The tales from Hiccup Horrendous Haddock are coming to an end, and Cowell manages to acknowledge readers (now grown) who have followed from the start with a slightly darker tale, a bit sadder, very emotional, and gives us the next-to-last story in Hiccup’s tale.
The Dragons are rebelling, dramatically so, and Snotlout is the new King of the Hairy Hooligans, and in keeping with his personality, not a great one. Hiccup is still quietly being the hero, and all of the characters that are so familiar to us are tested, and we get more from Valhallarama and learn about Fishlegs’ family as we muddle through the tension, the sad moments and the dark themes. Quietly guided along by Hiccup and his solid, do-what-is-right-not-what-is-easy behavior that has served him so well. Why no one realizes just how heroic it is for him to stand against everyone in his tribe, to desperately wish for his father’s approval, and to be able to get Toothless to actually obey without a fight, amazes me. But, like life, it is often years later before you realize the strength and power of conviction decisions took.
The end is near, and we are already warned that the dragons are an endangered species, no matter HOW much we wish it differently. And yet, with all of the darker moments, Cowell manages to infuse a hopefulness that still burns within Hiccup, and gives us something and someone to admire. Camicazi returns in this story, and we see her growth and maturity as well as the strong bond that she has with Hiccup, and she gives a sense of her own power and what he has taught her simply by being. The story and its characters have matured, there are still ridiculous names and stupidly funny miscommunications and reactions, but there are lessons and challenges in this book that surpass all of the earlier installments.
David Tennant has been the narrator for all 10 of these stories, and I hope that he will wrap up the series with book 11 in the spring of 2015. Not only has he developed a distinct and solid voice for each characters, but his flair for performance and attention to detail, using pauses and halts to infuse key moments with gravitas, giving a stellar performance of the story. His use of accents, patois, delivery rhythm and pacing all add to the story, and you know exactly WHO is speaking at any one time. The continuity throughout the series is the best I have found, and his delivery is sure to please children and parents alike.
We aren’t quite done with this story – there is one more installment. And I can’t wait for it to be available in audio. No great cliffhanger here, Cowell continues to drop clues and foreshadow upcoming events without giving away TOO much, and keeping the appetite whetted for more.
Stars: Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5
Title: How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel
Author: Cressida Cowell
Series: How to Train Your Dragon #10
Also in this series: How to Train Your Dragon, How to Be a Pirate, How to Speak Dragonese, How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, How to Twist a Dragon's Tail, A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons
Genre: Children's Literature
Narrator: David Tennant
Published by: Hachette Audio
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 5 Hours: 30 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible
The story continues in the tenth volume of Hiccup's How to Train Your Dragon memoirs.
When we last left Hiccup things were getting very dark indeed. The Dragon Rebellion has begun. Snotlout is the new Chief of the Hooligan Tribe. Stoick has been banished and given the Slavemark. And Alvin the Treacherous has EIGHT of the King's Lost Things, and has been proclaimed the new King of the Wilderwest ...
But what can Hiccup do, now all alone and in exile, hunted by both humans and dragons? Can he find the Dragon Jewel, mankind's last and only hope? And if he does, what will he do with it?
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.