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Joust (Dragon Jousters #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  9,580 Ratings  ·  236 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
From Mercedes Lackey, renowned for her Valdemar novels (Exile's Honor, Exile's Valor, et al.) that feature the intimate relationship between human Heralds and their sentient horselike Companions, comes an exciting new saga about dragons and the courageous men who train and ride them. Vetch is a young Altan serf working his fingers to the bone f
ebook, 448 pages
Published March 2nd 2004 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published March 2nd 2003)
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Emmalee Not really. There aren't any retelling of fairy tales or anything like that. This is a complete stand alone series. Do you like dragons and egypt?
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy and dragon lovers
As a dragon enthusiast I jumped for joy when I found this book on the bookshelf at my local bookstore. After I read it I couldn’t help but think that this was what a dragon book should be. Mercedes Lackey has always been one of my favorite fantasy writers and in this book she proves why she deserves all of the praise that she gets. Fans of Anne McGaffry’s Dragonriders of Pern series will not be disappointed in this book. Despite the fact that Joust revolves around dragonriders, referred to as Jo ...more
Aug 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dragons
I was something of a Mercedes Lackey fan when her earliest books came out -- not a fanatical fan by any means, but I read and sought out the subsequent Valdemar books as they came out. Somewhere along the way I moved on to other things, and the reviews on her later offerings didn't motivate me to return.

I picked up Joust recently, in part because I was looking for a book of a certain length to read at a 10-12 pages a night from mid-August through September. This turned out to be an ideal book fo
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People new to stories involving dragons
Recommended to Allison by: :( Fond memories of other series
When I picked this up, I expected to really enjoy it. After all, I like Mercedes Lackey's writing, and it had been a long time since I had read any good dragon-focused fiction. Sadly, it seems as if Lackey lifted this story from one of my favorite series of all time- The Pit Dragon Trilogy by Jane Yolen.

Although I will admit that the whole dragon and his boy theme is old as dirt, reading Joust was more like deja-vu than I ever could have imagined. Both stories take place in dry, arid locations
Joust drowns in its own self-righteousness.

Vetch is honest, kind and humble, everyone else is lazy, incompetent and ignorant. But Vetch makes these snap decisions at first sight. He decides the other dragon boys don't like him so never attempts to say hello to him, yet it's their fault that they are not friends.

Vetch assumes (again at first sight) that one of the overseers is concerned only with proving his status above others and will punish Vetch for any mistakes. The overseer never actually
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read that many Mercedes Lackey books, even though she’s one of the most popular and prolific fantasy writers today. I picked up Joust for $1 during a Borders closing sale. The plot follows Vetch, a young serf plucked from his cruel master’s yard to become a dragon boy to the jouster Ari and dragon Kashet. The world is Ancient Egypt with a little magic and a few flying serpents.

The beginning is slow. Very slow. It takes 23 pages for Vetch to fetch a bucket of water. Of course, if someon
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ancient Egyptian inspired setting with dragons. A slow burner, but I enjoyed it.
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever gotten that feeling, after finishing a book? That amazing feeling, of "wow." Simple amazement, and knowledge that what you have just read will remain with you forever? That's how I felt after gently closing the cover of Joust by Mercedes Lackey. Interestingly, if you ask me for a list of my all-time favorite books, fully half would be written by Lackey, while the other half is pulled from every author, genre, and intended audience. This book was certainly one of my very favorite. ...more
Sarah (Inklings Read)
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen
Shelves: favorites, own, ebook
Vetch, a serf working for a terrible and abusive master, knows nothing but servitude until Jouster Ari comes along. Taking Vetch under his wing, he gives him no more work than he can handle, teaches him the ways of dragons, and trusts him with the care of his dragon, Kashet. Soon after, Vetch has dreams of raising a dragon of his own.

I must address an issue here before I start my review. Many people see this series as comparable to The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen, and in many ways it is…
Kelsey S. Hock
I liked Joust.

This was my first read of Lackey's and I enjoined it well enough. The few characters (3-4) that were developed were three dimensional and real enough. The plot was good, if not fast paced, and the world building/dragon knowledge well thought through.

What took this down from a five star?

I could probably summarize this 373 page book in less than five plot points. It was definitely slow moving, and I can't help but feel it would have been better if it was a little hacked down and its
Daniel Schwabauer
The care and feeding of dragons in ancient Egypt.

This book was my first experience with the work of Mercedes Lackey. Joust is moderately enjoyable, in spite of the fact that very little actually happens in it. Presumably this is because the author is using the story to set up a larger series, but I would have preferred half as many words and twice as much conflict.

That said, it is probably to the author's credit that she was able to drag me through 400+ pages of internal monologues. (The first 2
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the first time ever, national best-selling legend Mercedes Lackey draws from her extensive knowlege of animals and her professional background as an
avian expert-to create something truly special…

The most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.

