.
Basically a young girl, Alys, is accused of being a witch and as her punishment, she is "sacrificed" to the dragon. The dragon, Selendrile, has no interest in eating her; he's actually amused by her overwhelming desire for revenge. He then agrees to help her plan out her revenge on the town that falsely declared her to be a witch.
While reading Dragon's Bait,
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Wanted a quick read and choose this book. I read it in highschool and remember liking it ok, but dont think I enjoyed it as much on this read through. The set up for the story is interesting but not particularly well executed and I didnt really like the main character. While I have enjoyed how this author often does the unexpected in her genre stories the moral lessons from this book were no surprise.

If this book had been a little longer and better paced it might have worked for me, but as is I
Jackie "the Librarian"
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teens who like Tamora Pierce
Alys is an independent girl running her father's shop during his illness, when she is accused of being a witch by her neighbors, who really just want her shop. She is tied up outside the village and left for the dragon that has been rampaging to eat.
But when he arrives, instead of eating Alys, he offers her a chance to take revenge on her enemies. Should Alys take the dragon up on his offer? Wouldn't it be ironic if she ended up committing the crimes she has already been found guilty of doing?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Dragon's Bait opinions 4 40 Nov 03, 2011 03:27AM  
  • Flight of the Dragon Kyn (Dragon Chronicles, #2)
  • Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood
  • The Seer and the Sword (Healer and Seer, #1)
  • Heart's Blood (Pit Dragon Chronicles, #2)
  • The Princess's Dragon (The Breath of the Divine, #1)
  • By These Ten Bones
  • Song in the Silence (The Tale of Lanen Kaelar, #1)
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1-4)
  • The Goblin Wood
  • The Last Dragonlord (Dragonlord, #1)
  • The Lioness and Her Knight (The Squire's Tales, #7)
  • Dragon of the Lost Sea
  • Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra, #1)
  • The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy
  • Dragon's Egg
  • The Changeling Sea
Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, currently residing in Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at young adults.

Her novels and short story collections usually have some element of horror or fantasy, but are primarily humorous. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel. She says that she really likes to write for
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“That's very kind of you," she said bitterly, for she no longer believed in kindness. "And you're willing to do this...why? Because you're fond of helping others?"

"I'm fond of revenge," the dragon answered.”
More quotes…