The amazing thing about fiction is that it allows us to use our imaginations to come up with whatever our heart desires. From giant rock monsters to hedgehogs that ‘gotta go faster’, modern media has proven how simple it is to take a pre-existing creature and modify it to be more entertaining to the masses.
Yet, out of all the creatures out there that mankind has devised for modern media, the dragon seems to be the most popular among boys and girls of all ages. What is it about them that makes them so appealing? Well, I would say that it’s how each creative mind in the world is able to interpret them in their own personal way. Some people see them as mindless beasts that only want to destroy mankind, while others see them as wise and cunning creatures of the land, sea and sky!
…and then there are the people that think dragons are shaped like the letter ‘S’, have beefy arms coming out of their necks, and prey on thatch-roofed cottages. But we don’t bother with the people that think that gibberish.
Today, I’ll be taking a look at 3 different titles that feature these magnificent beasts!
The first one to cover is Dealing With Dragons by Patricia Wrede. Unlike most fairy tale stories, Dealing With Dragons is more like a parody of the genre, rather than a traditional story in said genre. The tale follows Cimorene, a young princess who is getting fed up with the gentle lifestyle of royalty, so she runs off to live a life of adventure with a dragon named Kazul. You see, the world of Dealing With Dragons plays around the trope of princesses being kidnapped by dragons, so there’s plenty of conflict revolving around the different knights who attempt to ‘rescue’ (and I use that term loosely) Cimorene from Kazul.
The story is lighthearted and comical, but still provides an intricate plot that will keep you attached to what’s going on between Cimorene and the rest of the cast. There are also sequels to this title, which I have heard equally good reviews for, so you should check those out as well.
Next is one that I just finished recently, which is A Dragon’s Guide To The Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder. Just like our previous title, this one takes the dragon story and mixes it up with a very comical flavor. Our story is about Miss Drake, an old dragon living in the modern world, and Winnie, a 10-year-old girl who visits Miss Drake after hearing about her from her mother. Miss Drake isn’t too happy about her new guest at first, but the two eventually settle their differences.
As for the details of the story itself, it has a very distinct flair to it, with Miss Drake acting like a mentor figure to Winnie. The story also mixes in modern details in contrast to other dragon stories. For example, Miss Drake owns a Smartphone. Strange, huh?
The last title for now is How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. Most of you know this franchise for the popular Dreamworks movie of the same name, but you should ignore that fact for now. The How To Train Your Dragon movie series has little-to-nothing in common with the original source material, so it should not be consulted when discussing the book series.
Anyway, onto the book itself. This is a more traditional dragon story, as it follows the story of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III trying to pass Viking Training by capturing and raising a dragon of his own. There’s not much comedy in this tale in comparison to the other 2 dragon books I discussed, but How To Train Your Dragon makes up for it with a stellar story. The conflicts between Hiccup and the rest of his Viking companions are realistic and really make you feel bad for their struggles, especially in the later books.
So, that’s it for dragon books. In general, fantasy books are great because they allow authors to express themselves from their own perspective. I’ll be sure to cover other titles in relation to these in the future. Who knows, maybe someday, I’ll be the one who is writing the New York Times ]best-selling dragon title! (Hey, as long as the movie adaptation for it isn’t ruined, I’d be down with that.)
David Peters is one of the founding members of the Teen Advisory Board at the Highland Branch of the Lake County Public Library, IN. He also reviews video games under the name GadgetJax.