Book three in Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series is on the blog today – again narration provided by David Tennant.
How to Speak Dragonese
Such a fun series of stories, as again our intrepid hero Hiccup, his best friend Fishlegs, his small and spoiled hunting dragon Toothless and the rest of the Hairy Hooligans make this series a light, fun and entertaining one. When Hiccup isn’t spending his day studying his favorite things (dragons, dragonese and all things related to the two) or catering to one very spoiled and loquacious dragon, he is often trying his best to avoid his own death or maiming in the latest training exercise.
The young pirating trainees are set to perform their first raid, and true to form the overeager Hooligans haven’t necessarily thought things through – and they end up confused and raiding the wrong ship. From here, the pacing is fast and action packed.
Adults that are familiar with Monty Python and the Life of Brian movie will find a similar bent in humor and situations, although most certainly the language and humor is really aimed at children. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments as Big-Boobied Bertha’s tale of killing an elk with her outstanding features, the interactions between Hiccup and Toothless that are reminiscent of someone trying to use logic with a tantruming two year old or a cat. Cowell also brings us a new character to enjoy in Camicazi: daughter of Big Boobied Bertha and a fearsome little warrior with a soft spot for everything Hiccup.
Again, Cowell manages to add moments that are truly touching, that show Hiccup’s heart and determination to stay the course of what is right despite the odds against him. A few lines in the book bring us an interaction with Toothless that show growth and affection in that relationship as well, perhaps the one real moment of forward character development in this book aside from Stoik’s actually starting to realize that Hiccup’s ideas and ways may not be the worst he’s heard. There is no doubt that he loves his son, but he’s a rough tough Viking who loves to eat, shout and fight: soft gentle words are often out of his reach.
Narration is again provided by David Tennant, and the addition of new characters and his easy transitions from Toothless’ slightly stuttering, lisping whine to the lilting sing-song Welsh-flavored voice of Camicazi, to Hiccups decided brogue and the other characters make this a treat for the ears. For those who are following the series by audio will recognize many of the characters voices before their introduction, the care to create continuity as the character list expands is impressive and very much appreciated.
Cowell adds an epilogue from the “modern day” Hiccup, as he looks back on his life: this is, after all, his autobiography and the perspective is both touching and a bit of a summary as he reminds us of the important bits. Hiccup is the anti-hero in this day of Hulks and Spidey, the quiet and thoughtful hero that uses knowledge, clever thinking, luck, dreams and the honest goodness of his heart to prevail.
Stars: Overall: 5 Narration: 5 Story: 4
Title: How to Speak Dragonese
Series: How to Train Your Dragon #4
Also in this series: How to Train Your Dragon, How to Be a Pirate, How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, How to Twist a Dragon's Tail, A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons, How to Ride a Dragon's Storm
Published on: 10 January 2014
Audio Length: 3 Hours: 12 minutes
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A Viking lesson in pirating takes a strange turn when Hiccup and his best friend, Fishlegs, accidentally raid the wrong ship while trying to escape Sharkworms. The two lads rescue a tiny yet arrogant nanodragon named Ziggerastica, but then they are kidnapped as part of a vicious plot to steal every dragon on the Isle of Berk! Hiccup must rely on his tiny new friend, and his ability to speak Dragonese, to save the day ... again
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.