Author: Robin McKinley
Rating: Five Petals
On the Author's Website:
Dragons are extinct in the wild, but the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park is home to about two hundred of the world's remaining creatures. Until Jake discovers a dying dragon that has given birth-and one of the babies is still alive.
There are a few cardinal sins in writing: 1. Never talk directly to the readers. 2. Don't tell the reader when you can show them via proper description. 3. If you're going to make me pay money for a book, it had better be properly edited and formatted. Dragonhaven thankfully was perfectly edited and formatted, but it failed utterly at the other two sins. How can I therefore still give it five petals? Quite frankly, because it's just that good.
McKinley made a stylistic choice to write Jake's story from a first person perspective of Jake writing the story himself. His journey as he learns about the dragons hiding in the Smokehill National Park is both a story of his growing up and the world growing with him, yet because the story is from Jake's perspective if there is something he doesn't know or understand the reader can't understand it either. Jake is writing his story in order to explain what happened to him and the dragons to his readers, so talking to the readers works. It is also quite clear that there are things Jake just doesn't have the words to describe, so he has to tell what happens rather than show.
Breaking the cardinal rules like McKinley has requires an extremely high level of crafting. I finished rereading this book yet again in order to write this review and still have zero complaints about the story. They style of writing does take some getting used to, but overall I loved this story.
The style Dragonhaven is written in does take some getting used to, but the book is so interesting and dynamic I can't help loving it every time I reread. I definitely recommend this book.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.