It is a richly conceived, fully realized vision, inspired by the culture of ancient Egypt, the legends of Atlantis--and the science of animal behavior and
biology. This is how dragons would live, breed, hatch, hunt, and bon
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Saphirablue by: Goodreads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This story was really good. It's set in a world composed of two kingdoms (or at least it only mentions two) Alta and Tia. Kvetch is a Altan serf to a cruel Tian master who owns the land that Kvetch's family used to own. Kvetch is rescued by Ari, a Tian jouster and dragonrider. Ari gives Kvetch the job of taking care of his dragon. Kvetch is fascinated by the dragons and tries to learn all he can about them... Tian (and later you find out Altan) society seems to resemble ancient Egypt (dress, set ...more
Tessa DesMarais
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good kids book I loved when I was younger. The series gets more sophisticated as it goes on, so I'd suggest for kids who are starting to get into YA or even are on the upper end, because the writing itself is superb. The worldbuild is intensely Egyptian, but enthralling and very well developed. The main protagonist isn't stupid, for once, which is amazing.
The others in the series are much better (the third is the BEST, I've read it four or five times) but this one is the foundation and still
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
New series by Ms. Lackey is awesome! I'm rating this a 3.5 but since I only round down, it's showing up as a three. I loved the attention to detail on showing how to take care of a dragon. The opposing forces are ominous. I know which side I'd pick. This book reminded me of Ms. McCaffrey's dragon singer series. When Menolly raised the fire dragons, this book is similar in several ways. Enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one.
☽ Shannon ☾
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
This book made me realise something in particular I really enjoy in books; learning about things. I get it, I'm a big nerd even in my spare time. I thoroughly loved learning about caring for the dragons, saddling, buffing, etc. Will I ever get to meet a Dragon to carry it out? No! Would I be able to do it though? Probably!

Thanks Mercedes Lackey
Jo Oehrlein
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dragon
This is a Mercedes Lackey book to the max. There's a TON of world-building and not a ton of plot.

I agree with the other reviewers that Vetch decides (without much evidence presented in the book) that the other dragon boys dislike him and will pick on him. Vetch is also a lot of angry. I get that he's conflicted as an Altan working for the Tians.

There is some redundancy -- the stuff about nets for training is mentioned twice, for example (and is assumed to be brand new the second time).

There's so
A fairly standard run-of-the-mill fantasy novel about dragons. The dragons are misunderstood and mistreated, and therefore their full talents are hidden, until one day our protagonist steals a dragon egg and raises it off in the desert or something. I read it awhile ago, but it was very enjoyable. Enough to read the series.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mercedes Lackey doesn't write a bad story. This has an entirely different feel than the Valdamar series and that is a good thing. I love dragons and am happy to have an entire book about a boy who loves them. There is so much more to it than that but it would be more fun for you to discover it. I recommend this book!
Annette McIntyre
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Vetch is a serf. With no rights and tied to the land that used to belong to his father's family. One day he sees his first dragon and life will never be the same again.

I really enjoyed this book and wish I had the rest of the series.
ms bookjunkie
OMG, amazing. Fantastic. Fascinating. Rich in worldbuilding and characters. Exquisite. Love love love!
Riko Stan
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really, really diggin' this one. Can't believe I hadn't read it before now.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this series!! I wish she would write more in this Dragon crazy universe! 💗👍
Kerian Halcyon
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kerian by: local librarian
There are a fair few ways to nearly guarantee that I am going to give a book a read, and one of them is if it has dragons. If it wants me to keep reading, it'll give those dragons an interesting/in-depth biology, or include them in the world's culture in a way that keeps me riveted. Joust, thankfully, has both of these and more, and it's safe to say that I enjoyed it immensely.

Dragons mixed with an Egyptian-like theme is a great premise for a book. I had thought that, after the disappointment of
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is amazing. I love every aspect of it! The dragons are refreshingly different, the characters interesting and the plot simple yet powerful. I highly recommend this book and the next two of it's sequels. (Ignore book #4.)

For the full review check us out at
Patricia Litz
ok, not as exciting as some books but a good fast read
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I originally reviewed this book on my blog - The Cosy Dragon. For more recent reviews by me, please hop over there.

Vetch is as Altan serf labouring under a cruel and unjust master. Suddenly, Vetch finds himself swept up onto dragon-back and into the Tian dragon complex. Vetch is willing to work hard, but he is always consumed with anger against those who have killed his father and destroyed his rightful home.

Vetch is a fantastic character. Small and frightened, yet with a core of resiliency, he'
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Utterly predictable. Typical character and plot arcs, setting torn straight from ancient Egypt, but oddly riveting all the same. Not a bad "boy and his dragon" story, though I wish the dragons had more personality. Avatre was a disappointment in terms of character development beside Kashet.
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A fantasy following the fortunes of a serf called Vetch, Joust is the first book of a four book series, all of which are available. In the first novel, Vetch is a land-bound free-born slave who is being worked to death by his owner, until he is stolen away by a Jouster – a dragon-riding elite warrior called Ari. So begins Vetch’s new life as a dragon-boy.

Mercedes Lackey is far from a favourite of mine. Something about her style grinds at me. I have read several of her earlier works, but it is J
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &am ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Dragon Jousters (4 books)
  • Alta (Dragon Jousters, #2)
  • Sanctuary (Dragon Jousters, #3)
  • Aerie (Dragon Jousters, #4)

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