Friday, May 4, 2012

How to Train Your Dragon #1: The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup the Viking

How to Train Your Dragon #1: The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup the Viking
Cressida Cowell
Little Brown, 2003
$10.99, Hardcover
February 23rd, 2012

Genre: Fantasy
Age: 8+
Description: The books in this series are the “memoirs” of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III—an extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as the Dragon Whisperer. However, his life didn’t start out super heroic—in fact when he was young he barely even passed his Viking Initiation. This is the story of that initiation and is the first volume of Hiccup’s story telling how he eventually becomes a hero.
Opinion: Knowing that these books were popular, I decided to check them out. They are quite long (200+ page) and really, in my opinion, drag on and on. There are illustrations throughout the book that are done like quick pencil drawings by Hiccup himself so they have a cute amateurish feel to them. My favorite part of the story was his dragon—Toothless—who had a fun, snarky attitude but also proves to have a heart of gold. The first volumes covers a lot of territory in its 200 pages—Hiccup’s initiation, how he has to find a dragon, his six months training said dragon, and then the dragon competition to show how well the training has gone to ensure his spot in his Viking tribe. You thing the story would end there but it keeps going when two huge dragons awaken and threaten the island. Hiccup, having the unique power to speak Dragonese (which is presented in a fun way but possibly hard to read for some since the font is very odd with the letters clustered close together), attempts to save his people from destruction. I felt that this story dragged on way too long. I found myself wishing it would end. However, those who love tales of magic and dragons and fighting would probably be enthralled with the details. I, however, passed on the second volume.

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