Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley
I keep having these conversations with Dad. I'm at my computer. He says, "What are you doing?" I mutter something, because the screen has a lot of squiggles on it so he already knows what I'm doing.
–Robin McKinley - Dragonhaven - c.2007 - pg.1
Jake has grown up at the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies. It is one of the last refuges of the only real Dragon, the Draco australiensis and a host of other creatures. But conserving the dragons isn’t everyone’s idea of the right thing to do. Plenty of people think that the day dragons go extinct just can’t come soon enough. But one day Jake comes across a dying female dragon, and the poacher she has just killed, and her one remaining baby dragon.
I really liked this book. It isn’t the best book in the whole world, but it is a really good read. Jake, our first person narrator is pretty entertaining. He is also going through a whole heap of emotions due to the recent death of his mother. And now he is about to become a surrogate dragon mum.
I really liked the whole world the McKinley created in this book. It is fairly recognisable as our own, only with the odd dragon. Extinct in the wild but still the source of huge amount of controversy. Are they really just wild animals that are dangerous to humankind, or do they deserve to be preserved. Given the debates we have over large predators like wolves, lions, & tigers, just imagine what the debate over real life dragons would be like. They’re pretty damn big you know.
It is a very readable book. Jake tells a good, believable story. Although at points he does wander a little. Still, that fits with the character. Your story would wander too if you experienced the same things Jake did. And, yes, okay, issues are raised, but they’re just about subtle enough that they don’t interfere with the story. Which is how I like my issues in books.
There isn’t enough character for me to lurve this book though. But it is a great quick read.