Tuesday 6 November 2012

How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel

How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel by Cressida Cowell (Hodder/Hachette)
PB RRP $13.99
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie
This is the tenth volume in the popular How to Train Your Dragon series, continuing the memoir of Hiccup the Viking who right now is being hunted by both dragons and humans. Exiled, Hiccup has only his faithful dragons for company, but he presses on with his quest to find not only the Dragon Jewel, mankind's last and only hope, but his father, Stoick and dear friend Fishlegs.
The Dragon Rebellion has begun, led by the Dragon Furious whose aim is the extinction of the entire Viking race. The Vikings are being lead by Alvin the Treacherous, guided by his dreadful mother, the Witch Excellinor who is trapping and killing the dragons. She presides over the Vikings in the Amber Slavelands. Hiccup knows the dangers that await him there but he is determined to rescue his friend and Dad.
He has in his possession a map leading to where the Dragon Jewel can be found, but he is suddenly attacked by a terrible Silver Phantom dragon ridden by the Warrior, Valhallarama, his own mother!!! She almost kills Hiccup, not recognising him as her son, but after Hiccup escapes, he no longer has the map.
In her typical adventure-a-minute style, Cressida Cowell plunges Hiccup into one life-threatening situation after another, where he is hopeful one moment and in despair the next. Along with the suspense, plenty of mirth is generated, especially by Toothless, one of his dragons, who is totally incorrigible.
Hiccup may be in the midst of his enemies but he often finds he has friends to help at just the right moment. But when no-one can help him, he relies on his wits, especially his knowledge of dragons, which serves him well. Many will benefit from his actions, including a little girl called Eggingarde, who supplied Hiccup with an important clue to the disappearance of Fishlegs.
This volume thunders to a satisfying end, and yet there is more to come before Hiccup's memoir is complete and he is recognised for the Hero he is. Fans can look forward to the exciting conclusion in the series by this amazingly talented author.
Note: The fun thing about the How to Train Your Dragon books is that they don't have to be read in order.

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